I'm just wondering why you think any of the silly examples are
analogous to a serious example.
We've damned near reached a perceived need for universal college
education, anyway, which tends to explain why a great many college
juniors are educated about to the same level as high school seniors 50
years ago. It do seem to make business types joyous to announce that
their receptionist has an MS in Computer Science, or some such true
business need (such as the MBA).
I just wondered how far you think that responsibility goes. Your answer tells
me that, while you said government "is responsible for fulfilling the public's
mandate for desired services or functions," you don't really believe it.
And therein lies the problem. The public has somehow gotten the
notion that government-provided services are "free" because there's no
direct charge for them.
Nobody presents it as "are you willing to pay x thousand dollars a
year every year with the price rising with inflation in order to get
this service?" No, it's always "free this" and "free that".
And how do you know the public has this perception? Ask you neighbors, most
everyone knows that their tax check goes to pay for any and all public
Regrettably you as well understate annual cost increases, once the Gov. is
involved it usually exceeds inflation considerably i.e medical costs, school
tuition/costs, judicial etc....The giant Gorilla in most Government
What they don't understand is that more largesse is going to cost them
more taxes. They assume that some program somewhere that they don't
like can be cut to make room for it. But they don't agree on what
program to cut so no programs get cut and taxes go up.
Who is the ephemeral "they" that doesn't know any of this costs money?
I don't know anyone who doesn't realize that, with the exception of a
couple of mentally ill people. And yes, almost everyone realizes that
more "largesse" as you guys love to call it, will cost them more
taxes. Thus there's a never ending search for not only doing more, but
doing it more effectively and efficiently, something that bureaucracy
tends to make very, very difficult, especially when the clerks have
politicians stepping all over their toes with new, and overly complex,
regulations on a weekly basis.
Here in the Albany NY area that doesn't seem to be true. There must be at
least a hundred thousand people that must be mentally ill. Of course, most
of them don't pay much in taxes. Clerks are clerks. Whatever the directive
is, they enforce it. That is the way it should be. Politicians don't make
laws, regulations etc. Our elected officials do. Did you ever notice that
almost all of our elected officials have law degrees? That should tell us
Gov. Spitzer, a great AG.
While I'd consider that a mistake and it would lead to either runaway
pricing(taxes) and /or rationing(competition is required to keep prices in
check, albiet under the staus quo it rarely raises it head). But if the
public so chooses then it behooves the Gov. to fullfil their biding. A Gov.
that ignores the wishes of the public either rules with force or doesn't
Is there a theme here<G>? Lets assume that the public indeed (foolish or
otherwise) so desired these things and was willing to pay the tax to make it
happen, would you prefer a Gov. that ignored the will and desire of the
There are two issues here:
1) Is the "public" willing to go through the proper legislative
process to achieve its desires? In the case of the Feds, this
ought to be a Constitution Amendment. The answer is typically
a resounding "no", because the "public" rarely speaks with one
voice and would almost never be able to build the 2/3 consensus
required. i.e., The minority (relatively speaking) of the
population wants what it wants and is more than willing to
skip the niceties of doing so legally.
2) There is a problem with just who is "willing to pay the tax".
In pretty much all cases, the burden to do this falls on a
very small portion of the population. Approximately 70% of
Federal taxes are today paid by *10%* of the taxpayers.
What all such proposals thus come down to is that people
as a whole want things that most of them will never have to
pony up for. Call this what you like (wealth redistribution,
socialism, theft, etc.) it all boils down to a single
inarguable reality: The many fleece the few, call it "charity"
and thereby justify what is essentially a dishonest act.
(Ref: http://www.ntu.org/main/page.php?PageID=6 )
So, yes, the Feds at least should say "no" to such proposals.
States and municipalities have far wider latitude to do such
things since at least issue 1) above is not in play
(though 2) remains a problem).
Tim Daneliuk email@example.com
I notice that proponents of this theory [conveniently] never tell you
that those poor, poor, over-taxed 10% already OWN 70% of the wealth (or
whatever number is in vogue by whatever particular group that loves to grind
this ax) .
Bring on the Flat Tax and maybe we can put this argument to bed.
As I understand it, the flat tax is not a rate of x% applied to every
income, whether $10/year or $10 billion/year, and it should not, IMO!
What would appeal to me is the expiration of all special treatments, and
possibly the imposition of a luxury tax on some set of specified items
(thinking of gas-guzzling hummers).
Congress is way out of line with special privileges, and the IRS with their
obfuscation in legalese of good intentions. I could not possibly go and do
my own income taxes now without the experience of the past 37 years.
Do you remember 1992 and the imposition of the "luxury tax" on yachts?
Designed to punish (oops, afford the opportunity give back to the country)
the rich and well-to-do? Net effect? An entire US industry was bankrupted
and moved offshore. Same thing with added tax to luxury automobiles.
These kind of things always have unintended consequences and seldom garner
the funds that their advocates claim.
This class-envy stuff is going to kill the economy. We are already at a
point where 10% of wage earners are paying 60% of all income taxes but only
earn 42% of all income. Now, what is this about not paying their "fair
What are you defining as special privileges?
If you're going to be dumb, you better be tough
I agree about the unintended consequences. The wealthy will find a way.
That does not make it right. Trying to save some oil was not something
that in hindsight the American public wanted. Now we have $90/barrel oil
and a raidly devaluing dollar, with vastly increased inflation just
around the corner.
Huh? If someone earns $10/hr, should he pay the same percentage of
income in taxes as someone earning $100/hr? Or $1000/hr? Would that be
I thought there were a few instances of Congress and the IRS giving some
very narrowly delineated groups of people or businesses very big breaks
on their taxes.
I take as much advantage of the tax laws that I am allowed, but sometimes
feel a little guilty that I get some some income on which I pay only 15%,
while I am really in a far higher tax bracket. And I am some ways away
from the AMT (I hope).
The rest of the world also has $90/barrel oil so I don't see what that
has to do with "a raidly devaluing dollar, with vastly increased
inflation just around the corner"
Any system based in "give us money or we will confiscate your goods
and property and arrest you" is unfair. There is no such thing as a
"fair" tax system. A single rate system at least has the benefit of
Sometimes very narrowly delineated groups of people or businesses have
special concerns that need to be addressed if the system is to appear
to be "fair".
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