Tax me!

I don’t know if Astarte went to clarity camp when she was young, but she certainly can pare down a clumsy, mumbly issue into a tidy message of purpose. Here, on tax, she nails the progressive argument for taxation. There is no muddy preamble, no “I spoke to someone the other day and they said this, which shows this, therefore that”; it’s straight to the point and sharp as a nail. The essence is encapsulated in the final paragraph:

Paying taxes is making an investment into your country. Without those taxes, basic services would cease to be available. We would be open to attack, and we would lose the innovation that this country is proud of. Paying your taxes invests in the safety, innovation and security of this country. We should all pay our taxes.

I’d like to see equally elegant counterpoints to this kind of argument, preferably not along the lines of “the government is a big crook”. I’m sure they’re out there, but I don’t see em much….

One Reply to “Tax me!”

  1. OK, here’s an attempt, though I should start with a disclaimer: I mostly agree with Astarte, so this is a small amount of saying what I believe and a lot of trying to recount arguments that I’m not entirely convinced by:

    1) Taxes are a way of decreasing the amount of control people have in how the fruits of their labour are used. If all services were pay-as-you-go, then people would not have to subsidise things they don’t use. If there were no taxation, then people could choose to donate their money to causes they agree with. For instance, I could donate mine to schools in the nearby ghetto, instead of a fat chunk of it being spent on an invasion of Iraq.

    2) By taking a chunk out of the earnings of each person and out of the profits of any corporation, taxes reduce the incentives a person has to work harder, and a corporation has to expand. That reduces the overall productivity of our society, which leaves us less well off overall.

    3) Free at the point of delivery services give people no incentive to limit their usage in any way, which ends up costing a lot more overall than if people had to pay directly for their consumption.

    I think these arguments on their own are correct. I’m just not convinced by them because I think the counter-arguments are more persuasive.

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