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Why You Should Want to Pay Higher Taxes

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Posted on Apr 14, 2010
Flickr / alancleaver_2000 (CC-BY)

By Moshe Adler

There is little doubt that our antipathy toward tax increases is irrational. Parents watch budgets for their children’s schools slashed, yet there is no movement to increase school taxes. College education becomes ever more unaffordable, yet few clamor for better funding of public universities. In a recent opinion poll, 56 percent of New York state residents said that instead of paying higher taxes they would prefer that government services be cut. While they protest government provision of services in general and health care in particular, how many of the elderly in the tea party crowd are themselves retirees who live on Social Security and receive Medicare?

The objections to higher taxes may be irrational, but they are not hard to explain. Government services and the high taxes that go with them are popular when the distribution of income is relatively equal. When the distribution of income is unequal, the provision of government services means that the rich have to subsidize everyone else and the not-rich become more anxious about personal wealth. This is when attacks on the government take root.

Between 1913, the first year that the income tax became constitutional, and 1981, the first year of the Reagan presidency, the highest federal marginal income tax rate was, on average, 68 percent. It should come as no surprise that the years of the country’s greatest prosperity for the middle class coincided with the highest tax rates. Since Ronald Reagan held the presidency, inequality has increased markedly, and today the highest marginal tax rate is only 35 percent.

The remarkable hold that the rich have on the public’s attitude toward government and taxes can explain the interesting findings of economist Amy Schmidt. Schmidt discovered that the average income of a locality does not have any effect on enrollment in private schools. What does affect enrollment is the degree of income inequality. As the proportion of families with more than twice the area’s median family income increases, so does the enrollment in private schools. In other words, as long as they do not have to subsidize the education of poorer children, the rich provide ample funding for public education, and they then prefer it to private education. But when good public education for their own kids means subsidizing poorer kids, they give their own kids a private education, and the support for the funding of public education by all voters drops.

The reason that voters who would benefit from higher taxes don’t see it this way is because they are subject to what economists call a “money illusion”; they believe that a family’s well-being is determined by how much money it has. This is why they oppose higher taxes. What these voters fail to see is that what really matters is not the absolute level of money a family has, but how much money it has compared to other families. It will do little good for a family to have $1 million to pay for an apartment if other families have more. And when the income gap between the middle class and the rich is large, there are fewer goods available to the middle class because sellers are better off selling only to the rich at fantastically high prices that only they can afford. Examples are everywhere: Airlines increase legroom for first-class passengers and reduce it in economy. Second homes in attractive locations crowd out the local workers who serve their owners. And 20,000-square-foot apartments in dense cities reduce the supply of housing for everyone but the rich.

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But because wealth is relative, taxes have a magical effect. By agreeing to pay higher taxes, middle-class families would get more government services and more private goods at the same time. All that is required for this to happen is that the income tax be progressive, because when all pay higher taxes, the after-tax income of the rich decreases proportionally more than the after-tax income of the middle class.

The notion that taxes are bad for the middle class is akin to the notion that cigarette smoking is harmless, and it should be dealt with by similar means. The government counters the misinformation about smoking propagated by the cigarette companies, and it should also counter the misinformation about taxes propagated by the rich. Higher taxes result in more and better public services, and, for the rest of us, more of just about everything else.

Got taxes?
 

Moshe Adler teaches economics at Columbia University and the Van Arsdale Center for Labor Studies and is the author of the recently published “Economics for the Rest of Us: Debunking the Science That Makes Life Dismal” (The New Press).


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JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, April 23, 2010 at 10:18 am Link to this comment

As a person who considers himself to be a member of the left side of the political spectrum, I guess Dave Thomas’ pejorative “Liberal” description would apply to me. I’ve always believed I was an American who was taking care of himself. If Dave Thomas’ was taking care of me, it’s news to me. I don’t recall receiving any checks, or cash payments, from Dave Thomas. The only cash payments that I received over the course of my life resulted from mowing lawns as a young boy. I don’t think I ever mowed Dave Thomas’ lawn. I’ve received many paychecks over the course of my life, but I don’t remember having Dave Thomas as an employer. In fact, I don’t recall anyone, other than my parents, taking care of me.

Anyway, an exchange of labor for wages is what many people do to take care of themselves, so I guess the argument could be made that Americans who exchange labor for wages would be taking care of themselves. It seems to be a matter of philosophical point of view, though. Some on the right believe that employers provide jobs, so in effect; they are taking care of their employees. While some on the left have noticed that employers are very adamant about being taken care of.

All this left right bickering seems to be counter productive to me. I believe left and right could find many points of agreement. For example, I’ll suggest that both left and right could agree that there are inequities in tax policy. Dave Thomas’ point that he shouldn’t have to pay taxes for Public Safety, Libraries, National Parks, and whatnot, because he doesn’t want, or need them, is a point well taken. Under a more perfect tax system, we’d all be able to pick and choose the government services we’re willing to pay for.

I could have saved a bundle over the course of my life, not paying for the Military Industrial Complex and various and sundry other related expenses.

Unfortunately, this philosophical chasm between left and right will continue. People from the right seem to be very much inclined to spend tax dollars on programs designed to destroy life, and very much opposed to spending tax dollars on programs designed to improve the quality of life, while people from the left seem to be primarily concerned with finding ways to have Dave Thomas take care of them.

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By Inherit The Wind, April 22, 2010 at 8:23 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie, April 22 at 1:31 pm #

It’s curious, then, that the more densely populated BLUE states send the less densely populated RED states money via the Federal government.  This is after paying for most of their own local infrastructure.
*****************************************

Made just a minor change to clear things up.

http://taxfoundation.org/research/show/266.html

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By Anarcissie, April 22, 2010 at 9:31 am Link to this comment

It’s curious, then, that the more densely populated states send the less densely populated states money via the Federal government.  This is after paying for most of their own local infrastructure.

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By Dave Thomas, April 20, 2010 at 5:37 pm Link to this comment

Actually Maani I would take you up on that deal if you had the backbone to make it. Let me know when you can let me off the hook for federal and state employees who make substantially more than me, get much better benefits, get to retire earlier, and get obscenely better retirement benefits because I don’t live in an urban area.

I belong to a volunteer fire department. I drink well water and have a septic tank so don’t post to me about fire departments/sanitation service/public utilities. The county sheriff and his deputies are nice, but they haven’t been on my property for any reason in a long time, and don’t exactly “patrol” the neighborhood.

If all I have to give up then is public libraries and national parks for the tax money I have stolen from my top tax bracket income every single year I will take your offer right here and now and say thank you.

I guess individuals in urban areas don’t realize how much more they depend on tax money than people in rural areas, or how liberals are helpless compared to other Americans who take care of themselves.

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By Night-Gaunt, April 20, 2010 at 12:10 pm Link to this comment

We are judged by the company we keep. Just look at the rogues gallery with Glenn Beck which includes Laffer himself! Just saw him on the show last week. You might be able to find him on http://www.glennbeck.com to see what he had to say on that chalk board.

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By Inherit The Wind, April 19, 2010 at 6:59 pm Link to this comment

JD:
You may not understand the Laffer Curve but I SAID you were wrong for the right reasons: The Reagan and Bush administrations made a huge mess of the economy because they ASSUMED that any and all tax cuts would raise revenue.  Actually, Reagan lied about it, as David Stockman related and then, “got taken to the woodshed” for actually telling us, the truth—they KNEW it wouldn’t actually work, they just didn’t give a damn.

All they proved was the “turning point” of the Laffer curve was at a much higher rate of taxation than it was when they started cutting taxes.

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By JDmysticDJ, April 19, 2010 at 9:33 am Link to this comment

I’m wrong again. It’s not the errors of their prognostications that have been proven to be wrong, but their prognostications that were proven to be wrong by statistics, or that their errors have been proven by statistics.

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By JDmysticDJ, April 19, 2010 at 8:57 am Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind

Thanks for pointing out that I’m wrong again. I’ll defer to your superior economic training. However, one doesn’t have to be a trained economist to read statistical data regarding outcomes over time. Those statistics are not static.

The administrations of Reagan, George H. W., Clinton, and George W. were full of trained economists. Freidman and Greenspan were trained economists. In spite of their training, the errors of their prognostications have been proven wrong, by statistics, not just in this country, but in countries all over the world.


The statistical evidence of the results of our tax policies is evident throughout the twentieth century, and into the twenty first century. That statistical evidence is far from being static.

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By Tommy Smith, April 18, 2010 at 7:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Adler is a genius! He once again makes an important and cogent point!

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By Inherit The Wind, April 17, 2010 at 7:55 pm Link to this comment

JDMystic, as usual, is wrong about the Laffer Curve.  But do not dispair JD: You are wrong for the right reasons.
Marshall is right about the Laffer Curve, but also for the wrong reasons.

The Curve isn’t counter intuitive to anyone with any training in economics. It simply picks up that at some point excessive taxation acts as a greater incentive to NOT produce than profit/wages act as an incentive to produce.

But, and this an important “but”, Laffer NEVER ESTABLISHED WHAT THAT LEVEL OF TAXATION WAS!  He drew the curve as a “smooth curve”, and set the endpoints at 0% and 100% taxation and assumed revenue would be zero at both points.

That by itself is an over-simplification (in a true Socialist society, the 100% mark would be hit but people would be fed, clothed, housed and transported for “free”.)

However, by drawing it as a smooth curve it LOOKS like the critical level of taxation was 50%.  Yet there was and is little evidence that the level was 50% and not 86% or 73% or 92% or 26%.  Laffer and the GOP ASSUMED it was less than 35% because that made GOOD SHORT-TERM POLITICS!

All the evidence I’ve seen that taxation revenue rose with tax cuts has been clearly and blatantly “cooked”—necessary allowances for growth without the incentive of lowered taxes, etc.  For example: if the economy grew by 3.015% after the tax cut, and revenue grew by 3%, how do you know that the incentive was responsible for more than .005%?

Figures don’t lie but liars figure—and so do politicians (but that’s redundant).

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By RAE, April 17, 2010 at 4:16 pm Link to this comment

@ camnai: “It costs just as much to die at 90 as it
does at 70. And there’s 20 years of doctoring and pension that doesn’t have to be paid out, either.”

Pardon my glibness but I submit it costs about the same to die at any age!

During those “20 years” - most seniors are not only in good health but participate in the economy in many, many ways, not the least of which is as consumers and volunteers. Your suggestion that the 70-90 cohort is all liability is way out of line.

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By Marshall, April 17, 2010 at 11:58 am Link to this comment

By JDmysticDJ, April 17 at 12:58 pm #

“The Laffer Curve was counter intuitive when introduced, discredited by
economists from both sides of the political spectrum after practice, and yet,
still given credence by those who seek lower taxes for the richest Americans.”

Nothing counter intuitive about the idea that consumer behavior adjusts with
economic realities - this is established fact.  Higher taxes changes behavior. 
Now granted, it should more accurately be called the Laffer Phenomenon since
it’s clearly not a simple, static curve.  But do I take it that you actually believe
there’s no practical upper limit to taxation?

I seek lower taxes for all american, not just the richest - though this is
complicated by the fact that almost 50% of americans pay no income tax, but
most surely will (or a hefty VAT at least) given the exploding debt.

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By JDmysticDJ, April 17, 2010 at 8:58 am Link to this comment

The Laffer Curve was counter intuitive when introduced, discredited by economists from both sides of the political spectrum after practice, and yet, still given credence by those who seek lower taxes for the richest Americans.

Tax cuts for the richest Americans were economically beneficial, for the richest Americans, but economically detrimental for the rest of us.

“Don’t believe these lying statistics, believe in voodoo,” they say.

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By Marshall, April 17, 2010 at 3:55 am Link to this comment

By rudyspeaks1, April 15 at 11:06 am #

“wouldn’t that normally imply there’d be more planes?”

When airlines were regulated, empty seat counts were higher.  But costs are
reduced (and efficiency increased) by putting more people on the same planes
(though indeed there ARE more planes because so many more people are
flying).  And if you’re willing to pay more, you can get additional luxuries like
more legroom in business or first class.  Research shows short haul travelers
value cost over legroom so everyone wins here.

Side note: there’s actually no proof legroom even HAS decreased.  While
standard seat pitch has declined from about 33 to 31 inches, seat backs are
several inches thinner now as well.

“like saying that when a restaurant gets twice as many customers they have to
cut the meal portions!”

More accurate example would be that the portions were bigger and cost was
higher than people wanted.  Solution was to decrease both portion size and
cost, then let the super hungry pay a bit more for extra.

“They do it to stimulate the economy, DESPITE the fact that revenue
will fall.”

Only in the short term.  When economy is stimulated, tax revenue increases
from rising employment and greater consumption.

I think your assessment of the US in decline is a larger issue of long term
global economic viability relative to other rising populous nations, not internal
marginal tax rates.  We’re still by far the largest economy and per capita GDP
has continued to increase.  Internally, government coffers are at their fullest
during times of economic prosperity, and high taxes have a dampening effect
which you’ve admitted.  While the simplicity of the laffer curve has been
discredited, the basic concept is valid; it’s just no longer a simple static curve.

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By JDmysticDJ, April 16, 2010 at 10:41 pm Link to this comment

Nobody’s going to steal my money. I worked hard stealing the money I’ve got. Go out and steal your own money, like I did, and keep your thieving hands off my stolen money, you commie scumbags.

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By camnai, April 16, 2010 at 9:55 pm Link to this comment

Hey, Rae…with apologies to everyone for veering off of Mr Adler’s subject:
Smokers and health costs is another canard. It costs just as much to die at 90 as it
does at 70. And there’s 20 years of doctoring and pension that doesn’t have to be
paid out, either.

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By rico, suave, April 16, 2010 at 8:53 pm Link to this comment

Kace:
Yeah, I did. But the French Fries got buried in the math. Cash business and barter are the only ways through the wormhole.

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By rico, suave, April 16, 2010 at 8:51 pm Link to this comment

I have a cousin in Philly. Very progressive. Oh, so progressive. His name is Tim Kearney. He’s running for the Pa legislature. Doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance. He is the most serious person I know. Loves his causes. I contributed to one of his campaigns once. He is my cousin. But not this year. He is a raving socialist.

He was bitching about how unprogressive the tax code was, and I said, why don’t you make Social Security progressive, or let it be voluntary. And he said, the nature of the Social Security tax was to be as a glue which glued all the citizenry into a common cause by virtue of equal sacrifice. What a noble sentiment. So I turned the income tax on him with the same logic. He said rich people were able to contribute more, and so they should. I said, even with a flat tax the rich would contribute more, and he said, but poor people need an even deeper break. Somehow the virtue of equal sacrifice drifted out to sea.

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By John Kace, April 16, 2010 at 8:42 pm Link to this comment

Fidler, The racket is fast food. The question is did you read what I wrote?

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By rico, suave, April 16, 2010 at 8:37 pm Link to this comment

Maani:
I also read your linked article. Predictably it sidesteps the “Federal Income Tax” owed and goes on to list all the other burdens we face- Social Security, Medicare, gas taxes local taxes, sales taxes, ad nauseam.

But the tax we are discussing here is the FITW number on your W-2, or the liability at the end of the Form 1040 when you net out all your income and deductions and credits. Yes SocSec and Medicare will have been paid, but for 47% of filers, I REPEAT, the amount of Federal Income Tax owed will be ZERO at the end of the day. And for many of those filers, there will be a supplemental check coming ($31 in your example) to cushion the blow of SocSec and Medicare

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By rico, suave, April 16, 2010 at 8:18 pm Link to this comment

Kace:
I want to know what racket you’re in where you can make $15k and get a check for $5k+! Even if you claimed zero exemptions, there’s no way they withhold $5k from your checks.

Maani, are you reading this? Kace is one of those 47% I was talking about.

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rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, April 16, 2010 at 8:14 pm Link to this comment

Maani:
You are of course making the common mistake of confusing taxes withheld versus taxes owed and taxes refunded.

There are still thousands of morons out there who, month after month, withhold too much tax from their paychecks, then come tax time, are owed a refund and are overjoyed that they are getting paid by the government. There really are people out there who think that if they get a refund check, they aren’t paying any tax!

If your hypothetical family was smart, they would have NO taxes withheld during the year, file their taxes, and wait for the $31 you calculate. In which case your last point would be true.

But, having paid in ZERO tax during the year and getting a check for $31 for the trouble of filing, please tell me again how much federal income tax they paid.

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By John Kace, April 16, 2010 at 7:28 pm Link to this comment

I made 15,000 dollars last year at 8.50 an hour. I claimed my 18 month old child as a dependent. I had 600 and some odd dollars deducted over the year and got 5016 dollars back from the government. That makes my wage 11.32 an hour. I work 34 hours a week. I’m not complaining, but I know something aint right. You dont bite the hand that feeds you but there is no free lunch. Its a way to buy the working mans vote or its a way to keep most of us from worrying about politics and voting at all. 10% Flat tax all for one one for all.

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By RAE, April 16, 2010 at 5:21 pm Link to this comment

Carol DW stated it’s a “question of fairness.” Fairness, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

The question I ask is “Am I getting my money’s worth?” I’m still waiting for the answer to be “yes.”

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By Maani, April 16, 2010 at 4:28 pm Link to this comment

rfidler:

I beg to differ.  You are making a common accounting error.  They do not get a refund of all the taxes they paid - they get credits that offset the amount OWED, and can (as you note) end up getting back some money.  See the following:

“Based on a $50,000 income, a family of four is entitled to a standard deduction of $11,400 and four personal exemptions of $3,650 apiece, leaving a taxable income of $24,000. The federal income tax on $24,000 is $2,769.  With two children younger than 17, the family qualified for two $1,000 child tax credits. Its Making Work Pay credit was $800 because the parents were married filing jointly.  The $2,800 in credits exceeds the $2,769 in taxes, so the family makes a $31 profit from the federal income tax.”

Thus, they get $31 because the credits offset the amount they WOULD owe were it not for those credits.  They do NOT get a check for $2,769 PLUS $31.

Also, you might want to read this before you go any further with your position:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/14/business/economy/14leonhardt.html?pagewanted=print

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By rico, suave, April 16, 2010 at 4:04 pm Link to this comment

Maani:
No sir. You are completely wrong. Whether tax is withheld during the year or not, on April 15th, the bottom line on the Form1040 for the lowest 47% of filers will read ZERO income tax owed for the year. If tax was withheld during the year, the refund check for the full amount will be in the mail.

In the case of the poorest tax filers, not only will all the withheld income taxes be refunded, but the government, thanks to the Earned Income Tax Credit will send an additional check to ameliorate the bite of the grossly regressive Social Security and Medicare taxes. If that’s not redistribution, tell me what is.

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By Carol DW, April 16, 2010 at 3:45 pm Link to this comment

Was this article meant to be an April Fool’s joke?
Wealth isn’t “relative” when you are talking about subsitence. After more than a decade of losing ground and pickiing up the tab for the wealthy, most middle class families are struggling. There are no healthy economies that destroy their middle class.

There is also the question of fairness. The wealthy are the ones who benefit the most and they, not working Americans should be happy to pay their fair share and they don’t.
Corporations who net billions every year from hard pressed tax payers don’t pay their fair share either. 

With sixty cents of every tax dollar going to the military and waging illegal, pointless wars, most tax payers are getting little benefit from their tax dollars. Why should anyone be happy to pay for weaponized bees, summary executions and middle eastern genocide?

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By Angel Gabriel, April 16, 2010 at 1:57 pm Link to this comment

Some below have come close on this thread, but no one has suggested that a redistribution and prioritization of tax spending is the solution.
Stop paying the Pentagon the $600Billion a year that is sucked right off the top. Shift the priority for Health, Education, and Social Programs benefitting all American’s to the pinnacle, and drop the Military budget to the bottom of the barrel where it should be.
I feel every years Federal budgets need to be decided by State Representation, and then ratified by voter approval on a line by line basis.
This would give everyone a chance to approve expenditure based on need and consensus. Change the job description for your Congress and Senate so that they represent the Voters interest, not Special Interest that are paving the streets of Washington with gold. Make this part of every Citizen’s Federal Responsibility to get involved in approving the Federal Budget every year with their vote, and encourage spirited debate at the local level in each State.
Close the US Military bases in foreign Country’s and be able to send your kids through College with your tax dollars. Stop the War’s of aggression and occupation, and pay for your retirement, or survive and be able to afford treatment for the Catastrophic Illness such as Diabetes, or Heart Disease, or Cancer through the use of your tax dollars.
If American Foreign Policy would change to peaceful and respectful coexistence with it’s neighbors instead of being the world Policeman and Greed Merchants you might find less of a need for your Security that might pay off the deficit and raise the standard of living considerably.
Why do you people not think this way???

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By Maani, April 16, 2010 at 11:45 am Link to this comment

There seems to be a general misunderstanding here.

It is not that 47% of people do not pay income taxes.  Of course they do: it is deducted from their paychecks, just as it is from everyone else’s.  The difference is that this 47% ends up not OWING any income tax (i.e., not having to pay ADDITIONAL tax on April 15).  Yet the number of people having to pay additional taxes at the end of the year has been decreasing steadily over time for a number of years.  Obama simply accelerated that by providing additional tax credits and other assistance on a somewhat broader scale.

As he said yesterday, the tea party should be THANKING him for reducing the end-of-year tax burden on so many people (including many tea partiers).

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By yrscrewed, April 16, 2010 at 11:21 am Link to this comment

Fallacy the 16th Amendment did not create the Income Tax this is what most “IGNORANT” people or pundits of tax law.
The was an Income Tax Act of 1909, 1911 before 1913.

What most people that espouse the false claim that the 16th Amendment created a new law refuse to explore what the Supreme Court said in the “LANDMARK” decision regarding the fictitious claim.  The Case was Brushaber v. Union Pacific R.R. Co., 240 U.S. 103 (1916). Chief Justice delivered the opinion however before you read this case which is difficult to read and comprehend.  But you must also read the Stanton v. Baltic Mining Co., 240 103 (1916) case. But the Stanton Case Chief Justice White tell us quite nicely what was settled in the Brushaber case.
Text from the Brushaber Case.

The various propositions are so intermingled as to cause it to be difficult to classify them. We are of opinion, however, [240 U.S. 1, 11]  that the confusion is not inherent, but rather arises from the conclusion that the 16th Amendment provides for a hitherto unknown power of taxation; that is, a power to levy an income tax which, although direct, should not be subject to the regulation of apportionment applicable to all other direct taxes. And the far-reaching effect of this erroneous assumption will be made clear by generalizing the many contentions advanced in argument to support it, as follows: (a) The Amendment authorizes only a particular character of direct tax without apportionment, and therefore if a tax is levied under its assumed authority which does not partake of the characteristics exacted by the Amendment, it is outside of the Amendment, and is void as a direct tax in the general constitutional sense because not apportioned. (b) As the Amendment authorizes a tax only upon incomes ‘from whatever source derived,’ the exclusion from taxation of some income of designated persons and classes is not authorized, and hence the constitutionality of the law must be tested by the general provisions of the Constitution as to taxation, and thus again the tax is void for want of apportionment. (c) As the right to tax ‘incomes from whatever source derived’ for which the Amendment provides must be considered as exacting intrinsic uniformity, therefore no tax comes under the authority of the Amendment not conforming to such standard, and hence all the provisions of the assailed statute must once more be tested solely under the general and pre-existing provisions of the Constitution, causing the statute again to be void in the absence of apportionment. (d) As the power conferred by the Amendment is new and prospective, the attempt in the statute to make its provisions retroactively apply is void because, so far as the retroactive period is concerned, it is governed by the pre-existing constitutional requirement as to apportionment.

What the case stated was the 16th Amendment did not create any new law period.  And all Income taxes are Excises taxes.  For more research see Congressional Research Service: In 1943 Congressman Carlson of Kansas, with an article that was written by Mr. F. Morse Hubbard a former legislative draftsman in the Treasury Dept. He made it part of the Congressional Record. I believe that date was March 28, 1943 it is good reading.
Peace

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By Night-Gaunt, April 16, 2010 at 10:17 am Link to this comment

rfidler I don’t pay more income tax because I am too poor or does that make me a “free loader” to you? I get less than $11,000 a year. Should I be taxed on so little? I still pay any other tax out there for purchasing as you do.

As for the ultra-rich, they have ways of freeloading because they are so wealthy they can find ways of not paying and get special treatment. Anyone should be able to figure that out. It seems to be beyond your understanding rfidler.

Just imagine if that “$16 trillion” had gone directly to the poor? It didn’t and they didn’t get much of it, if that really was the number paid. Where did you get that figure?

War resistors for a long time would withhold a certain amount (that went to the military) for some time concerning their taxes.

The 60 cents was from someone I heard recently. A revised number I saw on the Dylan Ratigan Show which he got from the gov’t itself; Showing that 1)Medicare/Medicaid at $1.4 trillion 2)Military [Doesn’t include the Black Budget] 3)Social Security which combined costs us 75% of the total budget.

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By LocalHero, April 16, 2010 at 9:04 am Link to this comment

Force is evil. Therefor, the only just taxes are voluntary. Step up and lick the boot of your master, Adler. What a bunch of sheep.

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By Charley Barcelo, April 16, 2010 at 8:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I had a conversation with an intelligent young man while we were both poll watchwers in a recent election. The yoing man’s father was a long haul trucker who complained that taxes were robbing him of income, therefore he was advocating lower or no taxes.  I have criss crossed the country on 8 or 9 occasions and witnessed the highway system being maintained and improved thereby enabling truckers to travel quickly and safely throughout the nation and earn an impressive income.  I opined that the taxes the trucker paid enabled him to earn some pretty good money and without the taxes the road sustem would deteriorate to an unsafe position and reduce his income far greater than the taxes he paid would reduce his income.

The same situation exists for all of us.  Our education system enables greater earning capacities.  Out taxes pay for virtually everything we treasure and if we didn’t pay the taxes we would be just another third or fourth world country. 

For 28 out of the previous years we have been governed by REpublicans.  What have we gained in these years.  Yes they reduced taxes on the wealthy and borrowed the money to engage in several illegal wars leaving us with a devistating economic collapse.  And now because they gave us a 12 trillion dollar debt they are angling to cut all social spending which aid their own citizens.  The tea partiers ae largely living with Social security and medicare and are screaming about paying too much in taxes.  WAKE UP AMERICA We have met the enemy and it is saying NO, HELL NO, to everything that Americans need.

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By RAE, April 16, 2010 at 5:30 am Link to this comment

Hey, camnai… “...he makes it sound as if those of us who smoke are similarly in denial about the dangers of tobacco. We aren’t, so put a
sock in it and leave us alone.”

I’m reasonably sure that the majority of those who smoke are well aware of the dangers. Kicking the nicotine addiction can be tough but it sure isn’t impossible. I know. I did it (after a few tries).

And I agree we should “put a sock in it.” Smokers CHOOSE to smoke and endanger their health by doing so. Each choice we make in anything has consequences. When we choose the action we choose the consequence.

The consequence is that you will need health services beyond what you most likely would have needed had you chosen not to smoke. It is my view that all smokers should be required to pay, out-of-pocket, a SIGNIFICANT portion of their health care costs.

In fact, the share for ALL self-inflicted injuries should be at least ONE THIRD - cash BEFORE the treatment, thank you.

You can’t reasonably expect the rest of us to pick up the tab for the consequences of your bad choices.

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By camnai, April 16, 2010 at 4:54 am Link to this comment

I agree totally with Mr Adler on taxes; I take umbrage at the analogy he concludes
with. While many citizens are harming their own interest by opposing the taxes
that the services they need require, he makes it sound as if those of us who
smoke are similarly in denial about the dangers of tobacco. We aren’t, so put a
sock in it and leave us alone. (While I’m at it, the propaganda about second-hand
smoke, though, is a crock. The only evidence that it puts non-smokers in any
danger comes from people who wanted that evidence to be there before they
went looking for it.)

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By PatrickHenry, April 16, 2010 at 3:28 am Link to this comment

Cut federal and state government spending.

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By ChristieT, April 16, 2010 at 12:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

rfidler -

Are these Fox numbers?  If not, where are you getting them?  In just the years 2000 to 2010 alone, the U.S. military budget has totaled over 6 trillion dollars—and that doesn’t include all the money that is military in nature but is found elsewhere in the budget.  H-m-m, methinks either you or Fox are just making things up. Again.

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By aybesea, April 15, 2010 at 9:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The way I feel about taxes is that they are what I consider a “necessary evil” in order to maintain a given society.  As such, tax revenue is needed and is important. 

What I do not understand about the Tea Party in general is that a few of its members are protesting being taxed.  I just never understood this notion as…reasonable.  You know?  I understand protesting the government’s allocation of tax revenue (i.e. protesting the fact that between half to three-quarters of total federal tax revenue is used to fund the Pentagon).  But to protest being taxed is absurd. 

I am sure that if a person just sits back and thinks about what it would mean if the government does not collect taxes - he would understand how unrealistic such an idea is.

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By Maani, April 15, 2010 at 8:14 pm Link to this comment

ITW: It will be a shock to both of us (LOL), but I agree with your post, which should be required reading: you nail the situation perfectly.

Dave Thomas: Fine.  But then you don’t get to use national parks, public libraries, or get any local (tax-payed-for) services such a police, fire, sanitation, etc.

Tennessee-Socialist: “John F. Kennedy was the one who said that when changes are not possible thru peaceful ways, we must bring changes thru violent ways.”

No, that is not what he said.  The exact quote is: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”  and it was said in relation to Latin America in the wake of the Cuban revolution.

Even if we stretch this to include the U.S., he was NOT saying that changes MUST be brought about by violent means if peaceful means do not work.

You REALLY need to know your facts before you misquote and misinterpret.

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By Tennessee-Socialist, April 15, 2010 at 7:47 pm Link to this comment

DEAR FRIENDS: DR. PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS QUIT BECAUSE SOME LEFT-GATEKEEPER SITES DIDN’T LET HIM POST HIS 9-11 INSIDE JOB ARTICLES. IT IS A TRAGEDY THAT EVEN ALTERNATIVE NEWS WEBSITES DON’T HAVE FREEDOM OF SPEECH.

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By viridian sun, April 15, 2010 at 7:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Pay more taxes? I barely earn above poverty wages as it is. I am college educated, a professional who does environmental/ecological consulting. Even with this “green” president I have not seen one government funded job this year. In fact, grant money for a long term project (the results of the study would have been very important) was cut to zero this year and will probably never come back.

And why should I pay more federal income taxes when 53% of every tax dollar goes to the Pentagon. If this country needs more money then start by slashing the US defense budget. Slash it drastically.

Finally, my property values, as determined by the county assessor, declined this year but property taxes went up while local services are cut.

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RAE's avatar

By RAE, April 15, 2010 at 6:30 pm Link to this comment

Excuse me, JimBob, but if you had to do ALONE whatever it is you make or do to amass all that money, I doubt you’d have it. My bet is you had plenty of help who also worked long and hard for a lot less.

To reward UNIQUE brilliance, inspiration, leadership, vision, insight, performance or talent is appropriate. For a CEO to take home twice as much as the second line of management seems not out of line.

What is WAY out of all reason and justification is CEOs, who couldn’t possibly do or achieve without the help of many, many others, to take home MILLIONS and MILLIONS and MILLIONS while everyone else gets to fight over the crumbs. There is such a profound inequity in such arrangements that I’m at a loss for words to adequately express my revulsion for the practise. It makes me feel dirty just writing about it.

“...we pay a lot of the bills in this country, and do it gladly.”

And as you should. “this country” made it possible for you to collect all that money. You wouldn’t even have it otherwise. Explain to all of us peasants why you and your family require more than, say, $200,000 per year. How many luxury homes, cars, boats, and other toys do you NEED… especially while there are millions of your fellow countrymen that don’t even have adequate nutrition or health care. Let’s hear why you deserve such riches.

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By ohiolibgal, April 15, 2010 at 6:28 pm Link to this comment

I wouldn’t raise taxes for anyone making under $150,000.

If the defense budget would be cut in half, which it easily could be cut and we’d still be over protected, we could restore a lot of services.

So - tax Warren Buffett at a higher rate than his secretary, as he has requested, then slash the military. End the stupid wars, legalize pot and tax it. Just like that problem solved.

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By Allan Krueger, April 15, 2010 at 6:21 pm Link to this comment

Taxation without representation.

The single party system, divided into 2 wings. Regulation written by special interests. Never ending, POINTLESS wars fought in our name… The shadow government has played us like a fucking piano!

Need I go on?

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By JimBob, April 15, 2010 at 5:32 pm Link to this comment

My wife and I have been very fortunate, and have plenty of money.  We also pay more in taxes every year—sometimes four or five times more—than most people make in a year.  We really don’t begrudge it because as I said, we’ve been fortunate as well as hard-working—fortunate to live in a country where hard work can pay off.  But what galls us is the assumption that because we’re wealthy we’re somehow riding on the backs of the middle class and the poor.  When we shovel hundreds of thousands at the IRS in a good year, it sure feels like we’re holding up our end of the bargain.  When we read that the average citizen pays 4-point-something percent of his/her income (that seems low, but it what I read) then there must be a lot of people out there paying no taxes, and that sure doesn’t include anyone I know who has money.  Lighten up on us, folks, we pay a lot of the bills in this country, and do it gladly.

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By Jimnp72, April 15, 2010 at 5:32 pm Link to this comment

And- the one trillion military budget is the one we know about. How about a lot
more that we don’t know. Another trillion?

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By Kevin Schmidt, April 15, 2010 at 4:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Adler is a propaganda parrot for the upper 1% plutocracy.

Middle income wage earners should not want to pay more taxes under any circumstances.

The fact is, the upper class and multinational corporations are not paying their fair share of taxes.

Plus, our tax dollars are being spent primarily to support the immoral, illegal, genocidal, war OF terrorism, war profiteers.

The solution is simple, restore higher tax rates (without any tax avoidance loopholes) on both the upper class and multinational corporations, and cut the ONE TRILLION DOLLAR military budget in half.

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By Jimnp72, April 15, 2010 at 3:47 pm Link to this comment

a note to our tea party friends=
if you are all so sincere, stop paying your taxes.
After all. taxation is a form of economic socialism.

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By Jimnp72, April 15, 2010 at 3:41 pm Link to this comment

Got an obscenely over-bloated military industrial complex?
Got a penal system that’s more of the same?
Got mega corporations that pay no taxes?
AND I AM SUPPOSED TO BE HAPPY TO PAY MORE TAXES?!
Rein in these, and our tax burdens will lessen. I dont know about the rest of you,
but I have the local, state and fed govt paws on my wallet a bit too heavily. The
only thing they have not taxed is the air we breathe, and I am confident they will
find a way to meter and tax that too.
The author, I dont know where he is living, but I do not think it is on earth.

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RAE's avatar

By RAE, April 15, 2010 at 3:25 pm Link to this comment

I quit paying taxes many years ago when it finally dawned on me that I was being used and abused by my own government.

So I quit my well-paid job with the 33% of my wages deducted before I ever saw the paystub, and started my own business. I managed it for 10 years, and didn’t pay a cent in tax - all legal and above board). I just refused to earn so much money that I was required to pay tax! Simple.

If government(s) handled the tax revenue in a responsible, sensible manner - like, not give billions away (need I list the recipients?) - then I think we;d all e OK with paying a reasonable amount.

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By Dave Thomas, April 15, 2010 at 2:49 pm Link to this comment

A nice quote from Sam Adams seems in order for this thread…

“Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.”

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By Ralph Kramden, April 15, 2010 at 2:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Taxes are what allows us to be civilized: public transportation, public education, public services such as water, fire and police departments. We will remain a Banana Republic among the advanced nations of the world as long as this “pay-no-taxes,” syndrome festers. The problem with taxes is that it is not applied progressively to the wealthy and the corporations. We are the nation of “private wealth and public squalor,” as Galbraith said. We shall remain so. I pay more than my share of taxes. Most of my friends have one scam or another to avoid paying taxes. Then they wonder why the schools are in such bad shape, and they blame the teachers. The middle class cutting their own throat is a sight to behold, but it has a long, sad history: from anti-union to anti-poor. Of course, the Pentagon is the whale in the pond, and no one dares to mess with it. Then there are the subsidies to Israel. I think California could use the money going to Israel or Egypt.

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By rico, suave, April 15, 2010 at 2:30 pm Link to this comment

Samson:
“Instead, in America, taxes are collected from the working class and what’s left of the middle class to then be redistributed… blah blah blah”

Are you serious? The “working class” pays zero income tax and neither does half the middle class. In fact much of the working class gets rebate checks. They actually collect tax dollars, not pay them.

Since 1964 when the first Great Society programs started, the US has spent $16 TRILLION dollars on poverty programs. Since its inception, the US has spent $7 TRILLION dollars fighting wars. (Constant dollars)

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rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, April 15, 2010 at 2:22 pm Link to this comment

Gaunt:
” so rich they are exempted. Why should we pay more taxes when the ultra-rich who haven’t been paying their fair share do not?”

Who is too rich to pay taxes? What the hell does that even mean? And since you don’t even pay tax, why are you so worried that some people who do aren’t paying their fair share. You’re the one not paying his fair share. YOU are a freeloader and have absolutely no moral standing on the issue of tax fairness!

And where did you get the figure of 60 cents on the dollar for the DoD?

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By NOWARS, April 15, 2010 at 2:20 pm Link to this comment

This is funny…..Talking about Taxing Cigarettes,When in Fact ALCOHOL Kills and makes More PEOPLE SICK,COSTS SOCIETY Twice as MUCH as SMOKING does,HARMS More PEOPLE than SMOKING ever will or EVER DID….And at a WHOPPING $ 180 Billion a Year to society just for its USE,ESCAPES Taxes IMPOSED ON SMOKERS….......You talk about UPSIDE DOWN.HIPPOCRITS ............THE USA IS UPSIDE DOWN
ANY QUESTIONS
I didn’t Think SO

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By G.Anderson, April 15, 2010 at 1:37 pm Link to this comment

If Mr. Adler is for higher taxes, then no one is stopping him from paying them. The goverment is in dire need of money right now and a little extra donation would be appreciated. So by all means Mr. Adler pony up…

Put you money where you mouth is and let us know, just how much extra you contributed.

In case you haven’t noticed, personal banrupcies are at another all time high, and people are having a dificult time making ends meet.

If instead government wouldn’t tax people into oblivion, and destroy their abiity to support themselves through ever increasing taxes, child support orders, and government protection for nefarious corporations then maybe people would be able to surivive.

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By woundedduck, April 15, 2010 at 12:55 pm Link to this comment

If taxes are so evil, why is it that our most productive period, post-WW 2, had taxes which for the rich, were about 2.5 times higher than now?  And if we have no taxes, please list which of these services you’ll be providing for yourself: police, fire fighting, emergency services, military, air traffic control, education, roads and highways…

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By matthewbnelson5446, April 15, 2010 at 12:28 pm Link to this comment

We do not need to pay more taxes.  We need to give less to Pentagon for the illegal wars.  Then there could be more money for education and infrastructure.

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By Tennessee-Socialist, April 15, 2010 at 12:21 pm Link to this comment

Hello all, in my last post i said something about being illegal and breaking the laws. I actually don’t advocate doing bad things. But John F. Kennedy was the one who said that when changes are not possible thru peaceful ways, we must bring changes thru violent ways.  And the USA needs a change toward a better system of distribution of money to all americans.  Because right now only a few are living happy lifestyles, while the majority are taxed to death, billed to death and living depressive lives

.

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By gerard, April 15, 2010 at 12:07 pm Link to this comment

This Adler guy lives in Cloud Cookoo Land somewhere.

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By Tennessee-Socialist, April 15, 2010 at 12:03 pm Link to this comment

dont get mad, get even. Be illegalist, evade taxes. Only illegalism and immoralism can overthrow this capitalist system in USA. Break the laws, cheat, steal and be illegal and immoral.  Steal from your business, steal money to your capitalist-boss. If you work in a restaurant, spit on the food and steal from the restaurant

Here is a good article about Illegalism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illegalism

Illegalism is an anarchist philosophy that developed primarily in France, Italy, Belgium, and Switzerland during the early 1900s as an outgrowth of individual reclamation. The illegalists openly embraced criminality as a lifestyle.

.

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Tennessee-Socialist's avatar

By Tennessee-Socialist, April 15, 2010 at 11:56 am Link to this comment

Fuck this article, wtf is shit about loving taxes. fuck who ever wrote shit. taxes are evil. Evade taxes if you can.

This article is written by a left-gate keeper like Noam Chomsky who is a fake-leftist, and a left-gate keeper.

.

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By Samson, April 15, 2010 at 11:51 am Link to this comment

How to spot a propaganda website?

On ‘tax day’, they run articles telling you how wonderful the IRS is and how it shouldn’t be slandered.  And then more articles about how you should be happy to pay even more taxes.

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By Samson, April 15, 2010 at 11:46 am Link to this comment

In America, taxes are a part of a income re-distributions scheme.  However, its not the type of income redistribution that so frightens the Republicans and Democrats which would be money actually given to help the citizens.

Instead, in America, taxes are collected from the working class and what’s left of the middle class to then be redistributed to the stockholders and executives of the big defense contractors, wall street banks, and any other corporation with similar amounts of cash that can be used to buy politicians in our ‘free’ elections.

If tax money was actually controlled by the citizens and used to the benefit of the citizens, then Mr. Adler might have a valid point.  But in a society where the citizens have little to no say in either how much is collected nor on where its spent, then such an argument is only a cover justification and fig-leaf for theft.

Majorities of Americans want the wars to end, want the troops to come home, opposed the wall street bailouts, opposed the big health corp bailouts, and support spending much more on ‘stimulus’ and ‘job creation’.  But, our government instead does the opposite.  In such a situation, the only sensible course for the citizens is to oppose any new or higher taxes whenever possible.

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By Samson, April 15, 2010 at 11:35 am Link to this comment

Most of your tax money goes to one of the following.

— The ‘Defense’ Dept, Homeland Security, and the ever growing number of alphabet soup intelligence agencies.

—Bailouts of Wall street banks and other corporations that should fail due to their bad management.

— Bond repayments to Wall street banks.

What’s highly misleading about this article is that its using the few programs that actually do help people but which make up only a small fraction of the budget to try to justify why you should be paying more and more and more of your money to the items listed above.

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By sollipsist, April 15, 2010 at 11:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“The notion that taxes are bad for the middle class is akin to the notion that cigarette smoking is harmless, and it should be dealt with by similar means.”

Those means include: overstating the dangers, playing on people’s fears (and generally fuzzy grasp of logic and statistics), devising ever more effective propaganda campaigns, interpreting studies to be far more favorable to your conclusions than they actually are, and ultimately dealing another popularly-supported blow to freedom in exchange for a barely-perceptible improvement, if any.

Yes, that is a good plan. That’s pretty much how every contentious issue has been ‘decided’. I for one can’t wait to see the hip new ad campaign “Taxes are totally awesome, kids!” or the more sobering “If you don’t pay more taxes, we have scientific proof that babies and bunnies will die horribly.”

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By Night-Gaunt, April 15, 2010 at 10:23 am Link to this comment

I would ask Moshe Adler, got money? Between 47%-51% don’t pay any taxes because they don’t earn enough (like myself) or a so rich they are exempted. Why should we pay more taxes when the ultra-rich who haven’t been paying their fair share do not? Also our military takes an average 60 cents of every dollar spent. Something you won’t see in any Republican pie chart. Cut that bloated imperial budget by at least 90% would save us trillions. Getting the rich who own 75% of the wealth of this country, and more, to pay would obviate the need to raise taxes for everyone wouldn’t it? In case you haven’t noticed since the war on the middle class started in 1980 it has been shrinking. We are in a Depression that is hidden from us. The numbers are still bad. Some improvement but not enough.

Right now the income is distributed to the top 10% is as bad as it was in 1929. We just narrowly missed a total economic collapse. Nothing has been done to avoid it happening again and it will. Then only the rich fascists and their followers will rebuild the country in their image. First the shock then the take over then the building something new in its place for the wealthy not you. Just look at Louisiana, Iraq and what happened after the tsunamis in 2004 for examples. Are you ready? I’m not.

Polls show people are more willing to pay higher taxes if they see something coming back to the people, not to the corporations and military. But we see that our gov’t isn’t really ours at all. Just to the super rich who own it and continue to get what they want. Though it isn’t as efficient as a corporate state (they are working on that) they still get theirs very fast while ours are whittled away like the health care bill that is corporate friendly. [10X spent on the military goes by without comment or fuss while under a Trillion over 10 years they act like it is a coronary of the body politic.] That should tip you off as to what our inverted totalitarian system operates. Stonewall and cut down what we need for humanitarian reasons while their militarism goes like grease through a goose.

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rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, April 15, 2010 at 10:16 am Link to this comment

artist:
“the rich are not paying the same rate of taxes as middle class and many big corporations are not paying any tax in the US at all.”

I can’t imagine there is anybody in the country who would disagree with that.

I’m only guessing, though, that you think the middle class is paying a higher RATE than the rich. And of course, you’d be wrong.

47% of the population pays NO income tax. Half of that 47% is “middle class”. The top 10%, the rich, pay 73% of income taxes. Those are facts, not ideological positions.

As for the corporations. If you had a legal way to set up your finances such that you wouldn’t have to pay taxes, why on earth wouldn’t you set them up that way?

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By rudyspeaks1, April 15, 2010 at 7:06 am Link to this comment

Marshall: While I don’t want to get into an extended discussion w/you (I got
sucked into an unsatisfying and futile discussion w/a “free market”[sic]
advocate yesterday), there are 2 points that I can’t pass by. 1) “Legroom has
shrunk because passenger loads have increased as a result of lower fares”
Um… wouldn’t that normally imply there’d be more planes? Your contention is
like saying that when a restaurant gets twice as many customers they have to
cut the meal portions! 2) “Many of us believe that lowering taxes ironically
tends to boost tax revenue by stimulating the economy (which is why even
Democrats prescribe tax rebates during economic downturns).” Many people
believe the Earth is flat, but that doesn’t make it flat. And, more to the point,
that is NOT why ”  Democrats prescribe tax rebates during economic
downturns”. They do it to stimulate the economy, DESPITE the fact that revenue
will fall. Your “belief” is the classic, disproven “Laffer Curve”. That you’re trying
to slide it, unnamed, into this discussion is why I won’t get into a back-and-
forth with you. Suffice it to say that, despite the temporary uptick you get from
the change in rates (which never sustains itself), the “Laffer Curve” has joined
the “Kissinger Doctrine” and “Unitary Executive” on the scrap heap of history.
Compare the 35 years between, say, 1936 and 1971 (the year before Schultz
pulled out of the Bretton Woods Agreement) when there was a high marginal
tax rate, and the years between 1972 and 2007, when tax rates dropped,
unionization dropped, and deregulation was the rage. When was America on
the ascent?

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By Dave Thomas, April 15, 2010 at 7:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sorry, but I don’t want government benefits because they are provided by a government department full of government employees who get salaries that are higher than mine, get better health plans than me, receive obscene pension benefits compared to mine, and have no incentive to do their job well because they can’t be fired.

I’ll simply keep the money I earned with my hard work and take care of my own benefits with my own judgment.

Efficiency must mean little to nothing in the academic economic world these days.

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By NYCartist, April 15, 2010 at 6:44 am Link to this comment

Let’s look up: the rich are not paying the same rate of taxes as middle class and many big corporations are not paying any tax in the US at all.  Read David Cay Johnston on tax unfairness.

Today’s DemocracyNow has a segment with the lawyer for the whistleblower (Swiss banker) who gave US gov’t names, info of American millionaires, billionaires who had secret, hidden from US taxes, accounts in Switzerland - he’s in jail and they thousands of rich are not, neither are the bank biggies.  http://www.democracynow.org

It’s not “irrational” but brainswashing that people are “against taxes” but a reflection of the successful propaganda wars by the rich.  One example: the millions spent by one family (the Walmart’s founder’s kids) to kill the “death tax” as their PR firm named it.

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rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, April 15, 2010 at 5:58 am Link to this comment

ITW:
As I read Adler’s article, I was formulating my post in my mind. Then I read yours. Thanks for saving me the time. Ditto!

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By Inherit The Wind, April 15, 2010 at 3:54 am Link to this comment

I think the author is an idiot. He’s like Marxists who argued they had to create the “New Communist Man” to overcome 3 million years of Evolution.

Taxes are a necessary but bitter pill that has to be swallowed and the author has omitted the real reason for the IRRATIONAL opposition to them (as opposed to rational opposition).

It can all be distilled down to Ronald Reagan and his infamous statement: “Government isn’t the solution to our problems. Government IS the problem.”

With this RR sent the GOP and foolish Democrats and Indies spinning off irrationally from the image and paradigm laid down in the Constitution by our Founding Fathers.  And that paradigm is that our Government is a mutual agreement among the people and several states for how to keep us out of anarchy, chaos, and vulnerability to attack from the outside.

The idea that economists understand of “Public Goods”, like rivers and roads and the very air we breathe being both necessary to EVERYONE but ownable by no one has been forgotten.

Nobody wants to pay more taxes.  That’s a given.  And nobody is obligated to pay more than the minimum that the Law demands.  That, too, is a given and solidified in Law and court decision.

But things that ONLY the Government can do MUST be done and must be paid for.  Want competition and private fire-fighters?  New York City once had them—houses would burn down as competing fire companies would battle over who had the “right” to put it out.  They were abandoned in the 19th Century.

Private prisons have been a disaster—badly run corporations and badly run prisons that violate the prisoners’ rights—with little if any recourse.

Private regulation is generally a failure—think of all the scandals of the AMA covering up for incompetent and even criminal doctors.  For how many years did that Dr. Moon perform totally UNNECESSARY coronary bypasses on health patients falsely told they needed them?  A few died because it’s a high-risk surgery.  Moon murdered them. 

One can go on and on and on of the cost to society of NOT having our mutual and joint interests protected by our Government.

It’s not the taxes that are the issue. It is defining yet again what the PROPER role of Government is, and then funding it appropriately and fairly from our tax dollars.

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By Marshall, April 15, 2010 at 1:42 am Link to this comment

Points/Questions to this article’s author:

1. Is it possible he’s reversed the cause and effect of the years of higher taxes
and middle class prosperity?

2. Your airline example of business catering to wealthier customers ignores the
fact that flying is far cheaper today than when it was regulated in the 70s. 
Legroom has shrunk because passenger loads have increased as a result of
lower fares.

3. Many of us do not want more government services as you seem to believe. 
We’d rather have far fewer services, save the tax money and simply buy the
private services we actually want.  This is a choice economy as opposed to an
entitlement economy.

4. Many of us believe that lowering taxes ironically tends to boost tax revenue
by stimulating the economy (which is why even Democrats prescribe tax
rebates during economic downturns).  Raising taxes reduces consumer activity
which accounts for the majority of our economy.

5. Don’t we already HAVE a progressive tax system?

While the article is a nice attempt to garner support for an unpopular cause
(raising taxes), I don’t find its argument credible.

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EJH's avatar

By EJH, April 15, 2010 at 12:02 am Link to this comment

If America would stop waging wars and maintaining
military bases all over the world, it would save enough
money to fix all of the country’s problems without any
tax increase.  http://theunpeople.blogspot.com/

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