Why the Rich ought to pay more.


(We’ve not being posting lately! don’t worry it’s just the end of the semester and we are swamped/exhausted our regular posting seclude will be back as soon as possible)

While this will not be growing into a series on our blog I have a few more opinions and ideas about taxation and what a fair society look like that I would like to share.

People will often cry unfair when they first learn about progressive taxing, suggesting flat taxes are more fair. On the face of thing this would seem patently true. Everyone has to pay the same amount in taxes proportional to their earning so that must be the fairest option. Right? Well here I’ll be arguing against this simple but common idea and explain why raising taxes on the richest of us impact them less then it does the when we raise taxes on poorest, and how the rich tend to reap more benefits from society than those with out as much capital.

So why does raising taxes affect the rich less severely than the poor?

To help me explain why first I’ll draw upon the reasons why I think flat taxes are not in fact as fair as they seem. Lets assume we have a flat tax of 10% like we have here in Alberta. Lets also introduce you to three people. Person A, B and C. Person A makes $10’000 a year, B Makes 100’000, and C makes 1’000’000. Because of the flat tax that means they each are actually earning 9’000, 90’000 and 900’000 a year after taxes. Of these three people who is most likely going to see a quality of life change due to paying 10% of there income. The point is 10% affect the lowest incomes far more then the highest incomes. 1000 means lot when all you have in 9000 dollars to work with, but 10’000 when you still have 90’000? That jump in pay is much easier to swallow.

People do not proportionally increase spending in line with their income. Humans can only consume so much, and after meeting you basic needs, then your desires for luxury goods, you can and generally will only spend so much on other things. This along with the fact most people who have become wealthy do not actively try to impoverish themselves it’s unavoidable that the wealthy are going to have a considerable amount of free capital with which they can use for any variety of purposes including increasing their own personal wealth. Where the poorer you are the more of you income will be spent on basic needs and luxury consumption with very little left to save or invest. As well those stats provided by NPR above, which classes the rich as anyone making over $150’000 a year. I suspect you can further break the rich into further brackets and while I lack numbers I wouldn’t be surprised to find the proportions of consumption in the extremely rich continue a downward trend while saving and investments go up disproportionately when compared to other groups.

This is also a part of why sales taxes hit the middle class harder. Why because they are the largest consumers by far have a good deal of disposable income. Even if the middle class consumes a sixth that the rich do per person the middle class out number the rich by far more then that, so a sale tax is going to generally be a burden on the largest consumers base ie. the middle class.

I’m not saying that saving, or having lots of money makes people bad, that not the issue here. The issue is that flat taxes, particularly sales taxes, tax the poor and middle class hardest, and if the poor have government supplements then most or all of that burden then gets shuffled to the middle class, while the rich who consume proportionally less and put those savings to work allowing them to make even more money.

The rich are best able to avoid the rat race and to avoid expenses out pacing income, hence this is part why I think it’s perfectly fair to expect that they put more back. They can avoid over spending easier. They have more time and resources, so raising taxes on the rich isn’t likely going to affect their quality of life. Though even if it does affect quality of life it’s effects are generally going to be miniscule so long as the tax rate are completely outrageous (though even if they are outrageous it’s not like it’s going to knock the rich into poverty if the change is gradual).

That said I can understand how that will sound unfair to some, so here’s why I think the rich benefit more from society and as such ought to pay more into the systems they derive their income.

Most of the things which we take for granted in the west are largely impossible, or would lack the inter connectivity and resilience with out a government. Gas, electricity, internet, water, roads, mail… To work efficiently and to reach many people you need society working together pooling resources to make everything consistent. That stability helps further stabilize and make it easier and easier keep thing in order, people expect it and people will put up with a great deal to maintain these convinces. Why? Because one we use to them and are adverse to change, but two because these systems benefit us. Though we don’t all benefit equally. Sure we all benefit from roads and the goods, but business and industry owners personally benefit considerably more. The same with the internet, electronic banking in general. These thing benefit us all as well. The speedy and safe exchange of funds makes life much simpler and remove a great deal of stress, but the average person does not draw much further benefit from these system other then, mostly government run, retirement and saving plans. Even then there tends to be far more restrictions on these plans and if done wrong which is not a rare event can cost the person more money then if they had just put the money in the bank. The wealthy on the other hand tend to have the resources and time to properly take advantage of existing systems (and influence politics in order to change those systems). This isn’t because they are over all smarter, it’s just they are in the know and are better able to hire others to do the work for them, or take the time away from their career necessary to get these tasks done.

I’m not willing to say that the rich benefiting more is a bad thing, but I don’t think you can make a compelling argument that the rich do not benefit more by these system and institutions. Though this increase benefit along with the simple fact that the wealthy can afford to pay more without it harming the quality of their lives form most the foundation for why I think they ought to pay more. It won’t hurt ’em and they get more out of anyway, but there is one other thing which I hold to be true. This final point is that it’s in our interest to improve the lives of those around us.

Consumption, innovation, progress. These thing are not things only done, or even primarily done, by the rich. Innovation and progress are pushed by human struggle, and consumption requiers a consumer base with enough income to support a consumer economy. As such you can not have a modern economy without a healthy middle class, and innovation often comes from the middle class in the form of researchers and engineers, who typically are in turn funded by the government in one way or another either directly through grants, or indirectly though education funding. Not to mention society is a much nicer place with a highly educated citizenry. Disease is reduced, violence goes down.

Healthy educated citizens make society safer and more efficient for everyone. They increase the overall healthy and productivity of society in a way a few extremely well off upper class could never do. Such a population is better able to rise to the challenges presented by the unknown and are often more resilient to disaster. The best way of doing these things as far as my experience can attest is universal education and healthcare of some manner, and you need taxes  for that. And for the reasons presented before the wealthy are in the best position to give back more to society.

To briefly recap I think the rich ought to pay more for three primary reasons. First because increasing taxes on the rich, particularly the mega rich, affects them the least. Second because the rich benefit more from the majority of social structures like the legal system and even including the basic infrastructure that ties people together. Third because it is in everyone’s best interest to improve the lives of those around them as doing so will over all improve there lives.

By no means is this a complete look into why I think these things, but that is the basic premise.

 

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20 responses to “Why the Rich ought to pay more.

  • Wistful Writer

    Heart in the right place, brain in the wrong one. The collusion between government and industry began with bankers and ends with bankers. The government will never be free of monetary influence and its always the same people who stay in charge despite revolutions because of the currency system. It’s naive but good natured which is why it is so appealing and why we have a system of rich and poor that is so entrenched. Social programming by governments reinforces central banks and central banks create and manipulate inflation. I used to be a socialist, myself. Now I’m an a voluntarist.

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    • hessianwithteeth

      Please don’t come by and tell me my brain is in the wrong place and then over simplify a complex set of issues.

      Your convinced things can’t change for the better, and over all history says otherwise.

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      • Wistful Writer

        Where is your evidence? More people were killed in the 20th century than in all the recorded ages before it. The laws in the post 911 world are more offensive. FBI and police killings are up by 4000% according to the ACLU and you think that this beast will role back? Okay, fine, sir. Where is your evidence? Show me a few governments in history that willingly rolled back laws and reduced their own power without violence. I’ll listen to your evidence and be skeptical, not cynical.

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        • hessianwithteeth

          Well one lets not forget to account that in absolute terms there have been more people (as in recognizably human apes) in the last two centuries then there has probably ever existed. That alone should be all you need to account for the fact that in absolute terms more people are killed then ever before.

          Now I’ve heard the approximate number for any given man to die of murder (including armed conflicts) in our current world (last century and a bit) is around 2%, that number goes up to between roughly 15-50% in the hand full of tribal societies we can still study. If that isn’t progress I don’t know what is.

          “FBI and police killings are up by 4000% according to the ACLU and you think that this beast will role back?”

          Okay important statistic, but what is the context? 40x higher then when? Are these number some what over blown because before there where poorer records as police department could better hide brutality. And remember to account for growing the population. Are thing actually worse, or are the numbers higher better because there are more of us.

          British Empire allowing many of it’s colonies (Canada being key examples Australia) to become independent is an example of a government releasing it’s own power non-violently. Same with France. Territories have be bought and sold over the centuries.

          That said I never even implied this would happen easily or without some kind of conflict. If anything I was suggesting outcomes if certain policies where enacted. I wasn’t talking political strategies to actually make them happen. I also think we ought to discuss those strategies as well I just haven’t as of yet on my blog because well it not something I’m super well research on, although generally mass education is an excellent step forward if you can manage it. (particularly teaching about propaganda, advertising tricks, and the way politicians and the otherwise powerful will manipulate the less powerful to their own ends)

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  • teatimewithmissb

    Reblogged this on tea time with miss b and commented:
    I’m reblogging this because I think it is important to observe and relate the ideology of those who both believe themselves skeptics and at the same time follow antiquated socialist bullshit that cost the lives of 200 million people in the 20th century and yet despite all empirical evidence to the contrary believe this is a humane and adaptable solution. Love Hessian’s passion, though.

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  • centralityofthegospel

    Thanks for all your saying. Been reading your BLOG. I have a different take on sexuality differences than others that would be hard to explain w/o a long conversation. Let me briefly try.

    Let me start with the idea that sexuality/desires/fantasy is much broader than gender. Three true examples below. Stories I have heard first hand.

    Story 1:

    One story is of a man that is married to a woman but struggles with same sex attraction. His story begins when he was young and found a friend down the street, This friend had a younger brother that showed him a LOT of special attention. The relationship became sexual… only a few times…. before it stopped. What he remembers about the incident was it did feel wrong but he liked being liked and loved all the special attention he was being given.

    Story 2:

    Man does porn and the porn he fantasizes about is centered around women that are redheads. As a young adolescent he had a highly emotional and sexual experience with redheads. As he struggles with his Sexual Addiction he is constantly recalling that experience in his fantasies.

    Story 3:

    A man remembers his uncle giving him special attention when he was young and bored. The relationship never became sexual but now his fantasy revolves around men of the same age, height, weight, and hair color.

    Story 4:

    A man remembers a major incident of rejection with his closest friends as a young teenager.. Most of his fantasies are centered around specific sexual acts that he finds nurturing and accepting where he feels included and chosen.

    The question here is what are the origins of fantasies and desires. Many are centered around being chosen and included, heard and understood, blessed unconditionally, touched, etc. Your fantasies are really your soul trying to tell you something.

    The other thing about these stories is they have as much in common as they have differences. Therefore, one group should NEVER live in condemnation of another group!

    Thanks for laying it out there!

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    • hessianwithteeth

      While not really relevant to the post above thanks for stopping by.

      You are correct that sexuality, gender, fantasies and desires are not all the same thing. They are related, but one does equal with the other. Though I am sure your correct we could spend a great deal talking about the intersection of Sex, romance, desire, fantasy, gender, sexuality.

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  • hessianwithteeth

    Another opinion piece which I find I agree with should anyone be interested. http://kazimskorner.blogspot.ca/2006/04/why-i-am-not-libertarian.html

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  • equippedcat

    Yes, you are correct, someone with more money should pay more in taxes. The question is, should they pay a higher percentage, and that I have a problem with.

    First of all, it bothers me considerably that some people pay nothing in taxes (or even “make money” off of taxes). I don’t care if a person only makes $10 a year, they should pay SOMETHING. If they don’t pay anything, then they are getting all the benefits (perhaps even more than “their share”) and not doing anything to contribute. This kind of excludes them from being part of the “system”, making them almost “pets”. It may seem like they “can’t afford” taxes, but to give them a pass because .

    At some point, you have people making “enough”. These people should pay their “fair share”. I doubt anyone can really disagree with this. And then there are those who make “too much”, who also should pay their “fair share”, and nobody can seriously disagree with that. Where the disagreement arises is what is a person’s “fair share”.

    One option would be that everyone pays the same percentage. This the only option which is truly fair to everyone. However, “fairness” is not the only consideration. The purpose of taxes is not (or should not be) to crush the taxpayers or benefit only one class, it is (supposed to be) to fund the government and provide the services which benefit all.

    Another option is the basis of one in place, where higher income pays higher percentage on a sliding scale. This may have potential, but does have problems. First of all, it encourages a system where various groups are preferred. And enforcement encourage a massive, overpowered bureaucracy. The record keeping and reporting is onerous on the people. And it gives the government a relatively uncontrolled source of income which further encourages uncontrolled spending.

    Paying taxes should be, to the degree practical, easy, fair, difficult to cheat on, low cost and fairly static. I say that some form of a flat tax has the potential to best approach this. Say 5% of the first $25,000, 10% of the next $50,000 and 20% of everything beyond that. Not completely fair, but a reasonable compromise. A tax form the size of a 3×5 card which should take 5 minutes to fill out. Not a big, expensive bureaucracy to administer and enforce it. Difficult to increase taxes without it being highly visible to everybody, which might encourage slightly more responsible spending.

    Now, I’m sure that someone will still whine about some poor person making $10,000 losing $500 of it to taxes. Yes, that is a major hit to their income. But consider that a person trying to live on $10,000 a year has bigger problems than a $500 deduction. Perhaps we, and they, should be focused on getting them out of that situation, rather than the “easy” and non effective “fix” of giving them the pass on that $500. And I’m sure that someone will whine about the evil rich person paying “only” 20%. But someone making lots of money often “deserves” it by working harder and/or being smarter than someone making much less. Why penalize them for excelling? Kind of discourages excellence, doesn’t it?

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    • hessianwithteeth

      (I fixed your comment so it has a % instead of a $)
      Okay equippedcat your presenting position I can relate with, though allow me to explain why those thing don’t end up changing my mind. I absolutely think they should have to pay a higher percentage for the lessons that the rich tend to benefit disproportionately more and pay in disproportionately less when you consider how much they spend on living costs. I understand that doesn’t seem that fair on the face of it, but a long term perspective is necessary. As well I’m of the opinion that even if we do harm the rich a little (although only a little, since harming the rich a little financially speaking doesn’t really harm them at all) for a large benefit to the rest of society is a perfectly reasonable thing to do.

      Now I could see the benefit for someone paying something into the system, but that would only be a token. Perhaps it would be benefited, I don’t know for a fact though it would be something to look into. Though token pay in or not they are still going to need to do their taxes, and ideally they are going to be prevented from starving or otherwise living in abject poverty. I say ideally because there are many consist associate with having a large improvised community, most clearly shown in Utah where they having been saving huge money in the medical and law enforcement sectors by providing free housing for the homeless. The point generally for giving people money, for supporting the poor and ill, making sure the most unfortunately of us are taken care of is that it make society better overall and often saves a great deal of money. Not to mention is just more ethical then other options. While they may or may not contribute I’m certain people can contribute a whole lot more when they are not living in abject poverty.

      “One option would be that everyone pays the same percentage. This the only option which is truly fair to everyone.” Well I’d agree if what you said it what appears to be fair, but I do not for a second think that flat taxes are actually fair since they always affect the poor more heavily than the rich. This can be off set with other systems, but then you don’t really have a flat tax you have multilayer systems which draws money equally from different population and gives back unequally. Though that bring us to the point that equality does not make something fair. And while a flat tax is more fair then everyone having to pay the exact same amount it is far less equal. And while a progressive tax system is less equal then a flat tax I think it can be more fair in what if asks of people.

      Now your concerned that such progressive taxing will promote a system where some people will be promoted over others, which is kind of laughable. As if we wouldn’t have that anyway, the point is it privileges the poor over the rich as opposed to the other way around which is how things normally are, and in fact generally are. Now if we were living in a world where the everyone was equally privileged I’d consider that more seriously, but this if done correctly can act as a small counter balance to the natural consequences of capitalism. Those with capital will acquire more capital.

      Second your concerned with a massive over powered bureaucracy, well a voluntary tax system, flat tax or otherwise is the root of that problem. Most (if not all) of the western word has these voluntary tax systems and everywhere has people trying to avoid paying those taxes. That means we need to spend money to chase people down, and the more complex a tax system the more likely people with give too little or too much meaning you need an organization that will double check everything, and collect what’s missing and give back what isn’t owed. Though again the problem as I’m aware of it is the voluntary nature of the tax system, not the percentages you have to hand over.

      Another thing to note is that I don’ think that percentage of income is the most important thing to consider. I think it’s easy to measure so it’s the best place to tax from, but a person’s income and how it get used is dependant of many factors related to it which in turn can then be further altered by the value of currency. Though the point I’m getting to in this paragraph is I don’t base what’s fair off of percent of income because it isn’t a static value. Instead I’m concerned with cost of living, what constitutes poverty and the costs associated with having improvised citizens, and how a person’s income relates to the cost of living.

      I don’t disagree with the basic progressive tax system you laid out (the precise numbers will vary depending on the needs of different places) and I agree the simpler the tax system the better. Although you’ll still need a collection agency, but if you can reduce mistakes by tax payers, by making the system strait forward that will save costs.

      Though I don’t think raising the taxes on the rich is really going to discourage excellence. First because being wealthy in my experience has more to do with luck, prior opportunities, and social standing then skill and intelligence (and I know many very talented and skilled people who don’t make much money, one of which and his team have figured out how to make morphine in yeast). Besides it’s not like you are ever really losing money, you just make a little less on every dollar, but every dollar you make still in the end is adding to your wealth. The only way I can see this actually being stifling is if the percent lost to taxes is so high it’s effectively making the increase in income more effort than it’s worth. That does definitely exist in a Nordic country (I think Sweden) where there is a cap on how much money you can make though that cap is 13 billion a year. And really I don’t think anyone is so excellent that they are worth 13 billion a year anyway, maybe, and I must emphasize the maybe, several 10’s of millions but beyond that I just can’t buy it. And even then most people who do make huge money I don’t think they really do much to actually be deserving that kind of income, and they certainly don’t need it.

      But would a 20% tax rate, heck a 50% tax rate, really stifle the desire for the wealthy to accumulate more wealth? I sincerely doubt it.

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      • equippedcat

        Some points to consider.

        Rich people would not pay “proportionally less” under a stepped flat system or even a true flat tax, by the very definition of these systems. For them to pay proportionally less would require the current system of deductions and tax shelters and exemptions and other things probably only the rich know about.

        Furthermore, I’m not seeing how they benefit “proportionally more” from the services provided by taxation. Perhaps they use the roads more, but then they pay more in gas taxes. They probably use limited or no public transportation, public schools, welfare, food stamps, public defenders, ADC, public parks, subsidized (or free) housing and unemployment. Although they do get Social Security, the caps on that tend to make it a fairly insignificant part of their income. They would seem to benefit equally from the protection provided by the military. They probably have need to use police services rather less than the non-rich. So where is their “proportionally more” consumption of tax funded services?

        Yes, making everybody pay at least “a token” would not have any impact on the finances of the country, but it would have everybody participate in the country, Perhaps if those who don’t pay any taxes had to pay something, they would take more notice of how much of the money collected is wasted. And perhaps they might be encouraged to work towards improving both their conditions and the condition of the country.

        Speaking of the poor, there is really no practical way to ensure somebody does not starve or live in abject poverty. Unless they are kept in a controlled environment, anything which is provided to them can be misused or exchanged for non-survival purposes. I wonder if there really is significant savings from providing “free housing for the homeless” or does it just move the problem enough that with careful accounting, it just has been made to look that way. Giving money to a poor person is often not only not helpful, but in some cases actually harmful (if their poorness is resultant from an addiction, which the gift is used to continue further).

        Real help would result in improved condition; not enabling people to stay in the same condition, and without a change in mind set and/or various skills, improvement is highly unlikely.

        Percentage of income is the only realistic way to look at it. If you try to set tax rates based on “impact on lifestyle”, then you are moving the tax system away from its design goal of supporting government and public services towards a goal of controlling behavior. And that is a downhill path, which may start out harmlessly enough, but continuously heads downhill at an increasing rate. Plus, who is it who decides what the “desired” lifestyle is?

        Tax system is voluntary? Hmm, try not paying it and see how voluntary it is… As for the bureaucracy, it is highly related to the complexity of the system. If the tax form were limited to income, then most of the complexity of the tax system would be eliminated. You would not need massive amounts of record keeping (on either end), validation would be much easier, and the need to provide help (which is often incorrect) would be eliminated. The tax collection agency would collect taxes and look for non/under reporting, and that would be it. I suspect it could be less than 1/5th the size (and cost) of the current agency.

        I think you underestimate the impact of a high percentage on activities which are risky yet have potential benefits beyond the profits to the people taking the risk. There is something very disheartening about looking back and seeing that you have worked your butt off, and only got “a fraction” of what that was worth. I can only imagine how it would feel to risk loss when even success is significantly muted. Probably the “breaking point” is different for each person. But at some point, the increase in what a person gets to keep is not worth (to that person) the increase in effort or risk to get it. Having an “absolute” value (or set of values), so everybody knows exactly how much of their effort they get to benefit from should on the one hand ease the stress and on the other hand, discourage rampant increases of the rate(s).

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        • hessianwithteeth

          Looking back I have been misusing the word proportionately or being mixing up less or more when I shouldn’t have. Haven’t go though and fixed any of it yet, but yes your are correct I haven’t been misusing my words. A bit embarrassing, I see about fixing it later.

          It’s less that the rich use the roads more personally it’s that they are more likely to get indirect benefits from the businesses they own/benefit from. A business is far more likely to benefit from a road then a single person, but a rich person if far more likely to benefit from a business then is anyone else. And stock in general needs infrastructure to even exist and the business need easy methods to transfer good and services. And gain the rich benefit far more from the stock market then the average person.

          As to people not knowing how much money is going to be made from a venture because of taxation I don’t really see that as being a realistic problem. It’s odd for taxes to fluctuated wildly in any kind of democratic system. Largely because if you suddenly raise the taxes by a major amount (I.e. over 5%) in a very sort period of time say good bye to be reelected. Generally unless there is some kind of revolution (not necessarily a violent one) your not going to see a sudden change in taxes with out serious negative consequences to those who enacted the change. Outside of a democratic system well you have an easier time getting away with everything.

          Though this all said we are talking about the effects on a tiny minority of the population which makes over 150K a year, and generally when I talk about the rich I’m thinking over 250K a year, with the mega rich being those who make hundreds of millions a year.

          One your making those kinds of figures unless your Tony Stark you probably didn’t really earn much of that your just capitalizing of having a capital from previous success and/or pure luck (or a success family) and you using that early success to secure your future. I’m very much of the opinion that practically no one making hundreds of millions has really do anything to earn it. I don’t think a super star, or athlete has done anything which really entails them to make seven figures. Sure they are talented and I wouldn’t want all that money going to the team owners either, being rich doesn’t mean you’ve really eared that money or that the money you make really represnts the amonut or quality of work you do. These end up being separate issues. While we like to think we live in a meritocracy, we don’t. Heck China’s much closer to having a meritocracy then the USA or Canada.

          And to be clear I’m not anying everyone who is rich is a free loader and doesn’t deserve anything. I’m rejecting the notions of pulling yourself up by the boot straps, that the rich somehow deserve more money then they know what do do with because they are some how adding that much quality into what they are doing (particularly in the case of CEO’s of large corporations).

          Capitalism does not by it’s nature reward the capable, it rewards those with capital. Yes some times those happen to be the capable, but not always, and wealth is certainty not proportional with capability at least not with the wealthiest among us. Sure someone making 150’000 could legitimately be doing enough work to warrant that kind of money, but 600’000? A million? A billion? It quickly become harder and harder to make a justification based off merit.

          And perhaps although I make no claim to this being true, with the rich less incline to invest and reinvest after a point that leaves more opportunities for other, spreading the wealth out further, making monopolies less possible and allowing for more competition. Though I could be wrong, but the point is what so damn good about the truly rich of our society amassing more and more wealth we already know trickle down economic don’t work. What is so good about giving that much power to so few people?

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          • equippedcat

            Yes, you are right that a rich person who owns a business benefits from roads more than someone who merely commutes. And pays for it. Every vehicle the company controls results in tax collected on every gallon of fuel. Any vehicle related to the business but not controlled by them also results in tax collected on every gallon of fuel. And that business “pays” THOSE taxes as well, in increased product cost or delivery charges. More use, most cost, no?

            Oh, and that poor person who does not even have a car? Probably uses the road too, via the bus. And by transportation of those necessities which are afforded.

            It is not a matter of knowing “how much” profit will result from a venture; that usually cannot be accurately predicted. It is more that high taxes skew the risk/reward computations unfavorably. Let us say that Richy Rich wants to become richer (a fairly safe assumption). He decides to open a candy store. The figures indicate it will probably cost $500,000 to set up and on the order of $10,000 a month to run. Expected profit should be about $20,000 a month. Assuming that the profit can be deducted from the initial investment, it would take 2 years before a cent of profit could be realized. If there were no tax, then after 4 years he would have doubled his money – a pretty good investment (25% a year on average). With a tax rate of 25%, money would have doubled after 4.75 years, a return of 21%, still not bad. With a tax rate of 50%, it would take 6 years to double the money, for a return of 16%, which may be tolerable – if everything goes to plan. Since startup costs and/or expenses might be higher than expected, and/or sales less than expected, this store might go ahead if the tax rate was 25% yet the project discarded if the rate was 50%.

            So who cares if Richy doesn’t make large profits? Well, the government – $5000 a month is better than nothing. Oh, and the people who would have been employed would prefer to get an income (on which taxes are paid) and the suppliers of the store and the businesses the employees frequented and so on.

            If a person has considerably more money than they “need”, they have to figure out what to do with it. They can spend it, which helps the economy directly. They can invest it, which can help the economy indirectly, by providing capitol for business to grow. Or they can use it to start a business which can really help the economy. Or they can just let it sit there, which helps nobody. .

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          • hessianwithteeth

            Well to keep this brief I remain unconvinced that high tax rates really hurt business. Taking in to account that there is an obviously there comes a point where high tax rate is impossible to pay and make profit. Sure it will chance away some large corporations, but it’s small business that employs people those are not bound to leave. That and those large co-operations will likely leave unless they can effectively pay no taxes, it’s just how multinationals work at this point.

            Also lets not confuse business tax with personal tax, I only brought it up because the wealthy tend to benefit far more from business because they either have top positions or own them. Though business tax is a different if related issue. Lets be clear I’ve been taking income tax primarily not every tax under the sun. I’m not asking the rich to pay more for gas for there trucks. (Also I didn’t say the poor don’t benefit from roads I explicitly said we all do, and quite a bit)

            Finally I remain unconvinced that the wealthy are going to stop investing if you raise the taxes rate on there personal income. At worse they might leave taking much of there wealth, but really in the US they still going to be investing in the US they just not going to spend there living expenses there which they may not have been doing anyway as many of the mega rich life around the world rather then base out of one country or area.

            Also all I’m really suggesting is that they pay a higher tax rate because it seem to me that is perfectly acceptable to ask more from those who have more, and since it’s unlikely to actually affect them in a meaningful way, and I’m still under the impression and understanding that the rich benefit more because they have more capital which they can use to take advantage of these systems. It’s not incidious it just how a capatalist system works. Ideally those higher taxes would then be used to help the whole of scoiety and make a greater number of opportunities for all, and give those with significantly less capital a helping hand and protect from those who can take advantage (Like payday loans).

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          • equippedcat

            I’ve never been truly rich, and it seems likely you have never been truly rich, and as far as I can tell, I, at least, never will be. So we can’t really say, but just for fun, replace the “they” with “I”.

            Can you say (truthfully and without reservation) “I volunteer to pay a significantly larger percentage of my income than most everyone else because I have more than I really need and it is more than most other people have.”? How about if “volunteer” was replaced with “would be willing”?

            I can’t affirm either version of the statement, and have, in fact, made decisions based on tax consequences over profit.

            What was so obnoxious that it could be claimed I “cut off my nose to spite my face”? Three things. 1) I didn’t think it was “fair” that I would have to pay a larger percentage than some other people (no matter how practical it would be). 2) Although some of what I pay would be of benefit to the country as a whole, much of it would be “wasted”; that is, would not benefit the country as a whole, and 3) not only would some of it be wasted, but some of it would be used for purposes which I am not happy to support.

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          • hessianwithteeth

            I sincerly would be willing to give up a massive popuortion of my wealth to other so long as my basic need and desires are met, which means after about aproximately 500’000 in assets I’d be happy to refocus my wealth to others. Currently I do very little except give my time due to the fact I have effectively no income due to being a full time student who doesn’t work during my semester.

            But in regard to paying high taxes so lnog as there a excellent social programs I’m absolutely happy to give over a larger amount of my income. While there mgiht be days I would be a little hestiant over all I’m fine with it. It’s essential an investment into the future for the whole of humanity. Though if all the money is going down into a pit to never be used effectively ya I’d have issues. However, just becuase I don’t like something nessicarily makes it bad, nor if something doesn’t directly benefit me does to mean I shouldn’t still buy into it. If you really think something is terrible I guess it’s time to get political and make waves.

            Well as for 1, I think the rich get a bigger cut of the pie, so I think they ought to pay more. This may not always be the case, but I feel this is generally how it works, so if you get more you pay more. Then the other issues of it not affecting them come in to cement it for me.

            Though I fully grant that if the uccrent politicaal atmosphere is so problematic that you don’t wish to pay in well that a different can of worms. I’m considering a system with for the most part benefits it’s people far more then it harms them.

            And as for wasted tax dollars democracies are inefficient and slow, that’s what makes them safe and less likely to do great harms. It’s the cost of representing the conflicting wills of a large population. However there are othe forces which can drag thing in nasty directions. For example federally speaking the USA I don’t think can be called a democracy, but is more like a plutocracy (government by the wealthy). At the state level you have far more of a democracy, but federally not so much. So I understand a lot of my arguments wouldn’t works well for federal income tax as it exists in USA as it has other issue that are standing in the way preventing them from working effectively for the people. Same in Canada although in different ways and not to the same extents.

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          • equippedcat

            That would seem to make you a better person than I am. Or perhaps that would make me a more experienced person than you. Or maybe neither of us can say for sure, never having been in the position of having a massive excess of cash.

            You say 500,000 in assets. Does that mean that you would be willing to give away a massive amount of 50,000 in income if you had 500,000 in assets? Or did you mean to say that you would be happy to give away a massive amount of 500,000 income? The first option is likely to cause you grief, since 500,000 of assets tends to cost a fair amount to support. The second option makes a lot more sense, and I would certainly give away a lot more if I ever received 500,000 in income. And I am much happier when I choose to give than when it is “taken” from me.

            It’s not so much whether I “like” what the government is doing with “my” money, it is more does it actually accomplish the goals.

            I still don’t see how the rich get a bigger piece of the taxpayer provided pie. I can’t speak from personal experience, but as far as I can tell, they overall get a smaller piece of the pie. Because the pie is designed for those without means, and the rich can afford to buy much better pie.

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  • humanistmum

    I agree! Once you have enough money to get all the stuff you need you start buying things that you want, to improve your life. At some point you have to realise that accumulating stuff and wealth will not be enough to make you feel satisfied abd content in life. I really believe people need to engage more with those around them and think about what kind of society they want to live in that works for everybody. Not just to be a “good” person because it really does make you happier to feel part of something. Part of that means you have to pay your fair share in tax. If you have more – pay more! There is in issue of trust in how the government actually spends that money but it theory it should benefit the society you live in.

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