Saturday, February 12, 2011
Usually, when people form opinions without the benefit of sound scientific knowledge, bad results happen. I make an exception for the science of economics. I will freely admit I have no idea how the economy works; this is the main difference between me and most economists. But I do have eyeballs, and time-in, and have made several observations.
Some people believe a flat tax is the most fair, because everyone pays the same percentage of their income. I disagree, because I believe it is the sacrifice that people make that needs to be evened up, not the percentage. Let's see how this works by using the arbitrary but easily-calculated tax rate of 50% as an example. A man making $20,000 a year is really going to feel a $10,000 tax. But I would imagine one lives just about the same on a billion dollars as a half a billion dollars. I don't think I could even tell the difference. I also think that those who could tell the difference should not be considered moral arbiters.
The current theory is that the rich people should not be inconvenienced by the demands of comity because they're the ones who are providing jobs for the rest of us. Those jobs should be kicking in any time now, because we lowered the taxes on the rich people several years ago. There should be so many jobs by now that they're just loitering in gangs, making nuisances of themselves.
In fact, very wealthy people and corporations have created gobs of jobs in the last few decades. Unfortunately for us, they're in China, where most of our manufacturing jobs went. People work for way less money and no benefits and no one whines about the pollution. What's not to love? A dangerously obese corporation called Walmart got the ball rolling by going Godzilla on our economy. It was a win-win for Walmart. They got everything made a lot cheaper, and destroyed entire manufacturing towns here, the factory workers and the diners and ma-and-pa stores they shopped at, until no one could afford to shop anywhere but Walmart. People who invested in Walmart did really well. Even better, because they don't have to pay as much tax on their "earnings" as the people who have to haul their carcasses out of bed to go to work do.
The next time you hear some politician railing about "job-killing taxes," haul him back to relevance by finding out where he stands on rewarding companies that send jobs overseas. It's sort of like the people who don't want gays to marry (they mean "exist") because it harms the institution of marriage. Are they working hard to criminalize divorce? No? Huh.
Rhetoric on estate taxes is equally revealing. Now it's being called the "death tax," and the claim is made that "they even tax us when we die." Well, no. You're dead. Your tax-paying days are over. The people who claim to be upset that they're taxed when they die won't even need any more money where they're going. Heat is provided by the management.
It's Junior, who just got a slab of money landing on his head, and who may or may not be a worthy contributing member of society, who is being taxed. Not on what he's earned, but on the slab that just fell on his head. If you think it's unfair for him to pay taxes on that money, you're saying it's more fair to take it out of the hide of the woman who cleans his house. Pardon me for calling this an immoral position.
I guess we could go ahead and cut taxes on everybody. But don't blame me if your poop doesn't go where you want it to.