Mike, I had this argument with someone before about taxes being used for social goals.
Here is the problem though. EVERY single tax you can think of, will effect social change. Some changes will be good, some will be bad, some will be both.
Name me one tax that you think doesn't direct society in some way, and I will tell you how it effects social change.
Very true: every tax system and every tax has a social effect. My social agenda is promoting freedom which just means trying to get rid of my role (as the taxer) on intentionally influencing the taxee do take some course of action I believe is good. When it comes to politics minding your own business is very tough since we are all interrelated in society. It's an ideal that I accept is imperfect an can not be reached.
Note that none of this addresses my opinions on laws and spending of revenue. Just my ideas on collecting revenue.
Influencing someone to make good or bad decisions unintentionally doesn't make it any better than doing it intentionally.
I'll give you some tax examples.
- Income taxes discourage work by punishing people for working more. Decreasing income taxes will encourage productivity and wealth generation.
- Capital gain taxes discourage investment and encourage spending, as well as encouraging people to work more by making other forms of income earning less attractive. They are also somewhat progressive, as they inevitably tax higher income earners who have more disposable income to put into investments.
- Sales taxes encourage savings by making spending more expensive, do not discourage work the same way income taxes do, tax the illegal economy the same as the legal, and discourages our mass consumption behaviour by making things more expensive, therefore discouraging credit spending. It is also regressive for those on fixed incomes (not including any mitigation policies).
- Property taxes discourage real-estate investment, and thereby encouraging investment in actual productive sectors of the economy, which would help prevent a housing bubble, but would also make home-ownership more difficult for lower income families.
- Estate taxes encourage people to blow all their money before they die so that the government can't get their hands on it (I like estate taxes and think they should be jacked, because inherited wealth is a massively un-meritocratic variable which is perverting the basis of the "American Dream" of upward social mobility). It also violates a persons freedom to leave their money to whomever they choose.
- Gas taxes discourage people from living long distances from where they work, and from buying expensive vehicles.
I can go on forever. All these taxes have good/bad impacts, depending on your point of view.
You can either use your tax code to direct your society in a way that is democratic and hopefully beneficial, or you can perpetuate the myth that your tax choices will have no intentional social impact and then change taxes to benefit your personal interests, like every government does. There really is no alternative, other than to remain totally ignorant of the effect of taxation and just hope for the best!
I know what you are saying and respect it. You don't like manipulating people with the tax codes, and I dont necessarily disagree with you that its shitty. I just think its inevitable. Governments manipulate people in every decision they make. It's their function. However, it is an inescapable truth that any tax change will manipulate people in myriad ways. You should come to terms with that unpleasant fact.
You are giving me a sad! But it is true.
Ok all govt spending paid for by printing money!
Here's an image blaming capitalism for inequality in America. This is a massive red herring, encouraging that false dichotomy I was talking about. It's as if the third way doesn't exist.
Mr Sherard Cowper-Coles (crazy name, crazy guy) is the former Brit Ambassador to Kabul. In his book, "Cables from Kabul", he points out that the USA spends US$125Billion per year in Afghanistan. Yes. Together with the Iraq War 2, the USA has spent US$2Trillion. Wow.
Imagine what the USA could do with that sort of money today.
Last edited by Eddie Hardon; 6/30/2012 4:54am at .
Reason: in Afghanistan
It's no longer trendy to blame the US problems on George Bush.
What is now popular is to blame Obama for not being able to deal with the massive hole Bush blew in the US budget.
Took Bush 8 years to **** up their finances to the level he did; Obama should have fixed that by now, 2/5 years into his presidency.
General comment and gripe: the complaints against Pres Bush and the economy are too broad to discuss. Critics often speak like his general presence and not his policies caused our economic problems. Hard to have a discussion based on that and also has the side effect of Pres Obama being able to continue a bad policy without any objections being reduced to partisan bickering. And I know if you are a dem it's all the repub s fault and vice versa.
Edit for big thumbs.
How do you blame Obama when Congress won't let him do anything?
The US system is perfectly designed to create gridlock and stalemate.
Deadlock is a feature of us government and not a flaw and should not be an issue with states running most things. However federal responsibility has grown immensely. Neither bush nor Obama had friendly congress throughout. However, presidents should be responsible for executive decisions and policy they successfully championed.
Another issue: senate is voted by popular vote so states no longer have any control of federal government unless an amendment is made or they sue the Feds.