Taxes, are they morally wrong?


#21

Is another man’s banana?
The two wars were Mexican War and Spanish-American War.


#22

Just fyi (not to make an argument for against), apparently this is the breakdown:

WWF is a foundation with 55% of funding from individuals and bequests, 19% from government sources (such as the World Bank, DFID, USAID) and 8% from corporations in 2014.[7][8]

It’s this insistence on framing it as an act of tyranny that gives rise to the “morally wrong” question. You can be asked for half of your income, but graded tax brackets mean that is only possible in about ~5% of all countries, and you need to be far above average before it gets to that, and even then, if you’re far above average, you probably take advantage of deductions and loopholes aplenty, with the result that you pay a smaller percentage of your income as tax than “the little people”. (Cue Andrew screaming about 90% 60% tax rates again… :hear_no_evil:)

Of course you can be thrown in jail for breaking the law. What else is the state going to do? Why bother having laws? Why bother having a state?

Perhaps you would prefer Switzerland’s method of treating tax evasion as a civil matter instead of a criminal matter. Ultimately it’s the same problem though: the state has the option of using physical means to enforce the law. If you continue to refuse to pay even after a court decision, the state will eventually perform compulsory execution. If that just means seizing your bank account, fine, but then you’ve failed in your goal to evade taxation. So you pre-emptively take your money out of the bank and stuff it under your mattress, or what have you. One way or another, the law will be enforced, and that money will be seized. If you physically obstruct the seizure, you will probably get you thrown in jail for that. Again, what would you have the state do?

Wait, no. I take that back. The last thing I should spend my weekend doing is asking the Honorable Member from Finleytopia to share his vision of a perfect world. I don’t want to OD on rainbows! :dizzy_face:

Edit:

If you want to argue that it’s tyranny when the state doesn’t even give you an option to remove yourself from the system, I think that’s intellectually plausible (as a type of argument).

For example, state A lets you opt out of income tax by moving abroad, state B lets you opt out by renouncing your citizenship (but makes doing so expensive and complicated), and state C will never let you go.

A describes most countries.
B describes the US.
C…? I’m not sure whether Eritrea allows renunciation.

Anyway, most humans theoretically have the option to change their citizenship as adults, if they jump through enough hoops. So you’re not necessarily stuck with the tax system you were born with. (There’s also this thing called democracy, but that’s another story…)


#23

Is it better or worse than import duties?

I’d say it depends on the details.


#24

Oh, I’m sorry. I thought one of them was that invasion by the northern barbarians who burned down the White House. If only there had been a wall to stop them! :runaway:


#25

What you talking about now? Don’t throw some underhand shade like a school girl.


#26

Sorry, you said 60%, not 90%. Still not plausible at the end of the day.

I believe it was @shiadoa who brought up 90% taxation in a different thread, a year or two ago.

Edit: Here it is.

My response comes two posts later.


#27

Ouch, that really cuts deep, man. :strawberry:


#30

Many of the far above average who are in the top earning tax bracket do not get to enjoy these loopholes, how the rich earn their wealth is greatly diversified. If I make 600k plus in the US as my income from working for a corporation, I pay the top tax rate. No getting around that income tax.


#31

Are there many in the us who make 600k and that is their only income ?

I would have expected people work their way up to that income and along the way they save up and invest, so your average tax rate would end up being lower than the top income tax rate

And besides, would be a bit odd if someone on that income didn’t, for example, deduct their mortgage

Or, am I mistaken?


#32

Sure, everyone is different. Many of the middle class can also pay less using things like deduct IRA contributions, deduct mortgage interest, pay lower rates on capital gains if they also invested, carry back capital losses, child care deduction, and lots of other deductions.


#33

Why don’t you plan these things to bring your own tax rate down ?


#34

Yes, I get that. However rates (tax) was payable on all land. It’s just that in the case of small plots of land with an annual rent less than 4 pounds, the tax was passed on to the landlords. It wasn’t paid directly by the tenant. Presumably the fact that the tenants couldn’t pay was the government’s rationale for getting it from the landlords. Like governments everywhere, they failed to realise that siphoning off money from an economy that’s already bone dry is likely to have disastrous effects. It doesn’t matter who you siphon it from.

Of course that wasn’t the main factor in the famine. It was just one issue among several.


#35

You should if you’re smart. I’m just saying, if this is about people paying their fair share, it’s not like the rich are the only ones not paying “their fair share” or can always find “loopholes”

If it was about paying the fair share we wouldn’t use a progressive income tax either. What is the moral justification if someone is doing something productive pays a higher percentage of their fruit of their labor while someone who isn’t as productive can not pay any income tax? It’s more about who can we take the most money from if you look at it.


#36

The economy wasnt bone dry though, it was yielding a large surplus that was being shipped out.

It was similar during the famines in India: the hardest hit places were the places that had access to railroads: which were used to transport out all the produce leaving the locals to starve to death by the million.

Saying that taxes caused the British famines is similar logic to saying that taxes caused the Atlantic slave trade.


#37

Step four is meiyou lucky, so its either straight to five, or I guess I could have called it 3B :grin:


#38

Yes, and this might be the biggest problem with Federal income taxes in the US. More than 45% of all US households pay zero Federal income tax. Tax-and-spends like AOC would find far, far more tax revenue to fund their folly if they expand the tax base rather than soak the rich. Making sure all American households pay at least a nominal amount in income tax would also help unite the nation, even if it’s in the misery of paying taxes.

But I don’t think AOC and her ilk are really serious about their green dreams, not really. Call me a cynic, but I think they’re more interested in winning elections than in making improvements.


#39

It was a metaphor for some unnamed worthy cause (eg., education for the uneducable). I didn’t even realise that governments actually did donate to the WWF. Fascinating, captain.

Try refusing to pay your taxes and see what happens.

I made the point above that it doesn’t matter precisely who you tax. If you take 50% of GDP, then you take 50% of GDP. The fact that you take it at this and that judicious point (ie., from the people who are least likely to pick up torches and pitchforks and storm the palace) doesn’t make much difference to the end result. I gave a concrete example where “soak the rich” led directly to the deaths of The Oppressed Masses.

Fair point. However, I’m sure you realise there can be both bad laws and good laws. Laws that allow a government to spend half of the country’s income are bad laws. There are no conceivable circumstances (except possibly world war) where half of the average citizen’s waking lives should be dedicated to government projects.

State violence can be used for good ends or bad ends. I think we can all agree that a country needs a police force, and the job of the police is to exercise violence on behalf of the state. This is done because the world is not a nice place, and there are always some people who make it their mission in life to make it less nice for everyone else. The problem comes when said people are inside the police force rather than outside it.

Nobody objects to paying taxes when they can see the money being used wisely; they can even accept a small amount of wastage as human error. I pay my taxes in Taiwan and say “thank you” to the nice helpful lady at the desk because I know (broadly speaking) Taiwan gives me very good value for money. Apparently, Taiwan takes 13% of GDP, similar to HK and Singapore. Compare that with France, at about 52%, and (interestingly enough) Congo and the Philippines, which also take 13-14%.

In the UK at least, VAT evasion can earn you a jail term longer than for manslaughter. Simply paying back the money doesn’t get you off the hook.

You can do this in most countries by just not working. If you have no income you pay no taxes. That’s where the whole system turns to shit, IMO.


#40

That section of it couldn’t bear more taxes.

Most countries have dual-level economies. There are the people inside the system, and the people outside it. This is especially noticeable in the third world. Taxation has radically different effects on those two sub-populations; badly constructed tax law, in fact, is what maintains the barrier between ‘them’ and ‘us’.

I didn’t say it caused the famine as such. I said it directly caused a wave of evictions, which became part of the whole train wreck.


#41

Progressive income tax feels unamerican to me and sounds like something Marx would like. How can we logically penalize people more who are creating vast wealth in a capitalist system where it really means they create value? Why would we tax the top earners at Boeing more when they produce planes we get to use and create thousands of jobs and allow industry to connect? Why would we tax Steve jobs more or Bill gates more when we are literally typing using their fruit of their labor?


#42

imo the only fair tax is a flat tax. Applied to every American, on every $ of income. No exemptions, no exceptions. That way we’re all in it together, sink or pull your weight and swim.