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On Thursday, April 12th, the White House will host a Google+ Hangout about tax fairness and the Buffett Rule. Jason Furman, Principal Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, will be in the hangout to answer your questions.

Want to Hangout? Tell us a little bit about yourself and why you care about this issue.

We'll send a message to folks that have been selected to join no later than 9 p.m. EST on Tuesday, April 11th. The Hangout will be streamed live on Google+ and at 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 12th. (Please note updated Hangout time)
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Obama’s Buffett Tax would raise $47 billion, barely a dent in our $15.6 trillion debt. Instead of giving Obama more money, we should demand he cut his out of control spending first.
With nearly one half of Americans paying NO taxes, we need to throw out the current tax code! Stop playing class warfare NOW! This crap is right out of the Marxist handbook. Wake up people. Stay free
Steve, everybody pays taxes. Get real.
I am interested because I am thinking of starting a new business. Thank-you for your time.
+Kara Hylander True, lol, but looking at it from a "cost / benefit" perspective, It does more harm than good and it is not an effective way to raise revenue. The economics are backwards. If you want to rise revenue, you want a low tax rate for everyone and a wide tax base. No matter what we do we are going to have to cut spending and raise revenue to pay off the debt.
Okay, did anyone else notice that a message will be sent out "no later than 9 p.m. EST on Tuesday, April 11"? That was posted at 10:06 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, April 10.
Thanks +Carrie Queue Looking forward to hearing from more folks that are interested in a productive dialogue on the issue.
Everyone pays taxes of sort unless you live in a cave, naked and don't interact with society in any way. Love those GOP myths. Let's go back to the Eisenhower top tax rate of 91% and see what that does. I bet a 3% increase on income over 2 million won't seem quite so bad then.
Going after the rich and punishing sucess is wrong. Lower taxes over a broad spectrum of American society is much more appropriate and will end up bringing in more money in the long run.
High school senior weighing college financial options. Pursuing premed for future career as PA.
+Joe Aiello Federal sales tax would be unfair against the poor. The higher margins spend a MUCH smaller portion of their income of goods and services. Most of their income goes into speculative investment, which then generates MORE income for them.

+Veronica Cawelti might I suggest shutting your mouth until you know ANYTHING. The top 400 income tax returns pay a smaller percentage on their income than anyone making more than 29K per year. Not to mention that they are paying the smallest tax rate in 50 years.

+G.R. Miller You left out "The Widow's Mite".
It's 3:00am in our country. So would you please upload the video to Youtube?
lol of course the president is at your beck and call
Taxes are unfair and everyone knows it. Nobody wants to pay them, but we have to support the common services we all get, Police. firemen, roads schools and so on. It is only right that those that have the most money pay the most tax. They also use the most of our resources. I believe in a 10% across the board tax, but hat won't fly because too many tax companies would go out of business. Do you realize how many companies we have that produce nothing? They just manipulate the same dollars over and over again. Think about it.
Raising taxes on the rich isn't punishment. They make greater gains from our system, so they should pay a fair share. Right now, they pay too little.
I am a high school student, looking to pursue a career in politics. I would love to see how the White House is looking into taxation of all citizens. These decisions will determine my future as a college student, and I would like to gain a knowledge of this. Thank you for your consideration.
I would like to participate, I was raised on welfare, started my own company, am now wealthy and would like to keep being more successful. At the same time, I do want to be fair.
Daniel, No, not everybody pays taxes; many get tax credits. Here's where everybody is getting taxed: the devaluation pf the Obama-dollar. Inflation is a tax of the very poorest of our society. Monetize the debt- it's doomed. Time for someone to get real.
Ken L
The idea of this tax is so harmless, yet the reaction generated in the media is so incredible! Claims of class warfare when you just want folks across the spectrum to pay the same percentage? Unbelievable! This new conservatism and the re-awakening of social darwinism posits that the rich are the innovators and so therefore should enjoy the most benefits. Its the gilded age all over again, and like as not will generate similar extreme ideaologies---fascism, nazism, modern communism.
You're right, not everyone pays taxes. Some don't have any income. no income, no tax. Let's go the 10% route and see what happens. Double -dog dare ya'!!
As it is apparent with the self-righteousness and deliberate spin given to obvious choices for political gains, the debate of Buffett Rule is being turned into a class warfare (just another excuse) among political commentators, with "fairness" being linked somehow to "redistribution" and "socialism" whereas "opportunity" linked to "deregulation" and "Freedom". What is more is that these two words are pitched against each other as if they are mutually exclusive/incompatible to each other. In my opinion, they both are mutually complementary to each other. That is why, my suggestion would be to use a phrase like "fair opportunity" to emphasize the real intent behind the Buffet Rule and such pieces of legislation. This way, clarifying a natural bridge between these two words may facilitate the erosion of deliberate distinctions made for obvious reasons, which in turn, may facilitate people to form their opinions accurately.
Great. More propaganda from people that never ran a business or even figured out how to run TurboTax. Call me when you have a resume to speak from and we can have an intelligent hangouts.
Ken L
spoken like a true idiot
ALan? What do you know about anyone? A bit presumptuous aren't you?
Steve, there are a dozen kinds of taxes. The US rate of inflation is 2.9 percent. Again, get real.
+Nick Seay Thank you for that link! It seems quite informative, and I'm sure I'll look into it within the near future. I would love to be able to voice my opinion with White House Officials.
Ken, It's not the same tax the leftest want to tax. There is a higher tax rate for the rich. They want to steal investment/risk money- the engine of a market system. The way you would have it, you would have the government doing the investing. How's that working out for you?
Dan, Obviously, your wife does the shopping. Only the blind wouldn't throw out housing prices in current inflation data.
Saundra. Please read the house goverment and oversite hearings involving Mr Timothy Geitner and there you well find plenty of non presumptive data.
+Robert Glenn Your very welcome Robert. Happy to help out an aspiring leader. Good luck!
Until 1983, the CPI measure of homeowner cost was based largely on house prices. The long-recognized flaw of that approach was that owner-occupied housing combines both consumption and investment elements, and the Consumer Price Index is designed to exclude investment items.
+Steve Goggans And that is exactly what is happening. Divide and conquer. I don't understand why more people don't see it! You just can't make this stuff He puts it right out there. Anyone who knows anything of history should be able to see exactly what is going on.
Ken L
Steve, I kinda like the roads, bridges and institutions my taxes pay for--they create the stable framework for our society and for your 1 percenter gods to keep making their money. I fully understand that investment vehicles primarily available and used by the rich are taxed at a different rate---thats the problem. Also totally disagree with your comment about investment money being an economic engine---another tired trope trotted out by people who don't think. Good ideas, products and systems are economic engines, and over-capitalization of investment vehicles is just a bubble largely because of tax benefits. people invest in america because of the stability of our society and its inherent fairness. you would destroy that to preserve a rich person's wealth and advantage.
In support of +Ken L 's last post, let me say this again.
I N V E S T O R S!!!!!
Socialism at its finest. Steal from the rich and give to the greedy dirtbags in the White House
Not really a hang out since the people are already selected that get to join
Well I know I won't be on that list since I'm sure you don't want a different point of view
I support taxes.
I don't support giving corporations money or tax breaks to expand their business outside this country.

Unrelated: Why are religious leaders in government meetings.
I'm really tired of the tax issue being related to Socialism. People who say that are not really familiar with Karl Marx and the basic ideas of a socialist society. Let's stay away from those stark labels... they have a way of shutting down conversation. We're not in a communist society, and we're not fascists either.

Everyone who makes an honest living pays taxes. Most people cannot afford a tax attorney to help them find the loopholes necessary to avoid paying taxes, and quite frankly, they wouldn't be able to use many of the loopholes available to big businesses and wealthy individuals.

If you make $40,000 a year, pay 30% in taxes, and are upset about our government making rules that say someone who makes $2,000,000 a year should also pay 30%... I just don't understand you. Shouldn't it be the other way around? Wouldn't it help small businesses and people who make small amounts of money be able to grow their businesses and invest and save if they paid less in taxes when they were poor?
If you want to talk about fairness, talk about reforming loopholes that allow people to pay almost no taxes and bring in a flat tax. If everyone payed a 15% income tax, the rich would still be paying tons, and the poor would be paying almost nothing when they're the ones using the most government services.
+Mashell Jolley Anderson : I live in New York and in the local paper I sometimes see a guy in a funny red hat (Dolan?) in government meetings. Separation of church and state? Does he not answer to the Vatican - a foreign nation?
+nick ferrante : I think they became too complacent relying on that Wall Street money in a very unsustainable way.
Chris, religious leaders are in government meetings to try to influence whatever happens in these meetings, even though the Constitution mandates separation of church and state. Of course, I think most people concede that this so-called "separation" is mostly ignored and overlooked. At this point, certain provisions of our Constitution are almost being taken as a joke. In my opinion, this is wrong.
Tax FAIRNESS. A Country that puts fairness above freedom will have neither. A Country that puts freedom above fairness will have an abundance of both. -Milton Friedman
That is, in the vernacular of my youth, a cop-out.
Blane, separation of church and state is a farce. Learn the truth. Even Jefferson (who they stole the term from instead of using the constitution) viewed this as a one way wall. He attended his church meetings, as president, in the house of reps.
+nick ferrante : As +Mashell Jolley Anderson said that is pretty much how it works but I believe it is likely more complicated than that. Likely an organized crime ring of sorts that gathers these numbers and then sells those numbers to the person at a high fee or perhaps a huge debt or slavery in worse cases. Another way is if they work "off-the-books" in which they would be paid cash and live "off the grid".
If they buy stuff they pay a tax in sales tax. So yes they pay minimal tax if they are dodgers/
+Mashell Jolley Anderson That's another problem with the current system. Illegals have too hard of a time becoming legal, or at least paying their share when they are here illegally. If they want to pay their share, let them.
+Christopher Caro: In theory they should as the huge windfall in profit they make is usually 'on the backs' of lower paid workers.
I'm a British politics student that's been keeping up to date as best I can with American politics. Whilst the issues don't directly apply to me, and as such I don't want or expect to get selected, I find it admirable that the US government has this sort of connection with the people via social media. I personally wish we had more of this stuff available to us in Britain. Hope the hangout proves productive!
+Chris McIntosh and anyone else who believes in the "exploited worker" theory please learn how an economy works. Learn how supply/demand applies to every aspect of an economy, including the labor market. Workers are not exploited in 90%+ of cases.
I'm not saying that they were exploited, i'm just saying how it is.
+Chris McIntosh my apologies if you do not believe that pile of bologna. There are many (socialists, communists, etc) that do.
I'm not familiar with the theory. If I were very dissatisfied with my current position of working two relatively low paying jobs the only person to blame would be myself. I work hard and enjoy working hard.

I just don't have a problem with what the other guy was saying necessarily. As you ascend within a company the pay scale will increase with leaps and bounds so the notion of the top earners paying more tax doesn't really strike a chord with me.
Tax isn't a punishment when it is used properly. The problem is all the fraud.
Also the words 'free market' is a bit of a farse in many industries.
As one progresses through a company one acquires more valuable skills and knowledge. Punishing those with the skills and knowledge is counter productive in any society other than communism.. It removes the carrot per se.
+Mashell Jolley Anderson : Well if we cut out all the crap then I guess the answer would be yes, but since those funds would be contributing to a flawed system I'll have to leave it as a 'maybe'
+Christopher Caro Even if the Royal Family were to have Google+ hangout, it wouldn't be massively useful. I'd much prefer something like like this.

Just my two cents though - Surely every successful person in a society owes the society somewhat for their success? A soccer team that regularly wins games would want to keep the field they win on maintained. Should they have to contribute more to the maintenance than a losing team? Perhaps not, but there is no victory to be gained if there is no field to play on.
+Chris McIntosh when used properly is the key. But our government has a bad history of using our taxes for the wrong things. Until they prove they've become responsible with our money they don't deserve any excess.
Punishment is the wrong way to look at it if the system operated ideally. They are meant to be spent to go towards things that benefit everybody.
+Mashell Jolley Anderson : That situation doesn't apply to industries where they are essentially middlemen. But I don't want to muddy this whole thing up with the healthcare talk.
Until this: starts going the other direction, the fed gov deserves no more money than they currently have coming in. Getting another credit card doesn't fix the underlying problem. There has been no budget passed in three years, that's how, much they care about our money, they think it's free.
LOL @ "Want to Hangout? Tell us a little bit about yourself and why you care about this issue.
We'll send a message to folks that have been selected to join"

AKA: "If you agree with our politics and won't voice opposition let us know and we'll let you come say how much you agree with us."
No Mashell I wouldn't mind, just not with your math :)
This country was founded upon freedom and minimal taxes. We prospered for many years with these policies, now we are going the other direction and we are stalled... What a mystery...
^---- I wouldn't mind at least that. But if I were super wealthy I wouldn't mind paying even more (with the usual cut the fraud crap disclaimer).
Instead of giving that chunk of your check to the crappily run gov, give it to a charity for the poor, disabled, etc... Or just find people down on their luck and help.
That's where we've really gone wrong, we want the gov to solve all of our societal problems rather than tackling them ourselves. Which is always more efficient.
+Mashell Jolley Anderson: Doing some quick math I got the minimum wage person working 40hrsx52wks making $16k *rounded up significantly. Upper middle class is $80k (likely higher?).

I just need better numbers from you to form a better opinion of what you are talking about.
I sometimes wonder if any of you people, endlessly bickering about monetary policy and taxes, actually have a brain cell between you. You're all too stupid to realise that solving a debt crisis by shuffling money one way or another is pointless, because money itself is debt, and the corrupt privately controlled and owned enterprises you called central and reserve banks have hoodwinked the entire human race for centuries with this bullshit. The solution to the debt crisis is to do away with the current monetary system, down to the last dime, and replace it with a resource based economic system that understands and uses only what we need, instead of gouging the resources of the planet in the pursuit of wealth for the few. I've had enough of people I don't know screwing with my future, and I'm currently unable to get a job as an engineering designer due to foolish monetary policies affecting my industry - it sickens me, angers me, and I'm not alone in this. Society needs to wake the hell up and realise, that within imposed boundaries, we're all living a pre-determined existence that only truly benefits the puppet masters behind the curtain. Peace.
+Chris Wilkinson ummmmm.... No. I agree with you about fiat currency, but all that needs to happen is for it to be backed by something of worth (gold standard?). If you want to live like that, please move into the jungles of s. America and barter away. This world is doomed anyway, the sun will burn out in time.
How would a resource based economy not gouge the planet of resources? Other than that (minus the rage) I can hear you on those points.
+Alistair Martin Pre-selecting people for the hangout is kinda like inviting your friends over for a party - you get to pick who you want, to make sure it goes smoothly. I would imagine there will be a team of people reading up applicants G+ posts, and any other information they can gather (or may already know), to filter out those likely to ask the wrong questions. In the end there will be a nice selection of drooling pro-government morons, who will be highly unlikely to ask any really hard questions, and it will seem like such a productive and happy affair. Pffft, nothing more than a twisted PR exercise...
So instead of $1 and $3 it should have been $1 and $43?
I am interested because I think fair taxation protects the middle class.
And I would say the scaling could be different if it weren't flat.
I'm interested because I wanna ask first hand why people that barely make Any money get taxed more the companies like GE which dont pay any at all. The "middle and lower class" are suffering and it would be nice to know why people that make millions even billions dont pay taxes and if they do pay in the same tax bracket as I do...
So if the minimum wage were raised to eliminate the need for EIC would that bother you less?
+Tommy Moreno those are easy to answer, ge holds weight with the Whitehouse so they get whatever they want. People who are hardly make any money don't pay anything, I've had a negative tax rate before. That's redistributed wealth. As far as the tax brackets, comparing capital gains tax to the income tax is apples and oranges.
Re-read, I didn't call anybody any names.
Minimum wage raises = higher youth and unskilled worker unemployment.
And what's ridiculous about having a picture of a character from a kid's television show from Japan? :)
All I have to say is last year almost a quarter of what made was taken out in taxes and I was under the poverty line by just a bit
We all realize that no man is perfect in this world, but anyone who always put his devotion to God and to the general public, he deserves to get a great spot in the heart of anyone. And if he has a problem, then there will be lots of parties taking part to help solve them.
No, it is all really just hypothetical stuff anyhow.
Yeah it did and it would be nice to get a real answer as to why that happens. I'm sure I'm not the only one in this country like that.
You should have paid about 2500 in taxes. About 12.5% in federal taxes. But with standard deductions your taxable would be around 15k, and you would pay a much lower rate. I think whoever did your taxes sucked... Jmo
I paid nearly 5 all together lol and I use turbotax if that's what you mean
Why can we not just look at something that sounds more logical and feasible to work with? I have read 10 different proposed plans on the topic of balancing the budget and out of all of them I find that Sen. Rand Paul has the best solution. It seems that he has done the research and the planning of getting the American Government on track. When Americans do their budget for themselves we have to stay within our own budget and if we want to pay our creditors down we have to cut out spending. We do not have an option for more money by taxation. I do not understand why this is not something we can get our Representatives behind to do. It is economical, logical, and reasonable. It is what we Americans would expect them to do. I wish that the post was made in a timely manner for to be placed on the panel for this hangout they made. However it seems that they already knew who was going to be invited.
+Mashell Jolley Anderson My picture is my choice, as is my opinion. Don't feel too bad about me calling you stupid - I'm just as stupid along with most of humanity for standing there like a drooling moron for most of my life while the powers that be continue to hoodwink us. It isn't personal...
+Chris McIntosh A resource based economy will need to be managed carefully of course, but you go look at an average city landfill and see how fast it is growing - is that sustainable? Go take a look at the true volume of resources involved in producing a pound of beef - is that sustainable? We're living in a consume-at-all-costs society, and we're wasting most of the resources we use when we consume. We're ignorant of what happens once we throw something in the trash, and we forget it once the truck drives off - that waste doesn't go away, it just gets moved somewhere away from under our noses. The thinking required to make a resource based economy work will need to be a bit less greedy and selfish than what I see in most people - that said I think it can be done. I'd worked for free wwoofing a few years ago, and that worked brilliantly - no money required, just a simple exchange of food/shelter for a few hours toil a day. Why should tending to machines that make computers be any different to tending plants on a farm, when it comes to what we do? Its just work. We don't have to be hippies working on farms. The resources we require to live are there regardless of whether money is or not. Money gets in the way of fair and just distribution of needed resources, and it leads to greed. Removing it may help kill off the culture of greed that I see in so many entrenched in the monetary system.
+Devin Christensen Devin you completely prove to me that the misinformation I seek to see through is rampant in the media today. Why do you think the change I talk of will result in living under 3rd world conditions? It won't. That is a lie perpetuated by the powers that be to keep you afraid of change. The resources to build mobile phones and so forth exist regardless of whether money does or not. Money just gets in the way, and leads to the greed I see. Removing money will not remove the resources we use today, it just might remove the greed that leads to over-consumption of those resources for profit. There is no reason a money-less society cannot continue to be technologically modern. Barter was what I was taught existed before money. Apparently that is not entirely true, as most early transactions were based around so-called "gift economies" where people were just given what they needed if they didn't have it themselves - barter seldom worked because of the difficulty in agreeing on value of things, and actually having things the person being bartered with actually wanted. Basing a monetary system on gold is not the answer, because with population growth we see today there would need to be an equivalent amount of gold dug up to give value to the new money required to match that growth. Its a waste of resources to me. Just make all money from the Fed interest free - those criminals magicked it out of thin air to begin with, and they expect us to pay back something they invented outta nothing? Criminal is what it is. Either that or get rid of money altogether...
Warren Buffet clarified his position and it's totally different from the president's position. If Obama is really serious about re-election, repeal the 16th amendment and advance the fair tax, a consumption based tax that has been studied by major economists. He would win in a land slide, balance the budget, make the government welcome again, and have money for his green initiatives. But that won't happen because it's too simple and doesn't complicate matters like the Buffet rule.
Put me in your Hangout. I will be there.

I own a small mobile software company, but while we're still getting off the ground, at this point I don't make much money and am trying to make ends meet and grow the business for something I genuinely enjoy and care about.

I'd like to join your Google+ Hangout. I'm not here to ask you to cut my tax rate to zero, or to argue why raising taxes amounts to class warfare . I'm here to provide a voice for someone who owns a small business but realizes that there comes a certain responsibility to your community, your state and your country to pay your fair share of taxes. At the current time, I happen to believe this effective tax rate is too low, and am a big believer in the Buffett Rule.

Even though I'm not in the tax bracket that would be affected yet, I'd like to see that there are people standing up for allowing tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans to expire and roll back to the rates that roughly equal the Clinton era, in which we saw generous growth.

Therefore, as a small business owner, Mr. President, I'd be thrilled to join your Hangout to be a voice of a business owner with a realistic perspective on taxes and their impact on the nation.
+The White House, I would love to participate in the Hangout regarding Tax Fairness. I think adjusting the Tax law to capitalize on only 2% of America is a start but not one that has any meaningful impact. Attention should be drawn to why there is an exponential aggregate tax increase on the progression from low to middle income.

The middle class is a big piece of the economy and I believe feels more slighted by the abuse of low-income tax incentives / programs than that of the rich. Low income economic stimulus is fostering lack of responsibility for bad spending / saving habits which is self-destructive for the country long term.
Lily M
I would like to participate. I am a college student who, if not for government support of education, could not afford my studies. I've also been accepted into a REU research program this summer for secure networking and distributed computing. I am worried about the issues around taxes because I have now and in the past relied on many government services. I am studying so I can hopefully no longer do that and even give back. I want to be more independent and I want to pay taxes, and with the field that I am going into I most likely will end up paying a high tax rate some day. That's as it should be. Paying a fair share is about being a good citizen. If Republicans have their way and they cut education spending, I may not have the help I need to finish my degree and myself and countless other students would ultimately contribute a lot less. At a time when the top earners have the lowest effective tax rate they've had for many years, it would be a travesty to ignore the unfair taxation laws and instead try to cut programs that are helping people help themselves. I know we have to find some ways to balance our spending and taxes, and this should be done as fairly as possible.The Buffet rule is intended to make our tax system a little more fair. I think that's the right spirit, but I don't think this rule goes far enough. It would not stop the rampant tax evasion by the wealthiest Americans, it would just make an already complicated system even more confusing.
Lower the rate, broaden the base! Was tested in practice, guess what? The base didn't broaden and revenues did not increase. In fact all that happened was higher deficits due to lower revenues. This is because of the inherent fallacies of supply-side economics and trickle-down economic theory which have been completely demonstrated to be economic failures in practice when they have been applied. No matter how you try to spin it to fit your ideological paradigm the data is out there showing it to be a complete lie and failure.

As for cutting flagrant spending? What do you want to cut? Soldiers, hospitals or pensions? That sums up the vast majority of government spending. Its funny because when asked if the government should cut spending most people say "Absolutely, what a waste" but when confronted with the exact areas those spending is in they usually think they are underfunded. If you seriously want to cut spending back to a level that is sustainable with your unsustainable low tax revenue then you need to either get out of the business of being the worlds policeman and involving yourselves in very expensive wars and military equipment, accept the fact your healthcare system is a failure and adopt a single payer low-cost socialized funding system and tell all those upcoming retirees that they can expect to die in poverty, sorry.

The US is in the position its in right now economically due to unsustainable low tax cuts, an attempt to ignore the realities of economic theory by applying ideology to the healthcare system that has been a complete failure and its habit of maintaining the most expensive armed forces on the planet and sending them off to fight in very expensive wars.
+Scott Barnden While I believe that a number of "changes", not "cuts" need to be made in spending, I don't even support an instant cut in our absurdly bloated defense budget. While that number MUST be slashed, as it in no way represents the job it is intended to perform, to do so, all at once, with our economy in its current state, would be a disaster. As for Education, Health Care, etc. They all need to be reformed, but I believe, that will cost more, not less.

Your post was inspirational. Very well worded, and I agree, we have a big problem, and that problem is being ignored, because the fastest way to get the proletariat vote, is to declare that you will cut taxes, regardless of what the tax rates actually are, and, come to find out, regardless of WHO'S taxes you offer to cut.

The stupidity of the common man breaks my heart.
I am a student at Topeka West High School and we have a gifted program that is showing interest in a hangout with the White House. Our Model UN is also extremely interested in this policy that would change the economy drastically. We are eager to learn about the ways this would change how the population is taxed. Our school strives to be on top of socio-economic issues and this seems to be an opportunity to get an incredibly in-depth look one of the most key issue to citizens.
+Chris Wilkinson Money is a representation of labor and resources, money in and of itself is not the problem. Your little money free 'utopia' ignores the basic human instincts we all have. Even if you had a resource based economy you would still have people taking a bigger piece of the resources. Your change of "currency" would do nothing to stem the tide of greed that flows within our veins. If I am living proof of misinformation, then you are living proof of sub-par brain function. No offense, but just because you think people won't be greedy doesn't make it true. Take a look at the diamond trade, even if they were trading those diamonds for food, water, land, etc, it would all be about power. They would trade the diamonds for more power. It is the way the world works because it's the way humans are genetically programmed.

Lets say I produce cell phones and I want to buy a lamborghini, how many cell phones does the man producing the lamborghini need? Do I pool together other things that I have traded cell phones for (food, water, etc...)? Well I'm sure he's already built a few lamborghini's for about as much food/water as he needs, so either it's unavailable to me, OR I trade precious metals and such for it. If i trade precious metals then that's exactly where we would be if we put the dollar back on the gold standard.
+Devin Christensen while I agree with what you are saying (though not the hostility you are endowing it with), representative currency increases economic efficiency, and with it, economic abuse. Yes, those things would exist, in no less quantity, but you can not dispute that they would work more slowly, and less efficiently. Just like the entire rest of the economy would.
+Scott Barnden Cut SS, Dept of Ed, Dept of En, Cut medicare/medicaid, Cut welfare. 70% of the federal budget goes to 'assistance programs' ( so get your facts straight. You are correct about taxes not being high enough for all of these programs, so we can either pay for them with a 50% income tax and 20% sales tax like most parts of europe have, or cut them and be independent again, instead of dependent.
+Devin Christensen I do have my facts straight, the majority of government spending is in health, defence and social security. With the biggest growth area's threatening the future budget is spiralling health costs and pending retirement costs from social security. What you are advocating there is social Darwinism where those with the misfortune not to be independently wealthy or having problems occur beyond their control to basically go die in a ditch somewhere because you don't want the people who have been successful to have to pay for it. And if you think that will ever fly with a population (which by-and-large is made up of people in those sorts of situations sometime in their lives) will just allow that your going to have a revolution on your hands.

And cut education? Your saying that education is a privilege, not a right? That pretty much locks in a class structure, where only the wealthy can afford to educate their kids to the level where they can become wealthy themselves, building a situation similar to Dark Ages Europe with Aristocracy and Serfs. Guess what happened in France with that situation? In fact its funny how the supporters of such budget cuts and tax cuts always seem to want to recreate that period in modern America?

And considering that those 'dependent' people Europe consistently come out on top in economic stability, health, happiness and quality of life they must be doing something right.
+Devin Christensen I think getting rid of representative currency is a TERRIBLE idea, over all. That said, I think MOST people would find the concept of slowing down economic abuse, appealing. I wasn't disagreeing with your assessment, just the totality of it.

+Scott Barnden I think it is pretty clear that +Devin Christensen is yet another regressionist conservative, powering his Utopian dreams with the history that never was. Longing for the good ol days, that never happened, based on theories which are entirely unsupported by historical data. Anyone who didn't sleep through highschool history knows that Laissez-faire definitively does not work. I wouldn't waste my time arguing with him.
+Scott Barnden lol, no you don't have your facts straight. 70% of government spending is going to assistance. not defense. You libs love that term, social darwinism because it paints an extreme picture of people dying in the streets. I am not advocating that at all. I am advocating that we the people are the answer to our problems, not government. Somehow we survived and thrived for years before government programs. You want people to be forced to give money to an inefficient government so that you don't have to think about the problems your community faces, you can just say "the govt is supposed to take care of that." It's pure laziness, nothing more, nothing less. This is the reason the democraps charitable contributions pale in comparison to their repub counterparts.

I didn't say cut education. I said get rid of the department of education. Move it to the states. let the local people take care of their kids, because they're the ones that care about the education of their children, not the federal government. I am all for public education, as long as it is managed locally, not federally.

You've obviously never lived in Europe. I lived there for four years and traveled to most of the (safe) countries there. They are a miserable people. Rarely do they smile. In France you have to know someone to get a loan to open a business or be from the right part of town. In Germany they don't have real friend, they don't even tell their friends how their day was. But it's all a moot point because we are not europe, and europe cannot sustain that lifestyle if america goes down that path. Europe has only been able to get away with it because America dwarfs them all in GDP and consumption. You put America on that path and Europe is screwed. And really they already are, see PIIGS.

"And considering that those 'dependent' people Europe consistently come out on top in economic stability, health, happiness and quality of life they must be doing something right."

Please, move there then. I am going to start drafting up a bill to move all of you Europe lovers over there. It will save our country loads of money and cut the fat. You want to have everything given to you, why don't you just move somewhere that does that? Quit trying to ruin the last hope for freedom in the world.
+Drew Heyen I know you weren't disagreeing, I was just posing the question of whether economic slowdown to slow down abuse would be appealing. I don't think it is nor do I feel qualified to speak for others.

"...Longing for the good ol days, that never happened" really what good ol days am I longing for that never happened? the crash of 1920 that corrected itself quite quickly with no government intervention? The economic freedom of the 1920's also known as the roaring 20's? The fact that the fed (not the free market) caused the great depression and FDR's policies drug it out? The innovation in almost all sectors that we had as country through the 1960's that has mostly stalled since? The fact that we were founded upon low taxes and limited government? hmm? what exactly am I longing for that never happened? You, my friend, are the one who slept through history class.
+Devin Christensen Fair is fair. If you think he should move to Europe, then CLEARLY the only place for you is Somalia. Money does not equal freedom, just as "work" does not equal money. As for the state of "Europe" it is varied and diverse as the many economic structures IN Europe, and the smiles you did or did not see, are hardly strong evidence of the effectiveness, or not, of their many many economic structures. (if we got fancy, we would call that the fallacy of the small sample). I will tell you this, as a matter of fact, we are much closer, both in success and in economic structure, to "Europe" (very generally speaking) than we are, to Somalia, which is the economic structure that you are supporting. So, how about you put your money (and a plane ticket) where your mouth is.
+Drew Heyen LMAO, pathetic. Read the constitution bud. America is exactly where I belong. I wouldn't consider my experience of personal interaction with a diverse amount of people a small sample, but that's neither here nor there. I don't know much about Somalian economics, but they seem to have a high tax rate (35% tiered income tax, and 10% sales tax nation wide).

Good job assessing any of my questions, or refuting any of my claims. typical lib rant. No substance, childish.
I believe whole heartedly in giving the true majority of Americans the opportunity to enjoy the promises given to them by our founding fathers. The 99% deserve proper representation by a person who understands, has lived the Great American Struggle: Poverty, Unemployment, and Educational Disparity. Therefore, the American People need to be properly represented by a Political Organization, or Party that is centered on helping ALL Americans achieve financial, political, social, and personal freedom. America has greedy racketeering politicians. The American People deserve better representation in Congress.The American People need more than Republicanism, Democratization, and Tea Party Extremists. The American People need an organization that hears, sees, knows and feels their concerns. The American People need an organization that accurately represents and tends to their ideas and problems with deliberate speed. The American People need the American Party, which represents, supports, and fights to achieve the Ideal American Life for ALL AMERICANS, not just the wealthiest.
Ken L
Devin you are a complete misinformation machine.

-you act as though big bad GOVERNMENT is comprised of robots, not the people you claim are able to solve their own problems. Government, as much as anything, is PEOPLE---god why don't you wingnuts get this. If corporations are people, government surely is. Local governement is no more or less valid than federal government.

-Regarding Europe, your conception and experience is off. I have lived in each of the countries you've mentioned and more and can't have a more different impression. Maybe the problems you had were due to your crap attitude. I'm happy to stay in the US tho so take your offer to ship me off to Europe and shove it.

-drafting up a bill to send people to Europe---wow.

-my guess is you don't understand what social darwinism is, or how any of the economics you cite actually work. You are a parrot thats been programmed with talking points by Rush and Glenn and the like. You don't understand that you are your gravedigger's greatest ally.

Anyways, no more feeding the Devin troll for me...
I am an eagle scout, and a member of the International Honor Society Phi Theta Kappa. I am currently a full time college student at Austin Community college while I work part time. My political views are very independent of the right and left, because I agree with both sides on different issues and topics. As for taxes, I feel it is very important for the top 1% to pay more than the middle class. I believe that taxes need to be fair to both upper and lower classes. The lower class most definitely need to pay into our tax base just like the upper class should. I also feel that there needs to be some tightening of loopholes that allow people to avoid taxes; however it is rare I ever find any documented proof as to how people get out of their taxes.
+Devin Christensen Somalia has no Socialism, and no taxation, at all, and your personal experiences are the very definition of the fallacy of the small sample. I have read the Constitution, and find your mention of it vague, unsubstantiated, and so very very typical. Maybe I'm not the one who needs to read it.

+James Houston While I entirely agree that the Democratic party is far from perfect, it, without question, far better represents the American people, in the ways you have listed, than any other available and realistic option. The problem is, that the farther to the extreme right, the other options shift, the fewer options the left have, but to follow them. The key to solving this problem is a crystal clear message to the right, that we are done with that. Once we get the right back on track, we can start work on perfecting both parties. Until that time, the "Both Sides A re Wrong" position, IS support of the "Right". The problem with that solution is willful ignorance. So many people have bought into the lies and fantasies of , so called, "conservative" thinking.
+Ken L Lol, again another person who cannot refute or accept the facts of american history based in your "social darwinism." They result to name calling "misinformation machine" lol.

Government is made up of people, but the one-size fits all solutions of federal government are a failure. See bankrupt SS, medicaide/care, Pre-bankrupt obamacare, dept of energy, dept of education. Local government is where it is at, federal government should be small and un-intrusive.

Learn economics my friend, then we can actually talk. until then, STFU.
+Drew Heyen Somalia has taxes.. what a shock, you're a liar too:

As far as the constitution goes, you are probably lying about having read it as well. The document limits federal government and empowers states. In fact they had to amend it to make the federal income tax legal. That's how restrictive it is on the federal government.
+The White House I'm interested in joining the Hangout. As a single person without children my tax rate is through the roof compared to those with children and higher income. I'd love to see some parity as it relates to income taxes! Please pick me!
+Devin Christensen Dude, can't you read, that data is over a decade old.

Here, enjoy this. I think it is pertinent to point out that Social Security isn't a tax, or government spending. It is "Social Security", you get back what you pay in. Beyond that, the Defense budget is the winner, and takes up more than half of the Discretionary. Not to mention that it doesn't represent the job it is designed for, AT ALL.
+Devin Christensen Don't know where you got that, though quibbling over ONE YEAR seems about as petty..........well, about as petty as you have proven yourself to be. That said, the newest reference on that page is 2001, which IS over a decade old, AND THAT IS THE FRESHEST DATA THAT IT OFFERS!
+Devin Christensen , Obviously you didn't check my profile? I'm currently splitting my time between Poland and Finland, and live most of my time in Australia (With some good old socialized healthcare!). The people seem pretty happy to me (especially after a couple rounds of Vodka) And yes I have been to the US for a spell and gotten some first hand experience there too.

And you think that 70% of the US budget is going to assistance? Well I can say that 85% of statistics are made up on the spot. Doesn't make it true. According to the statistics they are using 'assistance' covers all healthcare, all social security (including retirement benefits that workers have paid years of social security taxes to obtain), homeless shelters, housing assistance, jobs programs, student loans and agricultural subsidies. In fact, pretty much everything the government does that is not administration or defence. You want to cut all that huh?

You think that everything should be pushed to the states? What is the difference between a state taxing you and paying for it and the federal government taxing you and paying for it? Your peddling childish semantics "Oh, I only oppose it because I think these guys could do it better", yet no doubt if they were the ones doing it you would be opposing them instead.

And you think that it was better BEFORE government got involved? You clearly haven't studied the nasty side of history. Try checking the statistics of the number of people is gripping poverty, child labour, 'heroin cough syrup for babies!', hazardous work conditions and various other horrible things that happened before the government got involved (and in fact gave the government the requirement to get involved by the complaints of the voters suffering from such things)

And BTW, somalia doesn't have a functioning government. If you don't want to pay taxes there you just don't and shoot at anyone who tries to make you. Or more likely get killed by any number of horrible means from various militant groups, diseases or accidents,
Ken L
Dual bachelors degree in business and economics, plus plenty of graduate and professional experience---I surely have a better grip on the economics at hand than you based on your silly comments. Devin, its you that can't address the issues realistically. You are a moron, and nothing anyone says or does will change that.
Under taxation, last sentence. 'in 2003 the sales tax rate was 10%'

But this is still a moot point. Somalia is anarchy, that is not what I am for, I am for local governments fitting the needs of their people not federal trying a one size fits all solution in a nation of 300M people.
+Devin Christensen THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE FOR, IDIOT! States have more than proven their willingness to trample all over the rights of their people. The Federal government greatly benefits from the balancing effect of full national direction, as opposed to supporting regional bigotries.
+Ken L I call BS. I have a Bachelors degree in business and marketing (on the fence about going for an MBA), and have studied economics immensely. I run a website on stock trading and am an active trader myself. surely we are nearly equal in knowledge (unless you are another liberal liar).
+Scott Barnden Nope, I didn't check your profile. Poverty stricken poland seems like an odd comparison to the USA... Never been to finland unfortunately, I hear the northern lights are beautiful from there.

I provided a link for my 70% statistic, read through my previous post.

The difference between the fed govt doing things and the states is a big fat chunk of waste. Why are you against the states doing it? Why wouldn't you let the states locally tailor their legislation to their people? They have more control over their lives if it is done locally as their representatives are elected by them alone.

Were there downsides to the economic freedom? yes, but you have to take the good with the bad. We also cured smallpox, polio, and measles in those conditions. What have we cured lately? E.D., a made up disease? To quote benjamin franklin "Those willing to give up liberty for security deserve niether and will lose both."
Good contract law can replace most government regulations.
Ken L
Call BS all you want---doesn't mean a thing and for me, at least, verifies you have no clue. my degrees are public record, bud. And I'm gonna guess you are a self employed day trader. Go get an MBA if you want---it will make no difference for you. you will pay someone for a piece of paper and go back to daytrading because moron with an MBA is not much better than moron without. Sucks to say and hear. god why am I still feeding the troll
+Drew Heyen What states have trampled on the rights of their people in the last 50 years? That is what the constitution is for, if the states try to trample the rights of their people, that are guaranteed by the constitution, then the fed gov steps in.
+Ken L This is the last ounce of my time I will give you (consider it some charity). You are a typical close minded liberal from shitcago, indoctrinated by your university professors into the plague of liberalism (which itself is a lie, because the true meaning of liberalism is opposite of what you folks practice). Wake up, do some real research for one thing, TRUTH. Not skewed facts, 100%, pure, unadulterated, truth. Then, and only then, will you have the power to control your future and understand why and how the world works. Once you understand that, maybe you can make a decent wage and have some inner peace in place of your hatred.
Ken L
Sweet lord, you pick a bad cutoff date: heard of the civil rights movement during the 60's much? The entire south and portions of the west---not to say everywhere else in the country to some extent---denied rights to african americans. Or do you not consider african americans people? The name Martin Luther King ring a bell? federal troops sent to safeguard for integrated schooling?
+Devin Christensen Really? Interesting. Sodomy Laws, Gay marriage, Pot, seems to me a lot of rights are getting trampled, EVEN WITH the balancing effect of federal laws and regulation.

You are clearly not mentally stable enough to be a part of this conversation, so I'm going to go ahead and block you. You're welcome.
+Drew Heyen Can you point to where in the constitution it guarantees marriage as a right to anyone? Oh wait, that is left to the states. Or drugs? Not sure what you are getting at with sodomy laws, but also not in the constitution. (there are some states that have sodomy laws and some that don't)
+Devin Christensen Not all humans think that way Devin, that again is misinformation that you appear to have blindly accepted, or is an assertion you make to convince yourself that what you do for a living isn't about being greedy, its just your "nature". After all, you don't really wanna know about the people who lose their jobs when you guys pull your stock from a company that isn't "performing" for you now, do you? The greed, aggression, class segregation, and outright dirty tactics seen in our society that some use to their advantage over others is not just a by-product of our genetic coding, its far more complicated than that. The growing number of studies that conclude environment and nurture play a far greater role than previously blindly accepted, when it comes to our behavioural development, cannot be ignored. So genetics hasn't played as much of a role in you becoming a greedy stock-market player as you would like to think, or use as an excuse for what you do - the environment you grew into has had a significant effect - nurture more so than nature. What your parents instilled in you, and what the jilted society of ours has instilled in you are factors, not jsut genetics. It still remains to be seen which has the greatest effect, but blaming genetics is now seen as a poor excuse...
I agree we are all products of our environments +Chris Wilkinson but there are basic human instincts for survival that drive us to be greedy. For the most part people in society want the next big innovation (pc, ipod, smartphone, tablet, home automation system, etc...) even without thinking about it. It's the same instinct that would drive us to kill one another over the last bit of fertile soil on the planet, just toned down since life isn't at stake. My greed is not bad, I don't believe in having too much, though I believe in the right to have as much as you can get. I just freed up some money to start a new endeavor and just sent out an email offering employment to a friend (actually more of a partnership, but whatever). That evil greed of my stock market playing! How dare my greed feed another persons family???? I'm just an evil capitalist at heart I guess. Working for what I get, helping others when I have an excess and an idea.

We are all just competing for our piece of the ever growing pie. It's what keeps life interesting. I've been poor, I've been rich, then poor again. Now I'm on the up and up again and plan on staying there this time :).

I wish you the best in your future endeavors.
The purchase or sale of a company stock only effects the company directly, the very first time they are sold. Never again, after that. The VAST majority of stock market exchanges are NOT the first sale, and therefor have no effect on anything but the buyer and the seller. In case you didn't get it all the other times I've said it. SPECULATIVE INVESTMENT DOES NOT BENEFIT ANYONE BUT SPECULATIVE INVESTORS!!!
+Drew Heyen is almost right, except that it helps the company in their future endeavors. The company can sell more stock at any time so if the speculative investors drive their stock price up, the business can get access to capital at a much higher price and with much more liquidity.
+Devin Christensen You probably are not aware of the ramifications of your trading decisions, beyond the immediate market numbers. I'll give you an example - I worked for 9 years as a lab tech & r&d person for a manufacturing plant in New Zealand. The company when I joined was locally owned and operated. They were doing pretty well selling to the local and international markets - that obviously caught the eye of one of NZ's biggest 3 corporations, who bought a majority stake in them a year or 2 later. Several years later and a giant US corporate bought out the big NZ corporate. Each takeover introduced more and more fingers in the pie. It got to the point that the US corporate had seen weaker trading numbers, and needed to boost its profit for a forthcoming EOFY dividend. So it introduced a grossly unfair performance objective system to unfairly dismiss over 1000 people in a space of 12 months - 1000 from a total payroll of 9000, gone, sacked, for no fair reason. I fought them over their decision, and won a moral victory in the courts, but those assholes walked off into the sunset with the huge savings from the reduced wage bill, which gave them a better dividend, which kept the shareholders happy - shareholders most of whom probably didn't even live in NZ, and likely had no idea of how the corporation achieved its reasonable dividend. Globalisation and the sharemarket in general are a cancer, because it is the platform that allows so much of the greed in the world to happen, and do so with impunity.
+Chris Wilkinson you blame the investors rather than the management team... Interesting. The moral lapse was not with the investors, but with your management. And I noticed you only bring up one side of the story, you don't mention the fact that many jobs would not be in existence throughout the world without those investors.
....and who hires/fires the management team?
With the way our deficits have been going this only makes sense. The Republicans are against this only because this is against their main contributor base!
+Derek Hodge not to disagree with you, because I very much support your statement, but our deficit issue is mostly BECAUSE of our economy. Taxes like these, however are shown to be beneficial TO our economy. I just think that is an important note.
+Devin Christensen Many in management teams are also investors, where their position allows them a fantastic opportunity to shape the company as they see fit to maximize return to themselves and external investors/fund managers. There is obvious scope for morally questionable decision making to happen in that circumstance, but the moral lapse is also in ma & pa investors simply being oblivious or uncaring about the internal turmoil, and how it can wreck the lives of many to enhance the lives of the few. They're all complicit, but some are more aware of what they are doing - greater awareness of the effect of their actions might make some external investors question the moral integrity of what they do...
And still you ignore all of the people those same investors put to work. Investors don't just pull their money and sit on it (in most cases) they find a business that is more efficient to put that money into, which is what fuels our massive economic, scientific, and technological growth. Sure there are casualties along the way, but the rewards of advancement outweigh the costs. Not that I expect someone who wants to regress 100's of years to understand that. This is my last post on this thread, I wish you all the best in your endeavors to destroy america and it's dream (the dream of greatness for most, not mediocrity for all).
+Devin Christensen Sadly Devin you lack the forward vision to imagine a money-less society, simply because your moral fibre is built around money. You cannot imagine a world without money, because money is a major part of your world. I on the other hand, while I've earned good incomes in the past via the work I do, I have stepped outside the bounds of the monetary society at times and have experienced 1st hand that not only can people survive without money, but they can thrive and grow, just not financially - of course it pays to have a mindset that doesn't deify money like many have. It all depends where you put your priorities. You assert that this is me vs USA. The propaganda machine has conquered another one! I realised long ago that nationalism is a ploy to distract you from the corrupt nonsense that goes on in the background, and to drive commerce. It is true there are very influential players in the monetary system, based in the USA, but there are people like that all over the world. Casualties are an inherent part of the monetary system, and it seems that the powers that be even legislate against people trying to fend for themselves. You know I want to build a dwelling that is completely off-grid, but that I cannot actually be completely disconnected from all services in many areas I'd like to build, due to local authority regs? Even though councils will not need to spend money on connecting me to anything they still try to get their pound of flesh by forcing me to connect to town water or power or sewer - its fucking criminal. You also assert that a rehash of our society will be a regression. It won't be if done smartly. It is blatantly obvious that this current monetary MO cannot look after everyone, and the unfortunate casualties suffer poverty and sometimes resort to crime. The key reason it doesn't work is that it is a fiat currency, and that corruption and greed drive it at the top. Walk away and not debate if you like, but frankly its just head-in-sand from another nationalistic conservative ignoramus as far as I can see. You can prove me wrong by debating, which I will respect. I just cannot accept that other people accept that casualties are a fact of life in the current system - it is obvious to me those who accept have never truly suffered due to that system... plenty of others have, and that number is growing massively...
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