Friday, May 06, 2011

Taxes Too Low?

You've got to love stories like this:
Here's a dirty little secret that most Americans don't want to hear: We're under-taxed.

Well, that's certainly a point of view. Then they add this cherry to the top:
This fact is separate from the politically charged questions of whether government spends too much, the fairness of who pays how much and what we value or don't in government spending. It's simply that our tax burden is low in the long view of U.S. history, and there are many ways to measure that central truth.

Huh? That's not separate, that is the issue.

The only reason to collect taxes is to pay for the legitimate functions of government. If government gets the money it needs, then taxes aren't too low, historical trends be damned.

But government doesn't get all the money it needs, you say. I'll disagree. It gets plenty, and it wastes more of it than most really want to admit.

But anyway, this isn't a "taxation" post. This is a "note the media bias" post.


Anonymous said...

I'm going to allow myself to be amused that they seem to only be looking at federal taxes. When fiscal conservatives point out that 50% of the population doesn't pay any federal income taxes, the liberals (correctly, I think) point out that some part of the 50% *DO* pay other taxes.

Well, fair is fair. What about a trend line that includes state taxes?

In some sense, though, this misses the point. I'd be totally fine with a law that said that federal taxes had to come in at 18% of GDP, with a running average of 5 years to smooth things out. Tax rates would adjust each year automatically to get to 18%. I don't think this is quite what these folks have in mind :-)

-Mark Roulo

mazenko said...

Simply because you oppose taxes and most government programs does not mean this is media bias. Simply based on the numbers and benefits received, Americans are undertaxed - they're also underpaid.

Tax rates and revenues are at historic lows for the US, or any industrialized country with the infrastructure and institutions that Americans take for granted. From Medicare to Social Security to a comprehensive public education system to kick-ass (but unbelievably expensive) military to public health, Americans have an extensive but underfunded system.

It's true in CA, too, and you know it. They support and vote for the programs and simultaneously vote to underfund it. Americans are undertaxed for what they want and expect. Just because you don't support all the programs doesn't mean they're inappropriate. You live in a republic (one that is increasingly democratic as voters give themselves what they want), and the reality is that we need to pay for what a majority are choosing. And we are not meeting the funding expectations. That means we are undertaxed.

That's not bias. That is mathematical fact.

Darren said...

Sorry, I don't accept the "we live in a republic so whatever the majority wants, it gets" argument. I believe in individual freedom and property rights, among other things. And with those beliefs I'm in pretty good company, historically-speaking.

mazenko said...

You don't believe in the republic? You don't believe that the majority elected legislators and the majority decided referenda get to set policy and law? You don't believe in the basic foundation of the government of the USA? What exactly do you believe in?

Darren said...

I believe that the Constitution puts genuine limits on the power of the federal government, prohibiting from doing certain things even if the majority wants it done. For instance, the government shouldn't be able to appropriate my property, even if a majority votes to appropriate my property.

Again, I'm pretty sure the Founders--who set up this Republic--would agree with me. Don't you?

mazenko said...

Well, if you're talking about your money as "property," then the Founders most definitely intended for the government to be able to appropriate it. And the Founders wrote that your property can't be appropriated without due process of law.

But we're off the point of the post, really.

Voters choosing - directly and indirectly - to expand government and underfund it at the same time is the problem. And simply based on the numbers, this government is underfunded. Additionally, the economy is underregulated, and that is another primary component in the current fiscal situation. The economic meltdown (in fact, the numerous recessions since 1980) is a result of a Wild West financial system that contrary to Greenspan's convictions will shoot us all in the foot.

Darren said...

We just ain't gonna 'gree on that one, eh pardner?