People have always hated paying taxes. Even in The Bible, the tax collector was hated and despised, and when Jesus took one for a disciple, eyebrows were raised. These days, the mantra of the right wing politician, and increasingly of the left wing too, is 'No more taxes', 'No new taxes', 'Lower the taxes we already have'. You don't need a degree in maths to realise that sooner or later irresistable force (ever-lower taxes) is going to meet immovable object (in the shape of demands for government funded services), and there's going to be one hell of a collision. This is already happening in many US states, where the demand for services has so far outstripped the cash available that these states are now effectively bankrupt, and essential services are being cut to the bone and beyond. The same kind of thing happened in Britain during the 1980s, when the Tory government of Mrs Thatcher drastically cut many welfare services in order to give people lower taxes. So why do I (and I'm not alone) want to pay more taxes? A few years ago President Bush ordered the US Treasury to send out a $300 cheque to each and every American worker who qualified - in other words, those who had paid a full year's tax the previous year. The President's rationalisation for this largesse was (and continues to be) that people should be free to spend their own money how they want, and that it will inject some life into the economy. Both of those are good and arguable points. Let's look at it another way though. I want to live in a country where there is a good healthcare service. I want to live in a country where the weakest members of society are cared for and given the best possible quality of life. I want a good public transport system and a good education system. I realise that life is not all about the mundane things, so I'd like to be able to indulge my passion for things like classical music and art. These things all cost a great deal of money. A new school, a new hospital, a new railway, a new university, a new concert hall - these are projects which run into millions of pounds or dollars-worth of investment. How on earth is my little $300 cheque going to help that? No. I'd much rather the government kept my $300 and everyone else's, and used it to make a better world for its citizens. But that's the trouble with governments - they only think in the short term. My plans are for the long term. Ten, twenty, thirty years from now, a better funded education system is going to produce better educated citizens who will pay back the investment put into them many times over by getting better jobs and paying more tax themselves, and by being less likely to need government assistance in the way of welfare or social security payments. Those same people are going to be less of a burden on the healthcare system if they are better looked after in their early years, and encouraged to practice a healthier lifestyle. Lowering taxes beyond what is reasonable, and giving people tax refunds for no good reason is little more than a bribe. It appeals to the greed and the narrow-mindedness in people and suggests to them that the government is someone worth voting for. In the long run it simply perpetuates the system of greed and iniquity. Investing public money now will pay back enormous dividends in the future. The capitalists will argue that private, not public money should be invested. Well, I don't want corporations running the schools my children go to or the hospitals we all may have to go to. I don't want them to be run be unaccountable, unelected businessmen. If there's any money to be made in the future I want my government - and therefore the people - to be the Breitling watches benefactor. And do you know what this will all do in the long term? It will result in lower taxes. How's that for irony!
Agreed! I think it's worth paying more for improved public services, I'm even happy for a tax increase to help deal with issues faced by other states. What I found odd recently was John Kerry's thought that repealing the Family Tax Credit would be a good idea, and that this would involve the people who got it this year paying it back. For those that qualified, that was a sum of around 3k. In some cases, that means the difference between childcare over the summer and having kids stay home unattended. It's not an easy situation for anyone to be in. Most people aren't interested in paying for things they'll never use - after all, if you're paying taxes you're working and if you're working you've got medical insurance (hopefully) so why pay tax money to healthcare? Isn't it better to be able to take care of this yourself? But that's pretty fake watches much 'here and now' thinking. Arizona being a 'right to work' state, you have to think in terms of 'what if I go to work tomorrow and my job's not there?' at which point having a well funded safety net makes sense. Maybe it's because I was raised in the UK and got used to being taxed to heck and back, but benefitting from what's left of the welfare state when things fell apart.
Health care and new concert halls will probably take a lot more than $300.00 in new taxes. tax codes, and the probability of inflation, bracket creep will raise our taxes over time anyway. A lot of economists criticized George W Bush's huge tax cuts. Some other economists argued that the tax cuts were Keynesian pump-priming, just what the sluggish economy needed. But I admire you for having the courage to admit you'd accept higher taxes, Gosho. You are noble!
Right-wing politicians always want to repeal tax benefits when they directly affect the poor and low-middle income earners. They are all for giving MORE rebates. as long as they are for things like golf-club memberships or yachts. They usually fall back on the time-worn chestnut that by giving tax-breaks to the rich, it encourages them to spend and the money trickles down. Horse-hockey! The rich only spend their money (if they don't hoard it and leave it to their already wealthy relations) on expensive items and, thus, support companies that are already rich. The average-income-earner spends it closer to home and on a wider variety of goods, thus supporting the community and fellow average-income-earners. If you increase the money available to low-income people, they can lead healthier and better lives, thus relying less on the health-care system and social assistance. The old "the p[oor are lazy and WANT to be doing nothing on welfare is horse-sh!t. Sure, there are people on welfare who are simply lazy. The fact, however, is that governments give welfare people so little, and, should they find work which will offset the small amount they get on social assistance, they government grabs it back. I know people who, working part-time jobs (6 days a week, plus overtime which wasn't paid because they were "casual labour") still couldn't make ends meet. Even working two jobs, putting well over 50 hours a week, could not make ends meet. Welfare won't "top up" an income. It is all or nothing with welfare. In some countries (I believe Ireland is one of them) they have a minimum standard of income. Anyone making less than the minimum income receives a "top-up" to bring them up to the livable income.
Mudhooks, all true! However, one of the things about taxing the rich is that you really can't. After all, one of the things they can afford are accountants and lawyers who specialize in taxation law. There are all kinds of loopholes if you can afford a dedicated proffessional to track them down. Also, the rich can afford to leave the country for most of the year. Or permenantly, if the tax situation elsewhere is more favourable. This is why a number of hugely rich folks from the UK actually live in places like Switzerland. So the idea of cutting taxes for the rich is intended to keep them in the country and keep them investing. What's more. Rich people buy Rolex watches. Rich people do not sell rolexes, nor do they drive trucks to take rolexes to stores, nor do they work security for those stores. They don't maintain those stores, they don't provide furnishings and fittings for them and they don't work in deli stores nearby where the people who sell the rolexes go for lunch. Rich people eat in resteraunts, they don't work in 'em. And so on. If rich people stop doing these things, the jobs they support directly disappear. You need to encourage these folks to spend more disposable income because that creates and supports middle to low income jobs.
True. Also true. This is classic trickle-down theory, which has survived for decades because there is a kernel of truth in it. Critics of trickle-down, however, argue that it doesn't work *enough.* If you give a super-wealthy person a tax break, the extra money is apt to be invested in the stock market or placed in a money market fund or other cash-substitute. If you give a worker of average means a tax break, there are apt to be hundreds of possible ways that that money can be put to use. New stereo, new car, a night out on the town, etc., etc. So, a lot of those truck-driver and restaurant wait-staff jobs are also dependent on the economic well-being of the middle and lower classes. But maybe I shouldn't quibble too much. Before World War Two, you had to be in a fairly high tax bracket before you paid *any* income taxes.
We're all rich in the West. Some people can't afford a car, but they get to ride in one, or a bus, now and again. Solomon in all his glory never had a go in a Renault 4. The popular slogan "tax the rich" ignores the fact that in a country with a huge middle class the wealth of the very rich is easily hidden away in untaxable places, leaving the vast majority of taxable wealth in the hands of the middle classes. Taxing the rich in those places you can get at produces poor results. The setup of democratic states, based on freedom, makes it impossible to force most of the wealth of the very rich into taxable areas. Laws favour corporations; see "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter.
"The rich would continue to buy Rolex watches and eat in expensive restaurants, even if they paid their fair share of taxes. They don't care if the watch they bought cost $50,000, so why should they care if they paid an extra percentage on their taxes?" Rich people DO care about their spending; it's how they got rich in the first place. They will care a lot about a tax hike because a 1% increase for them could mean a ridiculous amount of money. Enough to possibly make them leave the country. "Their accountants might be able to find the loopholes. unless there are fewer loopholes. Sadly, there seem to be plenty of loopholes if you are rich and none if you aren't" Being rich means you own something - property, a business, something. Because the economy requires businesses to make money, many laws are set up to avoid the successful ones being crippled by taxation so there have to be a certain number of loopholes to allow for that. After all, you want the companies that are employing your population to be successful and that means making sure their overheads are low. One of the easiest ways to arrange that is a tax break. Here's another problem with taxing the rich - who is it, d'you think, who funds the major political parties? All those election adverts don't come cheap.
Gosho, my first response when I saw this title in my convo list was 'Great! You can pay mine ' Then it occurred to me that there's probably a reason my nation's taxes on NationStates hovers in the 60% range. Mudhooks, when someone spends $50,000 on a Rolex, they have a nice, shiny Rolex to show for it which not only provides inflated ego at being able to afford such luxuries and pride of ownership, but tells them what time it is in twelve time zones as well. When they pay a higher percentage in taxes they have that much less money and (to their minds) they're supporting those lazy welfare bums you mentioned earlier. What about corporate tax? I understand using tax breaks to attract new businesses to an area, but at what point do those business turn around and start paying back the community that supports them? Couldn't something happen here to lessen the burden on citizens?
Freedom and equality are not compatible goals. In any state one must suffer, or both must be compromised, for an ideal mix. As Steven Pinker points out, in a free society, some will work either harder or smarter, or both, and earn more than others -- even without inherited wealth to start from. In time they will want to pass on their acquired wealth to their children or wider family. If you want people to be equal you must (justly or unjustly?) compel them to give it to the state instead. Naturally they will work hard and smart to evade this. Equality is an ideal goal. I can drive at a constant 60mph to visit my aunt eighty miles away (once I get clear of the city) because all the cars on the road today can go at the speed limit, 60mph. If I had a car capable of 120mph I would take longer (on most of our roads) if most of the other cars could only do 30 or 40. Similarly wealth is at its most useful, flexible, secure and fun when one has equally rich neighbours all round. It's going to take a lot of persuasion to get people to go against their instinct to favour their own families, though.
Yes, the recipients and types of non-profits vary according to background of the givers. The really wealthy are more likely to give status-bearing gifts -- bequests to libraries, Universities, hospitals (thought less so nowadays), museums and gallaries, and "deserving" charities. They are less likely to support food banks, shelters, snowsuit funds, and the like. They often give with "attachments", as well -- their name above the door, their name on a plaque, a wing named after them, or name published in an annual newsletter. They also attend "see and be seen" fundraisers which involve them being entertained whilst giving. Having said that, there have been notable exceptions to the rule. Naomi Bronstein, who was active in bringing children in danger to Canada (babies from Vietnam, where they would have died or been killed by the Vietcong). Mrs. Frieman who, during and after WWII helped servicemen arriving on leave or after being demobbed (she assisted my father whom she met while she was scouring train platforms for service-men in need). There must be plenty of others. However, whenever I see the social columns in the NY Times highlighting the latest "masked ball" for a museum or hostpital, I cringe. Socialites dressed to the nines being "entertained" (not the least by the sight of other socialites "in costume") in order to fork out for the $1000 a plate dinner, half of which likely will go into the "entertainment".
Employment opportunities ARTICLE DETAIL CFM 3623517 ARTICLEID 3623517 Articles