Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Taxes and Why They Suck

Maybe you heard about those TEA Parties last month (Taxed Enough Already) and maybe you have an opinion on them. You may have thought the people protesting were stupid and selfish. Maybe you thought that the media coverage of them was one-sided and unfair. Or perhaps it was that relating today's situation in the U.S. to the original Boston Tea Party is a tad ridiculous. After all, wasn't the idea supposed to be no taxation without representation?

I'm of the opinion that anyone involved with the Boston Tea Party or any of the liberty loving founders of what became the United States of American would've been slitting throats a long time ago.

The problem isn't taxation without representation. It's taxation. Taxation is not a means to pay for services provided by government. It's a means to isolate the taxpayer and prevent him or her from having any say over how those taxes are spent. How much say does any individual have over any government budget? And how are they supposed to have any voice? By voting for some "representative" every two years? And that's the top level. That taxpayer has zero say in how that money is spent at the agency level. No voice in the allocation of funds for schools, police, or defense. And if he or she opts for a private education or private security or doesn't want to pay for troops in Japan, Europe or the Middle East? Too bad. He or she is still paying for it.

10 comments:

Joel Wilcox said...

Short and sweet and I agree. But, you still end up making an argument that taxes suck because the tax payer lacks real representation. Thus, maybe it is about taxation without representation. Or, maybe it's not even about taxation so much. Maybe it's about helping people to see that their representation is only an illusion.

BJV said...

Yeah, the point is that representatives can't really represent you and that paying for anything by throwing a bunch of money in a pool for others to spend is a terrible idea.

Joel Wilcox said...

Indeed.

The Grape Crusader said...

I agree that it's really flawed. Representation right now is really just representation of the money in your district. I've my own thoughts there, but I will hold onto them for now.

What I want to ask is, what do we do instead? It is my opinion that we need social solutions to some problems, and some form of government is necessary to formulate those solutions.

BJV said...

Hey Z.,

I believe that government is an obstacle to whatever social solutions you believe in. Taxes are a bigger problem, though. I could live with fees for govt services, but I'd prefer that those not be monopolized.

For instance, assuming that government exists to ensure that drivers are suitable for public roads (and that's not really my view), I don't see why they can't set standards and allow private institutions to provide training and licensing. I think that would solve a lot of DMV related issues.

The Grape Crusader said...

I used to think that privitization was just the fox guarding the henhouse. But now I'm in big pharma, and even though the FDA has less than a thousand inspectors that almost never get involved, the big pharma companies police themselves as harshly as the FDA would, because they can't afford the consequences of the FDA investigation. They've essentially taken up the slack, with their own internal team of inspectors that act independantly of the company and mimic the FDA because they know the FDA will never come and audit, but they can't afford to run the business under the assumption that the FDA won't come, because they *could* come, and if they found something wrong, there would be no money. So these private companies are policing themselves out of fear.

If privitization was conducted like that, with a small team of uber-powerful regulators that could shut the whole thing down and stop the money. Then it would work. But the fear of the outside agency that stops the money has to be there, or it'll just be smash and grab.

BJV said...

I'm pretty much in favor of privatization of everything, but that comment thread could spiral way outta control. I have pretty much lost all faith in democracy and it seems obvious to me that government isn't interested in protecting anyone's rights.

Anonymous said...

There's two ways to look at it: 1) democracy has run its course, and the word and idea needs to be erased from the world's collective vocabulary; 2) Democracy was just an idea that too many people wrongly bought into, never really really being an active part of the world, just the idea made followers happy.

Chameleon said...

I'm a strong believer in the old adage "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely."

The big problem with the representation in the US is that they are not held accountable. They can do basically whatever they want and they'll get reelected due to simple name recognition. They don't have to be beholden to those they are supposed to represent because of that.

Term limits would potentially help here, IMO. The sad thing is that those who would have to vote to create term limits are exactly those whose "feed bag" would be taken away...

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