Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Give more back to the government?

I was reading an AP story discussing how a lot of Americans believe taxes are too complicated. I wholeheartedly agree. President Bush said in his nomination acceptance speech last year that Americans spend 6 billion hours doing tax returns, which I presume counts hours done by the entire industry we've built around that.

What struck me in the article is the complete ignorance of some people:
"There are the fortunate few who are making their living on other people's hard work, they can afford to give more back to the government," said Phil Rosenfeld, a computer consultant from Miami who leans Democratic.
Give back to the government? Since when does the government give us anything that wasn't provided for by tax dollars? Since when is it government that was responsible for every livelihood, for the very existence of our society? To this idea that we "give back" to the government, I say, "Absurd!"

This closet Marxist is another American who doesn't value that some people work better (not harder, but smarter) than others, reaping the reward of higher pay. But some people have it right:
Kim Howard-Johnson, a San Diego homemaker who leans Republican, said she would like to see the tax rates the same for all income levels.

"I think it should be changed," she said. "That's the fairest thing to do. It would provide an incentive for people to make more money."
Precisely. It's the "wealthy" by virtue of having the highest concentration of resources who drive our economy the most. It's not so much by their own spending and saving, but rather that to become wealthy, they were part of large businesses that are prime movers of our economy. And what was their incentive? Money.

Take away the incentive, and you wouldn't have companies like Wal-Mart, GE or Microsoft: top business leaders like Sam Walton, Jack Welch, Bill Gates and Paul Allen wouldn't have bothered with their business endeavors. It wouldn't have been worth their time, even if they made $100,000 a year for the rest of their lives.

But, closet Marxists like to think the top players in business don't do anything. It makes them more comfortable with, more accepting of their own lower pay and even lower ambition.

Shall Marxists quote the Bible to justify their belief that no one should have more than others? "Money is the root of all evil." That's one of the biggest misquotes of all time. To put the verse in context:
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. (1 Timothy 6:6-11)
St. Paul was talking about the love of money, not money itself. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with money, or living a comfortable life. Paul was warning about the wanton accumulation of money and wealth for their own sake, when they become a distraction from God.

Even so, it's not my place to call upon government to save people from themselves, especially via this absurd notion of heavy progressive taxes because "the rich can afford it."


Blogger Stephen Littau said...


You've nailed it. I think this shows the lack of economic education in this country. This lack of education is no mistake, it is by design.

Common sense tells you that it is the rich people who provide the jobs. Common sense should also tell you that businesses exist only to make a profit. If the government levies burdensome taxes on businesses (big or small), the increased costs are passed on to the consumer.

I don't know what your thoughts are on the Fair Tax plan, but in my opinion it is a much more equitable system than we have now. I plan on writing a post on the Fair Tax tomorrow on my Blog 'Fearless Philosophy for Free Minds.' I hope you'll check it out and leave a comment or 2.

Thursday, April 14, 2005 3:10:00 PM  
Blogger Perry Eidelbus said...

Hi Stephen, thank you for the comment. Like your blog, very nice.

I definitely support some sort of consumption tax instead of income taxes. It would have the bonus effect of encouraging a higher domestic savings rate.

However, I don't believe in "tax credits" or "tax rebates" for any money you might have spent on food, clothes, housing and other necessities. It's too much bureaucracy and finagling to compute an "average" that applies to everyone. In New York, I spend much more on housing than my oldest friends in Utah, and food is also a bit more expensive because of expensive properties.

I think food, clothing and housing should simply be exempted. We shouldn't be afraid of certain public policies just because they also benefit "the rich."

Ideally, I'd like a simple head tax. First of all, it promotes limited government because everybody would own an equal share of the government -- as it should be. Second, it prevents people receiving things from the government that are paid for (or paid mostly) by others.

The majority of people would no longer push for new public works, because they'd bear the same tax burden as "the rich." You wouldn't have Robert Byrds pushing to build new and unnecessary roads, because West Virginians would pay their share. They'd also pay their share of any roads built in wealthier states, like California and New York. It's amazing how quickly people would want to curb government spending once they have to pay for it themselves, instead of reaching into others' pockets.

Thursday, April 14, 2005 5:23:00 PM  

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