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16 Shells Solves the WorkTax Problem

Day 2,149, 15:04 Published in USA USA by Gnilraps

Till The Money Runs Out (Does anyone ever even click on these links anyway?)
Day 2149 of the New World
8 October, 2013

The latest issue of the WHPR (always vote that up, kids) resurrected a feature called “Room for Debate”. The invitation is for conversation around hopefully somewhat controversial topics.
Work Tax is controversial.

Here’s some more conversation:

There is no “ideal” Work Tax Rate

Much too much time has been spent advocating one percentage or another as “ideal”. Every one of these arguments is flawed. Framing the question in terms of an “ideal rate” completely ignores the most elemental mechanics of the Work Tax itself.

The actual currency that is collected via the work tax is influenced by the rate set by congress, but is equally influenced by the average wage paid by employers over the prior 30 days. In other words, 5% today will be different than 5% tomorrow as the average wage paid will be factored considering a different set of 30 days.

So arguments which attempt to endorse a fixed percentage as an “ideal rate” may be compelling for a day, but to at least some extent will be irrelevant within 24 hours of being written.

There is no ideal Work Tax rate, there is only an ideal revenue target.

Kongress is responsible for establishing how much taxes are needed.

Fortunately, there is a very simple method for establishing a revenue target. It’s called a budget.

Kongress must negotiate with itself until an agreement is reached about how much money the Government needs in order to fund the programs Kongress decides to fund. Here are some examples of programs Kongress can decide to fund:

An official Military Unit
Several official Military Units
Food or weapons give-away programs
Federal Reserve Funds
Hookers and Blow for Government kittens officials
Funds to cover MPP costs
And not much else.

If Kongress wants all of these programs, then it needs cash to fund them.

Multiple times over the past months Kongress has passed a budget without simultaneously passing tax laws to cover that budget. Thus we have been “deficit spending”, meaning we’ve been dipping into what Reserves we’ve had to fund Kongresses which lacked the balls to raise taxes or cut programs.

Kongress has another option

So two things affect that quantity of tax money that is collected. One is the Tax Rate, the other is the Average Wage.

Let’s pretend that the “ideal tax rate” of 7% - proposed as such by many eCitizens – is non-negotiable. Kongress can easily raise additional income at that rate by increasing the minimum wage up from $1.00. There are hundreds of workers in this country who are working in a so-called “commune” at the minimum wage. If they were forced to pay a higher salary, the Average Wage would increase and Big Government would be in business!

Yes, what I am suggesting here is that the persistence of “communing” is artificially driving down the average wage in this country. This results in the need for a higher Work Tax Rate!

Kommuning is stoopid

But working in a commune is not smart at all. It has been a bad idea for months (really, since the advent of the Q7). I am not going to exhaustively prove it here but think it through this way, you can purchase more with a market salary than you can produce with a commune job. So your commune is not actually a commune at all, it is a privately (or Federally) subsidized work program.

So why do so many MU’s commune? Because it helps the Commanding Officer keep track of player activity. That’s about the only benefit left in the commune system. (For the record, Easy Company has long ago totally abandoned communing and has found other means for rewarding activity. We are very successful.)

So communes are artificially driving down the average wage. That is one of the reasons a higher Tax Rate is needed to fund our Budget. But there is another thing that communes are doing to negatively affect our game.

Kommuning is Evil

Communes succeed because there are hundreds of WRM companies being operated by zombies who spend their daily clicks “working” instead of fighting. Well, ok, that is true for some of these zombie WRM workers. But actually many of these WRM companies are held by “players” who no longer play the game at all. Instead, they have surrendered their account to the Military Unit. Their daily clicks are actually being logged by someone else who, via Tor or some other IP-switching measure, daily log in, click their Work-As-Manager factories, put up their WRM for sale, log out, switch IP, log into another account, WAM, sell, log out, switch IP, etc. etc.

Communing is possible only by cheating.

How do I know this? Because I did it myself for many months.

Trust me, there is absolutely NO WAY in the eRepublik economy that a commune can produce enough WRM to produce enough Q7 tanks to make communing worthwhile. If you are communing Q7 weapons, you are either doing it by cheating or you are heavily subsidizing the purchase of WRM. The only other possibility is that you actually have devoted players who don’t “play” any more, but they remain willing to log in long enough to work and sell. If this later is the case, then your commune is robbing our community of needed damage in battle, for those same players could just as easily log in to fight instead of WAM.

Communing is evil. It is devaluing the goods you produce for sale in the marketplace by encouraging these massive farms of marginally-active "player accounts" generating nothing more than WAM clicks so that the commune can stay active!

OK, Gnilraps, you think you are so smart, what should we do then?

I ask the best questions, don’t I?

Of course I don’t think that we should raise the minimum wage. If people want to commune, that’s fine.

The real problem in all of this is Plato’s economy. The system is well designed to reward the purchase of Gold with ingame benefits. Trying to devise an eNational economy that does not account for this is foolish. There is not enough capital in the eRepublik economy to support a big government.

The only way to maintain large-scale systems such as a meaningful MU or a comprehensive give-away program is through Gold purchase.

That is how Plato has designed the game. Stop beating your head against the wall pretending this doesn’t exist.

We must cut government programs if we want financially solvent citizens.

Bye-Bye USAF or hello high taxes.

USAF Must Go

And it's Plato's fault, not mine.

The only program we’d really need to cut is the national military. Or should I say all 4 National militaries.

If we stopped feeding cash to these MU’s and asked them to either fund themselves or assimilate into one of the existing successful privately-funded MU’s, we could easily cut our budgetary needs by a massive amount.

Gone would be the burdensome Work Tax.
Gone would be the constant infighting over military spending.
Gone would be the constant need to populate 4 sets of MU leadership chains of command.

We would not lose any damage, as there are plenty of highly patriotic private MU’s to join if one of the former Government MU’s were to disband.
We would not lose any community as there are plenty of highly active private MU’s to join if one of the former Government MU’s were to disband.
We would not lose ANYTHING of value AT ALL.

…though perhaps a few individuals would lose some of their power…

In fact, I imagine we'd actually experience a net gain in military power, since our tax burden would become so low that we would attract back all of those who have left for greener pastures and then some.

Plato’s economy is designed to frustrate any system which attempts to survive off the ingame economy. He only rewards Gold-buying. This is the primary principle of eRepublik.

The Work Tax is only problematic because we are trying to prop up a National military system whose existence is violating the primary principle.

Kongress, if they are to continue funding the National Military, is forced into a system which results in a burden for everyone except the National Military.

We should disband the National Militaries and develop systems of rewarding patriotic military engagement by privately funded Military Units.

Because there are already some who foolishly think that communing Q7 tanks is somehow productive, here's the math:
Current bonus = 20%
1 Q7 worker produces 12 Tanks. Consumes 2400 WRM.
(Assuming all Q5 WRM factories which is unlikely) 8 WRM workers produce 2400 WRM.

9 Workers produce 12 tanks.

Have fun killing enemies with your 1.3333333 tanks.

Yes, I know, most communes don't use their worker clicks to run WRM. This is what I refer to above as a subsidized work program, not a commune. It literally proves my point that most communes are not communes at all, they are subsidized work programs called "communes".

You may now return to your regularly scheduled clicking



Gnilraps Day 2,149, 15:05

If we do this, we will once again compete on the international stage.

Kemal Ergenekon
Kemal Ergenekon Day 2,149, 18:25

Everything is correct up until "OK, Gnilraps, you think you are so smart, what should we do then?"

Everything is wrong (in my opinion of course) in the rest of the article. The taxes are high not because of USAF at all - the 5% tax rate was more than enough to fund both USAF and pay for our ~20 MPPs.

The taxes are high because 3 million USD has been spent on COs in a single month. That is equivalent to nearly 4 months of USAF funding.

If you don't like the taxes, blame the supporters of the 3 million USD disbursal. USAF is sustainable; spending half a years tax revenue on a single month for no tangible benefit is not.

Gnilraps Day 2,149, 18:31

Another way of looking at is is that if we had NOT been funding USAF and instead funding a reserve instead, 3 million spent on CO's would not be as big a deal, in fact it would become the new norm. (Not necessarily the 3 million part, nor necessarily the lack of tangible benefit part, but certainly the idea of federally funded DAMAGE as opposed to federally funded MU's)

Franklin Stone
Franklin Stone Day 2,150, 06:44

Totally agree that the 'National Military' should only be the eUS CIV MU, all other MUs should be not be funded.

Brother Jebediah
Brother Jebediah Day 2,150, 10:18

@Franklin Stone, CivMU isn't govt funded. It funds itself via donations of its members.

Valiant Thor
Valiant Thor Day 2,149, 19:00

What I would like to know if this is your personal opinion or you as VP promoting the view of the Government about this issue?

rainy sunday
rainy sunday Day 2,149, 19:33

Don't confuse his position as Party VP with 'the Government'.

Valiant Thor
Valiant Thor Day 2,150, 07:11

I'm not.

Kemal Ergenekon
Kemal Ergenekon Day 2,149, 19:00

And we would not have the directed damage output of USAF for years, which is not negligible. Not to mention the additional diplomatic benefits of being a country who can actually promise damage to allies (centralization vs decentralization).

It is a counter-factual which isn't easy to visualize.

Gnilraps Day 2,149, 19:03

I honestly do not think that the USAF damage is any more reliable than any other merc'd damage. And with the new CO feature, it's hard to beat the ability of the CivMU to become the entire Department of Defense.

DonH0mer Day 2,150, 02:37

directed damage output of USAF HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAH

Franklin Stone
Franklin Stone Day 2,150, 06:40

Directed damage is a myth, the only damage you can guarantee to deliver is own.

Kemal Ergenekon
Kemal Ergenekon Day 2,149, 19:05

Merc rates far exceed the cost of simply supplying the food and weapons to a player. It is far more expensive for sustained damage. That is why it is only good for circumstantial damage, unless you pay a pittance.

Gnilraps Day 2,149, 19:12

The main difference, though, is that merc damage (which is more efficient with the CO feature than it was in the old days of Arm America) is ad hoc. We fund the USAF every single day no matter if there is a meaningful battle for them to fight or not.

Kemal Ergenekon
Kemal Ergenekon Day 2,149, 19:19

You have a valid argument there. But it is unclear which one turns out to be cheaper. For instance, I score 1m damage with 16 Q7 hits. The cost of supplies is around 25CC. Yet we see combat orders hovering around 100-250 CC per million. If there was an important battle 1 out of 4-10 days, the USAF approach would be cheaper. And this is generally the case; since even if we don't have an important battle, our allies usually do; and damage spent for allies is damage we expect to be returned in the future, not a complete waste.

Your mileage may vary with different players, but this is the main story.

jkeller4000 Day 2,150, 06:16

though with combat orders you can prevent paying players from over hitting the wall, i have seen important battles get to 65% with co's we could save 13% i don't really want to do that complicated math but if your the one over hitting the wall, and use 25 CC per mill damage and do 4 mil damage, there you spent 100cc doing damage for nothing, but with co's you would not hit until it was needed

Kemal Ergenekon
Kemal Ergenekon Day 2,149, 19:10

Also, can you please tell me whether you distribute any supplies to EZC fighters? If you are not distributing all the money by combat orders (which you can restrict to your own MU), then even you don't believe your last argument.

Gnilraps Day 2,149, 19:14

We do not. We distribute cash only. Some is by CO, some is by QM. The amounts are determined by a few variables.

We do have an informal system of providing extra food, but that is not in any way tied to policy.

Kemal Ergenekon
Kemal Ergenekon Day 2,149, 19:20

The fact that you distribute any cash without COs proves my point. Thanks.

Gnilraps Day 2,149, 19:33

The only reason we do not distribute all of it by CO is so that we have an activity metric. Supplies requests are an excellent measure of activity. Since we can no longer measure by a worker history, and since we cannot track who get paid what by CO, we can at least keep track via QM'd cash.

QM'ing cash also creates some activity for leadership roles, a side benefit.

I advocated 100% CO pay but others in EZC leadership elected to do it this way for the above stated reasons.

Kemal Ergenekon
Kemal Ergenekon Day 2,149, 19:37

There must be reasons beyond measuring activity, because it can easily be done by using Mike Ontry's algorithm for tracking player characteristics, or simply using egov. I won't push the point though.

Gnilraps Day 2,150, 04:34

Having something to QM also keeps our MU wall very active. This is routinely one of the cultural aspects of EZC that players find entertaining.

Kemal Ergenekon
Kemal Ergenekon Day 2,150, 17:05

It does not change the fact that you are not implementing the "solution" you offer for the country in your own MU. That is dishonest IMO.

Gnilraps Day 2,151, 07:19

What exactly is it you think I am proposing? What I am proposing is impossible to implement in a private MU. EZC cannot "tax" anyone nor can EZC operate a "National" MU.

What we can do we do. We de-communized our supply line. Players work in market jobs, fight for CO cash, and are supplemented additionally with a stipend. The stipend is essentially an activity bonus rather than a fighting bonus.

Kemal Ergenekon
Kemal Ergenekon Day 2,151, 07:34

The USAF can also just stop using the commune members and employees, and directly give government handouts using its budget + the revenues from WaMing the infrastructure. If they did this, they would be no different from EZC. This is not equivalent to what you propose, i.e. closing USAF down completely and using only COs to fund people.

Flashback1 Day 2,149, 15:14

This makes an incredible amount of sense. I wish I could pull more strings in Congress, but very few would actually listen to a first term Congressman lol.

Mr. Wonka
Mr. Wonka Day 2,149, 15:30

Makes sense, but I am just waiting and hoping for the upcoming debate/ comments on this article. It will be fun and interesting to read. 😉

Edelmann Day 2,149, 15:43

Why is communing so stupid?

12(production)*11(cc/Q7) = 132cc, subtracting the WRM needed which go for roughly 0.045 these days (12*200*0.045=108cc), we are left with 24cc profit for WAMing which is still more than the regular market wage despite the ridiculous bonuses.

Edelmann Day 2,149, 15:44

Also the average wage is roughly 8cc higher than the highest offer on the job market right now, so I doubt communing has such a severe impact on the average salary.

Cubby Day 2,149, 16:05

Yep, Gnilraps is wrong that communing is not effective for MUs. However some are aware that ST6 communes heavily but pays HANDSOMELY for the wage earned. We are not artificially lowering the average wage, but we are in fact raising it--and contributing more taxes in the process. Well, assuming the commune holder was actually in the US (which most are not because of poor bonuses and crappy tax policy!)

Gnilraps end summary is a good one, however. Plato sucks. Government MUs are a stupid drain on revenue. Spend money smarter and we're all better off. I'm looking forward to a future reawakening in the eUS and great success--but it will only happen with a drastic change in perspective by those holding the meta together, in my opinion. Long story short, good work Gnilraps!

Gnilraps Day 2,149, 16:22

Cubby - I am making a distinction between "communing" and "subsidized communing".

The main problem with communing - assuming we need to fund a national military, is that it drives down the average wage.

If that didn't matter, subsidized communing wouldn't bother us.

Mr. Indigo
Mr. Indigo Day 2,149, 15:45

Well in general i agree with you but regarding with producing wrm (cheating/heavily subsidizing) i do not agree with you. Ofc it all depends on the amounts we are talking of. And while one should think that ecotank damage will be wasted while he's worrking his a** off on the mines due to his work lots of people have a chance to make way bigger contribution on the battlefield because frankly - otherwise it would mean just buying gold to supply your people. I'm not discussing who would like to do that but rather who can really DO that. So despite everything - communing is important and can be done more or less effectively. And yes, i'm aware with all those little yet important details about WHEN to buy some companies and WHAT KIND of those to build etc etc.

Other than that pretty logical outcome you proposed.

Gnilraps Day 2,149, 16:23

Again, I have no problem with communing - even subsidized communing. But if we are going to fund a national MU, then communing drives down the average wage which in turn drives up the work tax.

Edelmann Day 2,149, 16:56

Which does in effect - nothing. The work tax you pay stays the same, regardless of whether it's the rate or the average salary pushing it. Also as said, the average salary is 8cc higher than the higher wage on the job market, so communing can't make that much of a difference. Also related is the fact that by now, no sane MU massively communes in the eUS with such shitty bonuses.

Gnilraps Day 2,149, 17:02

You are right about the effect being nothing. But the main point here is that the funding of a National MU drives up the need for cash, which drives up the burden per player.

Edelmann Day 2,149, 17:10

No arguing about that - I don't know actual numbers, but cash going out means a need for tax money coming in.

Waysted Day 2,149, 15:46


Deepchill Day 2,149, 15:46

I can understand the economic part of ditching USAF, but militarily? it would be dysfunctional seeing a Country without a National military. What if all those private MUs decide they don't like where the the POTUS is directing his damage? he's screwed, big foreign policy fail.

Mr. Indigo
Mr. Indigo Day 2,149, 15:50

Deepchill your argument is good one, but on the other hand, if Gov/POTUS doesnt have assets to provide National Military, are you in much better situation?

Hale26 Day 2,149, 15:54

Gdi. I have to bite.

The gov is able to provide for USAF. The current, exorbitant WT could pay for USAF every week in 1 and a half days of revenue. What Gnil is implying here is that the very high WT is caused by USAF costs. In reality, it is caused by a congress that supports the FPS act designed to enable the gov to begin wide-spread sustainable Combat Orders warfare.

In short; Gov can provide for USAF, and +1 to Deep's argument.

Gnilraps Day 2,149, 15:53

Make a list of other countries in this game with nationally supported MU's

Tiamati Day 2,149, 15:53

Only the eUS civilian MU is worthy of federal funding; hopefully Kongress will arrive at that inevitable conclusion as I did over two years ago.

Under its founding doctrine the Civilian MU should always remain under the direct command of PotUS; hence eliminating the issues to which you've alluded.

rainy sunday
rainy sunday Day 2,149, 17:14

It has amazed and befuddled me the number of Presidents who've ignored or neglected the potential there.

DMV3 Day 2,149, 17:05

Canada does not fund a national military and they have no problem getting their MUs to fight where needed because the MUs and government respect each other.

The Mike
The Mike Day 2,149, 15:50

Funny.. the strongest countries in the eWorld actually have government-funded militia. And you are saying "cut" it. Just like that.

I am sure that the community cost of suspending the USAF will be much worse than the populist evil of the WT (which was increased due to a need of COs, while USAF has been requesting less and less money each week for the past 10 weeks in a row).

MUs and parties are the backbone of any nation in this game. While the government shouldn't get involved in parties (or should it?), it can be responsible for a set of MUs.

If all MUs are privately owned - most of the citizen won't be able to qualify for ANY providing-supplies-MU. In a world where social in-/exclusion is a major issue, cutting the USAF just like that simply doesn't make sense.

Gnilraps Day 2,149, 16:24

Which countries fund a national MU like we do?

Most don't. Most fund damage through functionally private MU's

The Mike
The Mike Day 2,149, 16:42

It is still national-funded military. They have a different culture, can't blame them for that (:

Gnilraps Day 2,149, 16:44

No, it's nationally funded DAMAGE. I am all for nationally funded damage because it's cheaper.

Battle Kitten
Battle Kitten Day 2,149, 18:37

There are at least 2 major private MU's in the US that accept almost anyone.. I don't see this "social in/exclusion" that you speak of.

jkeller4000 Day 2,150, 06:20

they do that to try to follow the real world system of fighting, what not many realize its that in the real would the mu's would get money monthly, and buy weps and only fight when needed, in game every dollar the mu has they spend, at least most, real life the usa buys weps and bullets and stores them until needed. a while back i heard there was a shortage of 22's because the nsa bought a huge stock pile of them, like three months of production. this is what the mu's should be doing, buying weps like right now when preices are a bit low and we are not winning battles. then throw weps at players to fight when the gov says lets get those bonuses!

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