April 14, 2011
Taxes suck. We pay them at every turn. Seems like everyone it taking a piece of us no matter what we do. Income tax, sales tax, property tax, and even a death tax! And when we look at it that way, sure, TAXES ARE EVIL.
But what are taxes for? Why do we tax in the first place if we have a government for the people by the people? Why not just get rid of taxes all together? Is it because of the evil greedy politicians?
Of course not. We tax because we all want a “common good”. The common good in the greater sense is that our country is protected. Our way of life is protected. It’s no accident military spending is such a large part of the federal budget. What does the “common good” include? That’s the debate and the fundamental difference between Republicans and Democrats.
The “common good” changes over time. The better things get, the more “common good” we want. It never goes the other way around. In that view, the government and taxes can only grow larger year after year until one day all income is taxed and the government takes care of everything. Democrats greatest fear is zero taxes and no “common good” and Republicans greatest fear 100% taxes and no freedom.
We need to be mindful of both extremes. BUT, can we really know if taxing income over $250k another 3% is too close the the Republicans greatest fear? Can we know if lowering taxes further will mean greater prosperity?
I have a problem with absolutes. There are no sure fire answers. We have to remember we’re starting from right now and not starting from scratch. We are not conducting scientific experiments where we can make this change or that change and expect an outcome. We lowered taxes 40 years ago and we were prosperous. That doesn’t mean it’ll work today. Sure, we can and should look back but anyone certain of the future is kidding themselves.
The highest income tax bracket took 92% at one point and we changed it. We are constantly fine tuning taxes to meet the balance between the common good and personal freedom and we will never be done. Can we come up with something better than “you can’t tax your way out of a deficit” and “tax the rich more, they can afford it!”?