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He lost me at Sanders.


Because, as an entrepreneur, the absolute last person on earth who I trust to understand the importance of startup investment or innovation is Bernie Sanders. From what I can tell, he's basically a 1960s liberal/socialist. He wants to bring back unions and make them strong, increased government regulation on just about everything, and I'd be very surprised if he was pleasantly disposed to anything in the sharing economy.

Having done a startup myself, and now as an investor, taxes have already gone up from 15% to 23.8%. It appears to me that Sanders' solution to everything is higher taxes on the rich (investors). He wants to raise the capital gains tax, he wants to raise the estate tax, and he wants to eliminate the cap on the payroll tax so that rich people pay an extra 12 or so percent on top of the combined ~40-50% of taxes they already paid, combined state and federal.

As a fellow entrepreneur from a long line of entrepreneurs, I couldn't disagree with you more.

Unions can have...problems, but fundamentally they are just people banding together to leverage the only capital they have. They can be frustrating (much of my family is in mining and mineral extraction on the ownership side so unions are a long standing fact of life in that sector) but the idea is not, at its heart, terrible.

Government regulation is necessary as a counterbalance to the vast power of the market (and market players). The market, even when left alone, is subject to distortions and issues -- some of which cannot be fixed from within that same system. There needs to be checks and balances between the market and government, but each needs the other IMO. Ideally, the government has a light touch and represents encoded hard earned wisdom protecting the public from things like hard to trace externalities etc. and fending off nasty things like monopoly and acting as a hierarchical repository for information the public may need. Of course, it takes constant vigilance to maintain a balance, but that is life.

I think each of us gets far more value from our taxes than what we pay, for the most part. I'm sure it could be better but, with all human built systems, some inefficiency should not be a surprise.

I don't know if I agree with all of Sanders' policies, but I am a bit of a demand side person. Helping alleviate some of the egregious distortions of the market we've allowed to come about and accept as normal, especially on the lower end of our socioeconomic spectrum, would likely create more value for everyone starting from the demand side, so, overall I support his candidacy.

While I think it's unlikely you're going to convert me, I do appreciate your points.

I'm not so much against private-sector unions, I just don't think people should be forced to join the union when they don't want to. And I don't believe that unions are net plus for technological or economic progress.

Your paragraph about government regulation is hard to disagree with because it is so broad. Of course, I think everyone would agree that sometimes light touch regulation is necessary, but it's the "sometimes" and the "light touch" that becomes a problem. I'm honestly not sure what kind of point you're making here. I'm certainly not arguing for no regulation.

And as for getting far more value from taxes than what we pay, I guess that depends on what we pay. I guess I would disagree generally, but anyone making the claim that I, personally, will get more value from my taxes than what I pay is kind of laughable.

Certainly entitled to your opinions, but frankly what you've written just sounds like "Nothing's perfect, whatyagonnadoo?" I feel like I can do better.

> I guess that depends on what we pay.

Everyone gets more value than what they pay, from Bill Gates (Insert the US's largest tax payer here) on down. I can safely say that I get more than my money's worth and so do you. That doesn't make it any more fun to pay taxes but it helps ease my pain a bit...YMMV.

And, while nothing is perfect, there are some Really Bad Problems that we need to address.

Overreaching government regulation doesn't even hold a candle to having so many people living in poverty -- even people who work full time. Nor does the tax burden register on the scales compared to the shoddy state of our health care system. That's what I meant to say -- that, while your concerns are valid and I am not advocating ignoring them or letting things tilt out of control, we've got much bigger fish to fry.

>I don't believe that unions are net plus for ... economic progress

Please cite an example where workers are better off having lost the right to unionize, or one where they are worse off for having gained it.

Just compare a heavily unionized US car manufacturer with one that isn't (GM vs. Honda plants in the US). GM is so utterly saddled with pension and healthcare obligations that it's practically doomed.

What's so bad about the estate tax? Afraid your sheltered little brats can't hack it with only $5M?

I'm actually opposed to repealing the estate tax (And if it were up to me, the estate tax would be 100%), but it goes to my point that he just wants to raise taxes on everything. I actually forgot to mention that he wants a carbon tax, too.

/edit typed the exact opposite of what I meant

Climate issues are so real and serious that a carbon tax which seriously hurt the economy short-term would directly result in massively greater prosperity long-term.

You know the standard thing: tax stuff if you want less of it.

A carbon tax is much more about last-ditch attempts to avoid total climate mayhem than about raising taxes.

Incidentally, universal healthcare is the sort of thing that lowers overall costs for society by treating people before they spread disease and end up in emergency rooms…

Bernie Sanders is not interested in taxes, they are a means to various ends. He wants to use whatever tools will achieve the goals of having a healthy, just society.

I think it's just dogmatic to be fundamentally worried about taxes one way or the other. The question is what we use the money for. Raising taxes could be terrible or could be great, all depends on each case, what and who are taxed, why, and what do we do with the revenue.

Incidentally, universal healthcare is the sort of thing that lowers overall costs for society by treating people before they spread disease and end up in emergency rooms…

Not really. Check out the Oregon Medicaid study. Higher costs with universal coverage, but no better outcome.

Medicaid in Oregon ≠ universal healthcare.

Real universal healthcare is what you see in other countries: Canada, Japan, U.K., Denmark, Costa Rica, Cuba…

And you'll find enough variation among those to acknowledge that the devil is in the details still. Interesting stuff though… despite being poorer and spending far less on healthcare, Cuba and Costa Rica have the same life expectancy as the U.S.

Read the Oregon study. It's a great piece of work. They took two sets of randomly aelected folks. Half got Medicaid coverage, the other remained uninsured. No difference in health outcomes only higher costs. It's a pretty powerful statement about the powers of preventative healthcare.

And life expectancy is a terrible measure of the quality of healthcare. It's been rehashed plenty of times on HN. Too many confounding factors.

I'm opposed to the estate tax because at some point in time the money is mine. If I've paid all my taxes, why should I have to give up more just because I've died?

And unless an estate tax is 100%, you're not going to change how wealth is passed down. Bill Gates could pay a 50% estate tax when he dies and still leave every offspring a "sheltered brat" as you put it.

You don't actually get to own anything after you're dead, you know. There isn't a "you" there to do the owning.

Now you're just being pedantic.

I should be able to give what I own when I'm alive to whomever I please once I die. That is, unless you believe I never owned it in the first place.

You can, of course, but it's taxed, just like lots and lots of transactions are taxed. I don't see why a death should somehow be exempt from the class of "events that are taxed," especially when there's all kinds of good reasons for not encouraging dynastic wealth from generation to generation.

I'd ask the opposite question: why should any of your property go to your children when you die?

I think the simple answer is "because it's mine."

I guess I am just completely opposed to the idea that what I own, I own just because the government lets me. I'm fine with paying taxes on my income, but at some point it becomes my income and I should be able to do with it as I please.

But after you die, there's no "you" to own it anymore.

See my reply above. It's mine if i have a say as to what happens to it when i die.

The other point is that many left leaning countries have no death tax (Canada). They seem to get along fine.

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