Thursday, October 21, 2004

Don't miss this one

Kevin at Wizbang posts excerpts and a link to an article you absolutely must read about the Bush Tax Cuts, and how they're unfair . . . to the rich. A tidbit:

"I know there's a lot of hype to the contrary, but look at the numbers. If you and your spouse have a taxable income of $60,000 a year, you've had almost a 24 percent income tax cut since President Bush took office. (And ditto if your income was just $20,000.) Meanwhile, the folks who make $350,000 a year got a cut of only about 12.5 percent; those who make $1 million a year got an even smaller cut.

"Pre-Bush, the $1 million a year couple paid 33 times as much as the $60,000 couple; today they pay more than 38 times as much."

Get thee there and read, for it is good.


Anonymous said...

OK so this is my question - what would be the most fair - every one pays the same tax in dollars - or everyone pays the same as a percentage - or everyone just pays for what services they get.

Lets forget about the last one - for example one of the things we get from taxes is the interstate and everyone uses it - even if they drive a car, the goods they use get delivered on it, and some people just don't have money (children for example) so we tax people with money (in the general sense - not rich vs poor - just any income vs no income) - so children who benefit from the tax funded interstate highways couldn't pay if they wanted to - so lets forget about that option as a practical manner.

So should everyone get taxed the same percentage or the same dollar amount?

I think the same dollar ammount is absurd - to get the tax income todays society needs the minimum wage would have to increase dramatically.

So the fair thing is probably the flat percentage rate (of the three options).

But what do rich people get if they earn 100X more than poor people through hard work and pay 100X more tax (actually the working harder thing is absurd we all work a full week, yet Bill Gates who earns a million times more than us does not work 40 million hours a week - he makes money of the work of nillions of others)

What I think they get is the security of the social saftey net. In the US and the UK - much more the UK, at not much more tax rates - if you are poor you go to the government for handouts. Forgetting about the morals of this or if we should let darwinian natural selection take its course - the alternative is worse - the alternative is crime.

In Brazil, there are (aparently I don't know the stats) a lot more kidnappings such that Rich people ( read person with job) have to hire body gaurds for themselves and their families. In the US there is hope for poor people of a job - even if it is cleaning houses, and education for the next step is possible on loans. Without that hope people will turn to crime to feed their families - if it was a case of putting food on the table with no other alternatives I know I would feed my family.

So I think the solcial security net is also security in terms of personal safety for the working population of the US. One that prevents a much larger private security - note increased public police just adds to the taxes and the argument becomes circular.

In terms of the Rich getting dupped the alternative argument is that if they don't like it they should leave - and try and be rich in another country with higher taxes. Of course a lot of corporations have already done this - and picked tax havens with no taxes - when can we incorporate in Bemuda and pay zero tax yet live in the US?

Anyway Mike - do you think a flat rate is fair? - and what exceptions if any do you think should exist?

Yet again I will leave with the caveat that government debt is a tax + interest on our children, such that tax cuts in a time of significant deficit are merely a mirrage in the long term - unless the interest rates are less than inflation and decline of the dollar vs the currency of the lender has to also be factored in - way too much uncertainty for any sensible plan involving 270 million people.


Anonymous said...

And again,

Its also a funny article because slate usually has references, where as for this article the data comes from no-where. It is written by an economist who probably could have calculated the data hinself - but hasn't mentioned that in the article.

In a legal setting this would be rejected as heresay - even expert witnesses are supposed to present the facts that lead them to certain conclusions. A pity as slate is usually better than this.


Uncle Mikey said...

A flat rate is the only thing that makes sense, despite the fact that an entire huge industry would suddenly disappear. If nothing else it would remove the tendency among poiticians and pundits to confuse or purposely twist economic reality until it fits their wacky idea of what's what.

And more taxes would get paid, as people like the Kerrys wouldn't be able to pretend they aren't making the money we all know they are. I don't imagine by any stretch that people of one party typically pay what they should and those of another don't, but with a flat tax a standard of fairness would be inescapable, and people like you, who I am sure want everyone to pay their fair share, wouldn't feel the need to justify it when people on their side of the political spectrum do what you imagine the other side does as a matter of course.

I think you may misunderstand why I bring Teresa Kerry's tax return up in this context. She and her party are the most vociferous critics of tax evasion out there, and it is particularly objectionable when they say one thing and do another about taxpaying. It's not that Republicans don't do the same; it's that they don't go on about how wrong it is and then turn around and do it anyways.

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