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[New York Times] How Apple Sidesteps Billions in Taxes - Page 15

post #141 of 199
Quote:
To share a personal anecdote, I worked at Walmart for a time, and neither myself nor anyone else I knew made even close to that figure, in fact my starting pay was $6.90/hr when the minimum wage was $5.25. I live in Oklahoma. Our profit sharing bonus for 2007 was..............drumroll please.............$35. Thirty. Five. Dollars. And that included people who had worked there full time, for decades. I bet Lee Scott got his bonus though.

Don't even get me started on health "benefits." Walmart's benefits are a joke and you're still completely screwed if you're working there as a sole source of income trying to make ends meet (and many of my coworkers were) if you get sick. But that of course is their fault because anyone who wants to can become successful, right?

I assume this heartwrenching tale was designed to illuminate some fundamental disconnect I must have with the common man. I, too, worked through college (at Home Depot) doing a completely unskilled job (mixing paint) being paid $8.25/hr. I've also cleaned public toilets for $5.35/hr when no other work was available. These anecdotes, while compelling, do not actually prove anything. Are you making the case that businesses could be competitive if they had to pay people $13/hr to collect carts in a parking lot? There are educated teachers who don't even make that much.
Quote:
Many Americans lack access to the education necessary to acquire those marketable skills. Education in this country is a privilege of the wealthy and the resulting quality of your education is largely dependent on the depth of your parent's pockets. And don't say, "Take out a loan", because this is exactly the type of debt slavery that Americans are forced into by necessity. Your argument here might hold some validity if higher education were more freely available to more people, but it isn't.

This is a complete cop out. Marketable skills does not equate to a 4 year college necessarily. There are plenty of vocation schools and trade guilds that provide skills for lucrative careers. Access to this is hardly a "privilege of the wealthy." I went to college because it was the right path for me, but I did not do it through my parent's wallet. I did indeed take out loans (which I would gladly do again.) I was not wealthy at the time. You also approach the idea of debt completely incorrectly. There is certainly bad debt that does not appreciate in value like a TV or car. However, there are other debts which are more akin to investment like a house or education. You have a very warped view if you find investing in your own future through the use of loans as "debt slavery." At that point, your wage slavery is certainly a product of your own choices.
Quote:
It's funny how freely they are willing to give away (some) of their money when it serves the purpose of making them look generous and garnering attention, while they balk at the idea of giving the same money away in taxation which could go towards public services. (I do feel it's fair to mention that a notable exception here would be Warren Buffett.)

Oh, and charitable donations are tax write-offs.

Why is it funny? People taking their own money and deciding how exactly they want to support their society? I know hilarious right?! I balk every time April 15th comes around because I know I am literally throwing away my money. Since you live in Oklahoma you must know how awful our roads are. Downtown OKC is a complete quagmire of closed roads and half finished projects. All these fantastic projects have actually chased business away from the area just from the hassle. So I think I can commiserate with these people who give several orders of magnitude greater amounts of money to these charlatans in government. They feel that they can accomplish more direct change and benefit by cutting out the middle man and just giving the money to where they want it. I would do the exact same thing if I had the assets. Our roads and streets should be paved with gold with how much is taken to maintain them. The reality is that the money is funneled to antiquated pensions and overpaid, under worked public construction employees.

That tax write off clause was added because rich people literally stopped donating money after the government raised the rate of taxation on them. The charitable organizations clamored for that clause.
Quote:
You're kidding me, right? You should apply for a part time job at Walmart, and sit in the employee break room and talk to the other employees there. You'll learn a few things.

Personal responsiblity is all well and good but there are myriad other factors that stand in the way of achieving one's goals through no fault of your own. A person on a limited income is usually trapped in a vicious cycle. Can't afford to quit the job to look for a better job, while at the same time can't afford to attend school and/or take time off work to attend school, thus trapping them in a dead-end retail job until they either retire or the CEO decides he wants a new Lambo and cuts their hours/lays them off. You can't simply put in your two-week notice when you have dependents to support. I met many adults in their 40's and 50's in this exact situation during my time at Walmart. It was really quite eye-opening for me (and certainly ran counter to the idyllic "world is your oyster" rhetoric from my parents and people like them.)

Ah yes. I was expecting this argument. The "man of the people" diatribe. (aka populist garbage)

You should have just stopped at, "Personal responsiblity is all well and good..." There should be no but. The very definition of personal responsibility precludes the use of excuses pertaining to one's shortcomings and situation. I worked in a field I hated for years and decided to just go back to school to pursue a graduate degree. I also made excuses for years concerning the financial and temporal constraints of my situation. You know what? No one cared. No one made my burden lighter or swooped in to help me. Is it much harder to work and take night classes? Of course it is. Is it much harder to move into a smaller apartment or share one with roommates to cut down costs? Of course it is. You could can certainly make valid arguments as to why something is hard or less desirable to do. I will not dispute that. However, it is completely foolish to remove owness from someone based on the difficulty of the task in front of them. Going to school and improving yourself isn't some ridiculous unattainable pipe dream. Do not treat it as such. Is their a gamut of difficulty in attaining this with respect to the myriad of people in our society? Of course. So what? The sky is also blue.

I have sat in many a break room and have seen what lack of ambition breeds. While your experience seems to have deflated your drive, I made a promise to not wind up as the man with grey hair still working the paint shaker, proudly displaying my 20 year badge on my apron. I've heard all these excuses before. What some CEO does has no bearing on my personal will to achieve. Trying to present some logical connection between the two will prove fruitless. However, many people, like you, believe there to be one.

(Also, what sane person would ever quit their current job and THEN look for another job?)
Quote:
I know what statism is, and if you want to see a first hand example, open your front door and look outside. You are living in a statist corporatocracy, with the corporations essentially functioning as the state, in practice. Statism of course comes in various flavours, just like any other political/economic system. Some are good, some are not so good.

No, we are leaning towards liberal corporatism. We do not live in a statist soceity. As I described it, statism would be the extreme power you would be bequeathing to the federal government in the form of wage garnishing (taxation) for the "greater good." In one example corporations (which includes unions) are given more power to influence government than individuals. In the other, the state is given larger control to influence the live's of its citizens.
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post #142 of 199
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malcolm View Post

The wealthy become successful by riding on the backs of the working class. Wealth is gained by exploiting their labour. It has nothing to do with hard work or merit and everything to do with luck and privilege. Steve Jobs never worked a day in a Foxconn factory.
.

Tell that to someone who ever actually invented something that was successful. Or does the fruits of his innovation and business risk belong to someone other then himself? Yes, one can ride on people' backs to wealth, but to say that's the only way it can happen is foolish. It also comes as a reward for risk and innovation. Consider the 15% capital gains tax rate. It's as low as it is because if it were any higher, it would remove almost all incentive to invest given the risks involved. Yes, it allows people like Mitt Romney to only only pay 15%, but raising it to the level or normal income tax would make investing a poor financial move. Good luck starting a business under that environment.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malcolm View Post


Many Americans lack access to the education necessary to acquire those marketable skills. Education in this country is a privilege of the wealthy and the resulting quality of your education is largely dependent on the depth of your parent's pockets. And don't say, "Take out a loan", because this is exactly the type of debt slavery that Americans are forced into by necessity. Your argument here might hold some validity if higher education were more freely available to more people, but it isn't.

I would actually say that it's too easy to obtain higher education. There are far too many people in college who have no business being there. Many people simply are not cut out for it. A bachelors degree has been cheapened to the point where a MS is the new bachelors. Soon enough, a MS will become the norm, requiring a PhD to differentiate yourself and raise above the status quo, further decreasing the growth of the workforce by raising the age one enters the real world.
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post #143 of 199
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kand View Post

Another reason to hate Apple.

QFT
post #144 of 199
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malcolm View Post

To share a personal anecdote, I worked at Walmart for a time, and neither myself nor anyone else I knew made even close to that figure, in fact my starting pay was $6.90/hr when the minimum wage was $5.25. I live in Oklahoma. Our profit sharing bonus for 2007 was..............drumroll please.............$35. Thirty. Five. Dollars. And that included people who had worked there full time, for decades. I bet Lee Scott got his bonus though. thumb.gif

Don't even get me started on health "benefits." Walmart's benefits are a joke and you're still completely screwed if you're working there as a sole source of income trying to make ends meet (and many of my coworkers were) if you get sick. But that of course is their fault because anyone who wants to can become successful, right? rolleyes.gif

Let me share my own personal story. I worked at Ralphs (aka Kroger) for a year and a half. This job entailed the same duties that a bagger at Walmart would do. After a year I hit the wage cap for baggers which was $8.30/hr. After the union dues I was down to $7.75/hr. The minimum wage in California is $8.00/hr. The starting wage for Walmart around here is about $9.00/hr. My profit sharing bonus for my time there was... drumroll please... $0.00.

Please enlighten me on how Walmart is such an evil company when its competitors are paying significantly less, even below minimum wage.
   
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post #145 of 199
Anyway, hiking up the minimum wages does not destroy businesses at all as 'real-life-business-101' teaches you that the greatest cost to your business is your commodity costs, not labour costs. Many nations bump up minimum wages every year. It's the US that's completely backwards in terms of this. in not raising the federal minimum wage.
    
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post #146 of 199
Quote:
Originally Posted by chinesekiwi View Post

Anyway, hiking up the minimum wages does not destroy businesses at all as 'real-life-business-101' teaches you that the greatest cost to your business is your commodity costs, not labour costs. Many nations bump up minimum wages every year. It's the US that's completely backwards in terms of this. in not raising the federal minimum wage.

Doesn't necessary mean as a country it is good idea to keep bumping minimum wages. Bumping minimum wages can,

* Force companies to outsource jobs
* Less work time
* Less demand in unskilled labor
* Unskilled workers having hard time to compete with skilled workers
* Reduced benefits
* Increased labor demands in black/illegal market (illegal workers)
* Make companies pass along extra cost in the form of increased price, aka cost inflation
* Barrier of entry for emerging small business
* Gives businesses more incentive to replace labors with machines. Self-checkout, self-check in at airports, etc are all examples of it
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post #147 of 199
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solarin View Post

Do you also believe the carhop who brings you food at Sonic should be pulling down $25k a year? the person who handles the register at McDonald's? It is not the business's responsibility to compensate for a person's lack of marketable skills or ambition in a highly competitive labor market.

I actually find this little bit ^ fairly offensive.

Yes the dude who is digging your ditch or mowing your lawn or bagging your groceries or cutting your hair or washing your windows or whatever unskilled labor they're doing should be able to make enough money to live off of (I can't imagine living off just 25k). If these jobs were as unimportant and pathetic as you're implying here then you wouldn't need someone to do them in the first place. Yet we the people who have skilled jobs still need someone to fulfill these unskilled jobs for us in order to live our lives in comfort, and the people who do these jobs for us should have every right to be paid enough money for those jobs to afford food, housing, medical care, savings for their childrens education, and savings for their retirement. Almost 20% of americans don't have health insurance... it boggles the mind that a "first world" country has such a large portion of it's people without modern medicine. We should all be ashamed of this.

Their lack of education or experience does not matter in this because these jobs are necessary and must be filled. If everyone in the world had a PHD we would still have x number of unskilled jobs that need to be filled. McDonalds still needs people to take orders and cook the food. Lack of education or experience is a false argument because we can't all have "good" skilled jobs. Someone has to do the menial, and these menial jobs are just as vital to our society as any "skilled" job is.

You the mighty skilled worker wouldn't get very far in life if there weren't people at registers to ring up your bills, or stock the grocery store.

It is truly pathetic that you think they don't deserve to make a living wage.
post #148 of 199
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post #149 of 199
Plenty of businesses are doing this, relocating to Nevada. Especially the ones based from Cali, Nevada has had a big push for this for a while. I think they were even running some ads about it. California has so much red tape and taxes and fees and nonsense, it makes plenty of sense to move away from that, especially for big businesses. The cost to relocate is probably paid for in just a few years, for the amount of tax savings they get.
 
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post #150 of 199
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpankyMcFlych View Post

I actually find this little bit ^ fairly offensive.
Yes the dude who is digging your ditch or mowing your lawn or bagging your groceries or cutting your hair or washing your windows or whatever unskilled labor they're doing should be able to make enough money to live off of (I can't imagine living off just 25k). If these jobs were as unimportant and pathetic as you're implying here then you wouldn't need someone to do them in the first place. Yet we the people who have skilled jobs still need someone to fulfill these unskilled jobs for us in order to live our lives in comfort, and the people who do these jobs for us should have every right to be paid enough money for those jobs to afford food, housing, medical care, savings for their childrens education, and savings for their retirement. Almost 20% of americans don't have health insurance... it boggles the mind that a "first world" country has such a large portion of it's people without modern medicine. We should all be ashamed of this.
Their lack of education or experience does not matter in this because these jobs are necessary and must be filled. If everyone in the world had a PHD we would still have x number of unskilled jobs that need to be filled. McDonalds still needs people to take orders and cook the food. Lack of education or experience is a false argument because we can't all have "good" skilled jobs. Someone has to do the menial, and these menial jobs are just as vital to our society as any "skilled" job is.
You the mighty skilled worker wouldn't get very far in life if there weren't people at registers to ring up your bills, or stock the grocery store.
It is truly pathetic that you think they don't deserve to make a living wage.

While I agree with you that $25k isn't much, what happens when you bump it up? Take it up to $35k, and suddenly you have unskilled workers making as much as a teacher, EMT, or police officer. If you can make the same income without wasting time and money (along with the opportunity cost of attending school of working), then what's the point? In reality, the unskilled worker is better off. In turn, the salaries of that tier that the unskilled workers were bumped up too must also be raised. Lets say the old $35k jobs are not $45k-$50k. Now you have EMT's making as much as a RN or a low salary engineer. Now those are bumped up as well, ect, ect. This increase in income does not occur in isolation. Other prices rise in turn, from production costs, to interest rates. Those who were bumped up from $25k-35k are now making a "living wage", but have reverted to the same relative buying power. There will always be jobs with relatively bad income. The person working at McDonalds shouldn't make as much as an EMT, who shouldn't make as much as an RN, who shouldn't make as much as a Doctor.

Some things like healthcare costs need to be addressed, but that's a separate issue dealing with a separate broken system.
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Overclock.net › Forums › Industry News › Technology and Science News › [New York Times] How Apple Sidesteps Billions in Taxes