Taxes, are they morally wrong?


So there is a base rate, bellow that rate people dont pay income tax. Over that, people pay based on a scale.

From what i see being discussed andrew is saying it should be a fixed rate after the decided on level of personal income. I can sort of see the logic behind it as far as being fair. Bill gates pays 20% as do i for example. On personal income tax.

Corporate tax is different. And margins are small. Most companies in taiwan pay between 1 and 2 % on total income (cannot deduct costs). Or the audit system which is moving to 20% on profit. Its not a fixed rate for the first system but its more or less the same and its somehpw based on business item and arrangement. But the percentage gap is so small its not worth rocking the boat.

It seems perhaps Andrew is mentioning it should be like this for personal income tax as well, same across the board, and not taxing success higher.

In theory it seems a valid argument. In practice its mpre complicated. But i can see the logic in equality if people are taxed equal percentages after a base amount (which in taiwans case shoul. be more than roighly 1000usd). Theory being why punish hard work. Then enter reality and wealth isnt always earned its just given such az if a person has a billion in a savings account that makes 0.5% interest…living wage easily with doing nothing afterwards. But they worked for the money. Fair argument bot to punish them. Inheritance the person recieving didnt earn it, should they be taxed? But why cant a perspn give away what they want? In canada we can give our family gifts tax free if i remember correctly. Such as real estate. Frankly im on board with not taxing that. I work my ass off, pay income tax, property tax, sales tax etc. Sometimes my income gets taxed 3 times at the time of leaving my possession. If they want to tax my property when i die and give my kids its a bit much to make excuses for. It seems a bit mafia style.

What then of taxation without representation. Such as foreigners or people not yet voting age? These lines arent so easily defined.


There you go again. Try this:

The job of firefighters is to ration water* on behalf of the state (not to protect public and private property, rescue cats from trees, remove snakes & bees, and save lives).

*(or nowadays, chemicals that seep into the groundwater and make it undrinkable)

Violence is theoretically the last resort. We all know it’s often the first resort, but that’s (slowly) becoming less popular in many countries due to improvements in training.

As such:

One man’s direct route is another’s garden path. :wilted_flower:

Maybe he would. (Does anyone have a citation handy?)

You might think British conservatives would also like progressive tax, since they invented it.

I hereby nominate you for the 2019 Forumosa Literal Fruit Prize! :pineapple: :kiwi_fruit: :strawberry: :green_apple: :grapes: :banana:

Are you telling us you’re not as smart as Warren B, Donald T, or even the average American taxpayer?

What is the moral justification for democracy? How is it fair to deprive kings and queens of their property and other rights and seize the fruits of their labor?

Less facetiously, is it fair to give one vote to every person? That means household A has 1 vote while household B has 5 votes, just because of different birth rates, widowhood/divorce, etc. Also, people with IQ++ get fewer votes than the average masses. You can manipulate the system in so many ways…

In short, there are reasonable arguments to be made for the unfairness of democracy.

Are any of those arguments enough to justify switching to “one of the other systems”? :ponder:

Also not so facetiously, is the birth lottery fair?

If not, is that a good enough reason to replace it with, say, a non-viviparous system? Or to go full Borg?

Oh, I see you also have an answer for that:

I.e. no, it’s not fair. Just when you need your money the most (when you’re dead), the state comes and snatches a percentage of it! Your children might actually need to work! Oh, the horror! :scream:

In the words of someone you claim to be less smart than:

Of course you can, but a flat tax would (most likely) lead to an increase in the wealth gap, and the larger the wealth gap, the more of a struggle it is to maintain social order.

For a microcosmic example, studies show single-class flights are easier to manage than multi-class flights. Every class resents the other(s) and projects that resentment onto the staff, causing more disruptions than would otherwise occur. (And keep in mind, that’s with the proles sitting at the back of the bus plane instead of having their cheap seats scattered around.)

If productivity is measured solely in monetary terms, casinos are wildly productive. In fact, they’re one of the most productive productivity devices ever produced. Any jurisdiction that bans them because of nanny state socialist ideology or horror stories about people who screw up their lives and their families’ lives because they aren’t smart enough to win is really just shooting itself in the foot. :foot: :gun:


In a free market, wouldn’t there just be another version of the Olympics that’s better if the 2020 olympics were picked this way and it wasn’t good? :thinking: It’s a bit shocking Warren Buffet uses this analogy because this is a poor way to allocate your resources, and you’ll lose to someone who is better at it in a free market. Go ahead a pick the olympic teams this way, the market will sort itself out.

Who does the your wealth belong to? You or the state? You’re only argument here is basically those spoiled kids should also work like everyone else, which is weak. Maybe I trust my children to distribute the money better in investments that help develop industry and also charity. But more importantly, it’s none of anyone business what I want. If it’s my wish that my children don’t work a day in their life by passing my estate to them, that’s my right and no one else’s business. I earned that wealth and I own it. I get to say what I want to do with it, notice they have to wait till i’m dead to find the loophole taxing the person inheriting it instead of me.


Is this serious? In a monarchy the monarch and the ruling class seize wealth.


Fairness is just a word. There’s no such thing as a fair share. There’s what you can grab and keep. The rest is just hot air.

There may, however, be such a thing as a balance of power - if you’re willing to fight for it.

No one ever takes your money from you for your own good. It doesn’t happen.


Whut? I can’t see what this has to do with either my original assertion (which was about the role of the state) or with firefighters, who don’t have anything to do with rationing water.

And we delegate the State to exercise that last resort. We expect it not to use it for nefarious or self-serving ends, but obviously that rarely works out as intended.

Aiyo. Go and read the history if you don’t know it. TL;DR: Many tenants were evicted, and were thrown into a scenario in which life was becoming precarious (via other mechanisms) for those at the bottom of the heap. They therefore died. When you pull out the right matchstick, other matchsticks fall.

How about addressing some more important points - such as the fact that some states seem to provide high-quality services with far less larceny than others - instead of just nitpicking?

Those causing disruptions in social order are generally those who don’t pay tax at all: either because they’re unemployed, or because they’re criminals.

As for flat taxes specifically: their main advantage is that they’re understandable and don’t create a large administrative burden. One large objection to the concept of taxation is the onerous burden of actually complying with (or finding workarounds for) reams of nonsensical rules. A lot of GDP is wasted on tax accountants.

There are several possible explanations for the observation other than “resentment”. I haven’t seen the study so it’s hard to comment, but one obvious point is that single-class flights are invariably short hops; people don’t have time to get drunk and fractious.


This should tell you something about the effect of poverty on humans, and is in fact a good argument for high ‘earners’ to pay more tax toward social support networks.


It’s not who pays the taxes. It’s who collects them.


Yes, as I said in my original post on this topic, it is not the concept of taxation itself that is morally wrong. It is in its implementation and in the lack of agency that contributors have in deciding what projects to support that the moral question comes into play.


I might agree with you on that vague “social support networks” thing, but you can’t buy social support networks.

However, as I’ve said before (and I expect a fred-smith-like ‘hahahahahahaha’ from yyy on this issue), poverty is not caused by lack of money. Having no money is simply the inevitable outcome of a certain set of behaviours and thought patterns. Do you honestly think giving a house-breaker a regular (unearned) income will stop him housebreaking?


Exactly. Democracy is a (relatively) free market of ideas, including ideas for tax policy. If most voters want to replace progressive tax with flat tax and to abolish estate tax, political support will naturally follow.

Wake me when it happens, okay? :sleeping:

I’m trying to explain the concept.

From your point of view, you have what you have, and no-one has any right to interfere with that, or else it’s unfair. I get it. It’s perfectly logical.

From the majority point of view, other people are hungry whereas you have more than your fair share, and you didn’t earn most of it, and you had a massive advantage when setting out to earn whatever part you did earn, and you’re not using it to make the world a better place when the the world is in trouble both socioeconomically and environmentally (even you agreed about that part last time I checked), so not interfering would be unfair and also irresponsible. Does that make sense, for argument’s sake?

That’s not a fair characterization of my personal history, you might say. But your personal history doesn’t matter in terms of public perception (unless you’re individually famous), because public perception of the increasing wealth gap is that it’s making everything worse (except for the luxury industry which of course benefits). For all the money it would take to change that perception through PR, you might as well just spend the money on social programs. :2cents:

That’s the thing – democracy has decided that it is other people’s business. If the business of democracy is unfair (and I’m not saying it’s not), what’s your proposal for a better system? Since you’re anti-monarchy…


Okay, let’s slow down here.

You’re the king. Your parents gave you the kingdom. You own it. It’s your lawful property. Who has the right to take it away from you? :crown:

My comment was about whether or not you were claiming the famine was a direct result of tax policy. You seemed to contradict yourself, but now you’ve clarified that you do consider it a direct result. Fine, others can argue about whether or not that has merit.

You’re the one who chose to define the job of state employed safety personnel in terms of physical action instead of purpose.

When you say the job of police is to exercise violence on behalf of the state instead of to maintain law and order, what are you trying to accomplish, and what are you actually accomplishing?

The answer is…

The state is criminal, the state is illegitimate, down with the state bla bla bla… What else it is supposed to mean?

(I’m with you on Taiwan offering “good value for money” btw.)



Well no, that’s not the theory. That’s the practice. Taxation has evolved. Taxation as we know it today didn’t emerge fully formed (except maybe in some countries that tried to copy what others had done).

A flat tax sounds simple in theory: all income is taxed at X%, no exceptions.

Now imagine it in practice: wealth that comes into your control is not necessarily “income”. In other words, there are exceptions. Tax lawyers and accountants will not go out of business if they learn the new rules and the new workarounds.

It was in the news a few years ago. The way it was explained, in economy the thinking goes, you’re treating me like :poop: because I’m here in the back, while in first/business the thinking is, you’re treating me like one of those proles in the back. Lose-lose. :frowning_face: :frowning_face:

Wow, how many ha’s is that? Let’s see:

:laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :laughing:

Whew, I’m out of breath now!

The first sentence there is typical Finsky, poverty = criminality. The second sentence is bizarre. Is it supposed to mean I’ve suddenly stopped being, as the Don would say, the law-and-order candidate?

Whatever. I still have some weekend left, Finsky. I’ll try to enjoy it. :flying_saucer:


What does this mean? Public education, healthcare, affordable housing, public utilities, transportation infrastructure, nutrition assistance, parks, libraries, public defenders, etc etc… none of these require money?


Aside from the projects… it’s the middlemen that need watching. The goofy projects are just their scams.


I was under the impression you were referring to “social programmes” to “help the poor escape poverty”.

But yeah, those things cost money. Not a lot of money, as Taiwan, HK and Singapore have demonstrated. As I said originally, I don’t believe governments should be unfunded. I’m just arguing against the standard paradigm (ie., maximizing tax revenue while inventing stupid schemes to waste it on).

It’s debatable which of the systems you mention are better implemented as State-only projects, which as private ones, and which as a collaboration. I don’t believe there’s any single right answer to that, but there are certainly lots of wrong ones.

A related question is: what happens when these projects become institutions in their own right, rather than solutions to a problem? My favourite example is healthcare: the UK currently gives out the most disastrous dietary advice (and arranges agricultural policy around it) with the consequence that most British people are fat and ill. The State then subsidizes “treatment”, which involves giving them even worse advice and a bucketload of expensive pills. When their organs fail, the State subsidizes their transplants, implants, or dialysis. This silly game costs the NHS 25% of its not-inconsiderable budget, and generates untold misery for millions.

Another example is the road network. Roads and cars are wealth-sucking boondoggles that don’t actually do what they purport to do. But people like roads, and they like cars, so the government keeps building roads and encouraging people to buy cars … while simultaneously wringing their hands about carbon emissions.


Tax is confirmation that you are alive.

It’s interesting how many taxes started as a response to various states’ desires to wage war.


What about estate taxes?


Confirmation that you’re (1) alive and (2) someone’s heir.


Monarch’s seize money from people to keep it going. Yes, most of them do end up doing their own private ventures to generate more wealth. This is very different than a individual who creates wealth by creating value and trading it for value. A individual in a free market do not seize other people’s money.

That’s why we have a constitutional republic and not a pure democracy. Many would argue allowing the 16th amendment was a wrong move.


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