No, taxes shouldn’t be a “fairness” issue

posted at 7:00 pm on January 29, 2012 by J.E. Dyer

What are we, six years old?  Taxes should pay for the costs of government.  That’s what we have taxes for.

The proper purpose of taxes is not to establish a condition of “fairness.”  It’s to pay for government:  a legislature, executive, military, police, firefighting, courts, schools.  But for 100 years now, the percentage-based income tax has been shifting public dialogue on taxes steadily away from their proper purpose, and toward increasingly juvenile arguments over “fairness,” as if the tax code is like Mom, telling Makayla to share the toys and be patient because Brendan is little.

If we let taxation be about “fairness,” rather than paying for the cost of government, the two big problems we have are defining “fairness,” and defining the role of government in promoting it.  Those questions will never be settled to the satisfaction of all.

It might seem that the first question – “what is fair?” – is the more contentious one.  We discuss it incessantly, after all.  But the more fundamental question is actually what government should be doing about fairness.  The freighted nature of our discussions about fairness is largely relieved if we assign a limited, utilitarian role to government.  It doesn’t much matter what other people think is “fair,” in a lengthy list of situations, if they can’t harness the power of the armed state to enforce it on their fellow men.

Thus, I reject the whole idea that government needs to keep an eye on the citizens’ incomes, and worry about “fairness” as if the numbers are a meaningful indicator of it.  For much of American history, no government at any level actually knew how much income individual citizens had.  That was not a problem.  It didn’t need correction.  We could do away with virtually our entire tax code, if we did away with the modern idea that government needs to know what our incomes are.

We would also do away with the various ugly arguments that pit citizen against citizen in a do-loop of unrequitable resentments.  No, childless people shouldn’t have to pay proportionally more in taxes than people with children do.  No, married people with two incomes should not have to pay a “marriage penalty” in their tax bill.  Neither demographic is battening on the other with its life choices.  But however we feel about that issue, we could avoid the argument altogether, if the tax code didn’t creep around after us inquiring into our incomes and household arrangements.

Obviously, we should all obey the law as it exists today; the point here is that we once handled these issues in a way less susceptible to demagoguery, government interventionism, and social conflict – and we could do so again.  The way to discuss the tax code is not in terms of “fairness,” as if the government should be charged with using taxation to establish conditions according to a “fairness” index, but in terms of what needs paying for and how we’re going to collect revenue for that purpose.

In our pre-16th Amendment days, the federal government collected taxes on imports, liquor, and cigarettes.  It also collected, and continues to collect, fees for various kinds of concessions, such as mining, drilling for oil and gas, cutting timber, fishing, and so forth.  State and local governments collected taxes primarily on real property.  With the automation of market transactions, sales taxes have become a widespread method of collecting revenue for state and local governments.

These methods of tax collection can be pursued without knowing what anyone’s income is or what his household arrangements are.  The first question about government knowing these things is why it needs to at all.  Taxes can be collected in different ways; it is not as though government can only tax us effectively if it knows all our financial, family, and household business.  Many things that are crimes today are crimes only because government now insists on having this information about us.

I consider it a very low-payoff proposition for conservatives to continue to debate tax “fairness” as if we are in a closed-loop system with our tax code, and no alternative is imaginable.  The mechanism of automated payroll withholding has made percentage-based income taxation convenient, but not more so than automated sales taxes, or property taxes escrowed with mortgage payments.  There are alternatives.

The real question is whether our citizenry has the maturity and largeness of mind to accept the idea of government that is not chartered to be our Mom, knowing all our business and ordering us to share the toys.  Such a government would have, for starters, a lot less to do.  It would cost us less, and be less exploitable by demagogues and special interests.  That would be OK with me – I can go the rest of my life without knowing what Bill Gates’ income is, or Warren Buffett’s, or Warren Buffett’s secretary’s.

J.E. Dyer’s articles have appeared at The Green Room, Commentary’s “contentions,Patheos, The Weekly Standard online, and her own blog, The Optimistic Conservative.

This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.
To see the comments on the original post, look here.


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Where does that leave the FairTax?

thedevilinside on January 29, 2012 at 7:02 PM

Barry paid less tax than Buffet’s secretary.

galtani on January 29, 2012 at 7:04 PM

Buffett looks like he’s enjoying it.

Key West Reader on January 29, 2012 at 7:08 PM

JugEars knows nothing of our tax codes!

KOOLAID2 on January 29, 2012 at 7:09 PM

When confronted with the inconvenient fact that higher capital gains taxes decreased revenue, our President remarked that he didn’t care because higher taxes were “fair.”

That, my friends, is what’s wrong with taxes being “fair.”

BigAlSouth on January 29, 2012 at 7:10 PM

Puleeze.

The bottom line is this (Sorry, Warren).

I don’t work for the Government.
The Government works for Me.

And geeze, that look on Warren’s face is absolutely priceless. And Obama’s collaring him. Ick.

Key West Reader on January 29, 2012 at 7:11 PM

All this ‘fairness’ rhetoric is a big lie. We know Obama wants all of us to kick in more, and not just the rich. A as a matter of politics, though, he would prefer to do it to the middle class and poor indirectly through a carbon or value added tax.

Progressives have always believed that they know what to do with our money better than we do and that hasn’t changed.

Corporal Tunnel on January 29, 2012 at 7:11 PM

Doesn’t it sound Fair that those who work harder make more than those who don’t?

Fairness shouldn’t be defined as those who vote for the Socialists in the National Democratic Party make more off of those who don’t.

Chip on January 29, 2012 at 7:12 PM

An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class. That class had insisted that Obama’s socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

The professor then said, “OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama’s plan”. All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an A…. (substituting grades for dollars – something closer to home and more readily understood by all).

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little..

The second test average was a D! No one was happy. When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F. As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else. To their great surprise, ALL FAILED and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed. It could not be any simpler than that.

Remember, there IS a test coming up. The 2012 elections.

These are possibly the 5 best sentences you’ll ever read and all applicable to this experiment:

1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.

2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.

3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.

4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!

5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.

From a young conservative friend.

Wethal on January 29, 2012 at 7:12 PM

So who gets to decide what is fair? Perhaps everyne should pay say 10% of their income, that sounds fair to me. Making some people pay more than others isn’t “fair” at all.

Ellis on January 29, 2012 at 7:12 PM

The real question is whether our citizenry has the maturity and largeness of mind to accept the idea of government that is not chartered to be our Mom

That question was answered in 2006 and 2008.

Bishop on January 29, 2012 at 7:14 PM

It is not the role of government to define fairness. Especially with regards to taking by force from its citizens that which is rightfully theirs.

they lie on January 29, 2012 at 7:14 PM

‘Fairness’ in the eyes of Liberal means having equality of achievement without having the equality of hard work, effort and risk. Good fortune is only handed to those that win the lottery, the rest of us have to work for it.

Corporal Tunnel on January 29, 2012 at 7:14 PM

Second look at Gary Johnson? Hehehe

HopeHeFails on January 29, 2012 at 7:17 PM

Perhaps everyne should pay say 10% of their income, that sounds fair to me. Making some people pay more than others isn’t “fair” at all.

Ellis on January 29, 2012 at 7:12 PM

Newsletter? I’ll subscribe.

predator on January 29, 2012 at 7:18 PM

Really, how naive can you be?

The proper function of taxes is to pay for government (and its various activities) but we are now living in an era where taxes do not come even close to covering cover the cost of government.

The spending side is so out-of-control that tax policy, and balancing types of taxes, is just a quaint afterthought. This will not be corrected until the Congress abolishes the Federal Resrve System.

The Fed is the villain who enables virtually unlimited spending–although Speaker John Boehner’s cowardly refusal to enforce the debt ceiling makes him Public Enemy #2.

In other words, talking about tax policy is so . . . 1990s. Abolish the Fed, and then we’ll talk about the nuances of tax policy.

Emperor Norton on January 29, 2012 at 7:18 PM

Let’s put the fairness on the back burner, behind the logical and the reasonable.

Logic and reason are much more finite and definable notions than fairness.

hillbillyjim on January 29, 2012 at 7:19 PM

People see the flat tax as fair. And even if they don’t, they have a hard time crying about unfairness without looking like a bunch of class envy commies. The current conundrum system with all its moving parts is susceptible to all kinds of little unbalanced dilemmas where you can look around and inflame the people over unfairness, even when those “unfair” people would be paying less with a flat tax.

The flat tax is still probably unfair. Why should Warren Buffett have to pay a nickel more than any other American? I think he should pay the same amount of taxes as the guy who mows his lawn. Not percent, the same amount of dollars. Nor should he get any more favors than the janitor.

Buddahpundit on January 29, 2012 at 7:19 PM

We have a “progressive” tax code. Installed by the “progressive” president Woodrow Wilson.

Conservatives are the opposite of progressives. Actually, conservatism is at war with progressivism. Thus, they are enemies. Ergo, our tax code is a tool of the enemy.

Any more questions?

platypus on January 29, 2012 at 7:19 PM

So who gets to decide what is fair?

Ellis on January 29, 2012 at 7:12 PM

Our ‘betters’ get to decide that and don’t you question them, for they are purely judicious and benevolent.

Corporal Tunnel on January 29, 2012 at 7:20 PM

Oh, while we’re at it, let’s throw “sensible” into the mix.

hillbillyjim on January 29, 2012 at 7:20 PM

Good post, J. E. Dyer~

bridgetown on January 29, 2012 at 7:20 PM

But no RINO outfit like The Weekly Standard would endorse abolishing the Fed, because the Fed inflates the money supply just enough the keep the value of the houses owned by the staff of The Weekly Standard relatively flat. The Fed also supports the stock market, and of course The Weekly Standard’s staff loves their stocks, too.

Emperor Norton on January 29, 2012 at 7:23 PM

Logic and reason are much more finite and definable notions than fairness.

hillbillyjim on January 29, 2012 at 7:19 PM

And some Liberal who thought he knew everything told me hillbillies were stupid. Boy was he wrong.

Corporal Tunnel on January 29, 2012 at 7:23 PM

The real question is whether our citizenry has the maturity and largeness of mind to accept the idea of government that is not chartered to be our Mom, knowing all our business and ordering us to share the toys.

Obviously the people are nowhere near this. As I said on the other thread…Rs need to do some deep thinking on how to educate people on whats wrong with socialism.

I don’t think the R party is up to that right now. (Gigot said as much on fox news sunday). So we need to look toward 16…this election is probably not salvageable. Rs need a long view…that is what the left has always excelled at.

Rs thought that Reagan won the argument and that the Communists were defeated, and now they could just be popular guys that ban light bulbs and stuff. Silly people…sad really

r keller on January 29, 2012 at 7:23 PM

But no RINO outfit like The Weekly Standard would endorse abolishing the Fed…

Emperor Norton on January 29, 2012 at 7:23 PM

Do you define what is a ‘RINO’ and what is not on that one issue?

Corporal Tunnel on January 29, 2012 at 7:25 PM

They work for us.

Key West Reader on January 29, 2012 at 7:26 PM

The government needs to be shrunk, salaries for federal employees cut, and bennies trimmed, to reflect the national bankruptcy in action.

That will eliminate the need to raise taxes.

Cut the budget until it meets the revenue.

profitsbeard on January 29, 2012 at 7:26 PM

So who gets to decide what is fair?

Ellis on January 29, 2012 at 7:12 PM

Like when Supreme Court Justice Stewart said about pornography, “I know it when I see it”, Little Bammie will tell us what’s fair when we get there. We just have to trust him.

slickwillie2001 on January 29, 2012 at 7:27 PM

They work for us.

Key West Reader on January 29, 2012 at 7:26 PM

They don’t seem to realize that anymore.

Torches and pitchforks would make a nice reminder, no?

predator on January 29, 2012 at 7:27 PM

Do you define what is a ‘RINO’ and what is not on that one issue [abolish the Fed]?

No.

Emperor Norton on January 29, 2012 at 7:27 PM

because the Fed inflates the money supply just enough the keep the value of the houses owned by the staff of The Weekly Standard relatively flat. The Fed also supports the stock market, and of course The Weekly Standard’s staff loves their stocks, too.

Emperor Norton on January 29, 2012 at 7:23 PM

Smells like a conspiracy theory or just plain envy. Do you define ‘fairness’ through the actions of the federal reserve? This is why it shouldn’t be up to anyone to determine what’s ‘fair.’ Everyone has their own ideas about that, some of them half-baked.

Corporal Tunnel on January 29, 2012 at 7:28 PM

Cut the budget until it meets the revenue.

profitsbeard on January 29, 2012 at 7:26 PM

OMG! You are a most dangerous lunatic. Where do you come up with this stuff?

platypus on January 29, 2012 at 7:28 PM

Little Bammie will tell us what’s fair when we get there. We just have to trust him.

slickwillie2001 on January 29, 2012 at 7:27 PM

Kind of like–”We have to pass the bill to see what’s in it.”

Now I understand.

predator on January 29, 2012 at 7:30 PM

Good post. Can’t add to what has already been said. Sounds like this is a topic upon which all conservatives are in agreement and would be willing to openly debate a reasonable solution to the monster of a tax law that has been allowed to come into existence.

AZfederalist on January 29, 2012 at 7:30 PM

Wethal on January 29, 2012 at 7:12 PM

I’m surprised that the Prof got away with it. I once taught an AP Chem class that was populated by about 50% liberal students and 50% conservative students. I offered to do the same thing. Tax the rich(high achieving students) and give to the poor (lesser achieving students). The liberal students squealed like a stuck pig and didn’t want any part of it. It wasn’t fair and all that. When I pointed out that the same thing held true about taxes their response was that it was just money and the rich had more than enough to share. They never got the hypocrisy of that statement

chemman on January 29, 2012 at 7:31 PM

Cut the budget until it meets the revenue.

profitsbeard on January 29, 2012 at 7:26 PM
OMG! You are a most dangerous lunatic. Where do you come up with this stuff?

platypus on January 29, 2012 at 7:28 PM

Both of you should report to the Gulag, immediately.

Elizabeth Warren and Brock Obama built your roads and bridges to get there, so… go!

/

Key West Reader on January 29, 2012 at 7:32 PM

Cut the budget until it meets the revenue.

profitsbeard on January 29, 2012 at 7:26 PM

OMG! You are a most dangerous lunatic. Where do you come up with this stuff?

platypus on January 29, 2012 at 7:28 PM

My own wallet when it confronts the grocery store?

profitsbeard on January 29, 2012 at 7:32 PM

Emperor Norton on January 29, 2012 at 7:27 PM

Do you really see every employee shareholder gain at the Weekly Standard or any stock gain for that matter as something that was ‘stolen’ or unjustly earned because of the actions of the Federal Reserve? Those are Capital Gains, which is really what Obama is getting at with Buffet’s secretary.

Corporal Tunnel on January 29, 2012 at 7:33 PM

The Greenroom posts appear to have the printer-friendly feature.

What ever happened to that feature on the big board?

BuckeyeSam on January 29, 2012 at 7:34 PM

Abolishing the Fed isn’t about fairness–it’s about having free markets again, without central planning.

Emperor Norton on January 29, 2012 at 7:36 PM

Tell it to Romney.

besser tot als rot on January 29, 2012 at 7:38 PM

If Obama’s going to make taxes and fairness his main issue during the campaign then we might as well start listing the taxes we all pay.

We can show the Democrats and independents, the endless labyrinth taxes are and how they’re incredibly unfair for everyone and incredibly unfair times ten for the people who shoulder the responsibility of employing others.
And regulations and paperwork to make the strongest cry.

Want to make war on an unfair meme?

I say let them have as much unfair war as they want, and a little more.

Speakup on January 29, 2012 at 7:38 PM

By the way, Corporal Tunnel, you’re way too glib. Read the other people’s posts first, think a while, and then comment. Try it.

You sound a lot like the teenage Mormon Lord Romney supporters who have been infesting Hot Air.

Emperor Norton on January 29, 2012 at 7:38 PM

Buffet’s secretary.

Corporal Tunnel on January 29, 2012 at 7:33 PM

She’s a beauty. If the Party of Stupid had any sense, they’d bemoan the fact that Warren Buffett’s Secretary pays taxes on Earned Income.

But, everyone’s stupid, so let’s just have an Obama Party. All night long.

Uh.

Key West Reader on January 29, 2012 at 7:38 PM

It’s about time the Republicans latched on to this argument. Obama has no clue what capitalism is and he has no clue what to do about the economy and taxes. His idea of fairness is rich folk paying 30% in taxes, but if that’s not enough (which it’s not) then he has no clue what to do next.

My problem is that Romney isn’t much better. Romney is McCain with more money and no Sarah Palin so, if that’s what you want, I guess we’ll be stuck with him.

bflat879 on January 29, 2012 at 7:39 PM

I know what fairness is. Fairness is the lady in front of me at the convenience store paying for chips and sodas for her and her brood with her WIC card and then buying $30 dollars worth of lottery tickets with cash.

Now that I’ve figured that out, I’m no longer angry. Makes perfect sense to me.

predator on January 29, 2012 at 7:39 PM

The strongest problem with all this “fairness” rhetoric is WHO decides what is fair?

Hobbes on January 29, 2012 at 7:41 PM

WHO decides what is fair?

When in doubt, ask the Emperor.

Emperor Norton on January 29, 2012 at 7:43 PM

She’s a beauty. If the Party of Stupid had any sense, they’d bemoan the fact that Warren Buffett’s Secretary pays taxes on Earned Income vs. Investment income, which is essentially a double tax.

But, everyone’s stupid, so let’s just have an Obama Party. All night long. Oh, and let’s kill people. Obama Rox!

Uh.

Key West Reader on January 29, 2012 at 7:38 PM

Key West Reader on January 29, 2012 at 7:43 PM

The only people concerned about “fair” taxes are the 47% who pay none.

Here’s my idea of “fair”.

YOU PAY NO FEDERAL TAXES, YOU DON’T VOTE IN FEDERAL ELECTIONS.

Seems “fair” to me, seeing as you’ve got ‘no dog in the fight’.

GarandFan on January 29, 2012 at 7:43 PM

The strongest problem with all this “fairness” rhetoric is WHO decides what is fair?

Hobbes on January 29, 2012 at 7:41 PM

Obama, of course.

Key West Reader on January 29, 2012 at 7:44 PM

Obama, of course.

Key West Reader on January 29, 2012 at 7:44 PM

Even Romney agrees with this. That’s why he uses the same 250K/year rhetoric.

besser tot als rot on January 29, 2012 at 7:52 PM

Emperor Norton on January 29, 2012 at ▓▓:▓▓ PM

Do you get all of your talking points from the side of Ron Paul’s famous rEVOLutionary campaign blimp; or are there e-mail blasts for that?

It’s the entitlements that are putting us on a downhill slide towards oblivion.

hillbillyjim on January 29, 2012 at 7:54 PM

Abolishing the Fed isn’t about fairness–it’s about having free markets again, without central planning.

Emperor Norton on January 29, 2012 at 7:36 PM

But you still think the writers at the Weekly Standard won’t write anything against the Feb because of their stock gains, right?

Corporal Tunnel on January 29, 2012 at 7:57 PM

By the way, Corporal Tunnel, you’re way too glib. Read the other people’s posts first, think a while, and then comment. Try it.

You sound a lot like the teenage Mormon Lord Romney supporters who have been infesting Hot Air.

Emperor Norton on January 29, 2012 at 7:38 PM

No, I’m just trying to follow your logic. You said that the Weekly Standard wouldn’t write articles against the Fed because of their stock (capital) gains. What are you basing this on? A gut feeling? Envy?

And you seemed to imply that ‘fairness’ had something to do with that.

If I’m closer to Mitt Romney, you’re closer to Obama.

Corporal Tunnel on January 29, 2012 at 8:00 PM

Corporal Tunnel on January 29, 2012 at 7:57 PM

Feb=Fed, cue the typo police…

Corporal Tunnel on January 29, 2012 at 8:01 PM

An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class. That class had insisted that Obama’s socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

The professor then said, “OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama’s plan”. All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an A…. (substituting grades for dollars – something closer to home and more readily understood by all).

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little..

The second test average was a D! No one was happy. When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F. As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else. To their great surprise, ALL FAILED and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed. It could not be any simpler than that.

Great analogy, but unlikely to have actually happened-the students would have complained to administration who would have stopped the experiment.

You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.

Wethal on January 29, 2012 at 7:12 PM

“Tax the rich, feed the poor, til there are no rich no more.” I’d Love to Change the World recorded by Ten Years After sometime in the 60′s if I recall correctly

talkingpoints on January 29, 2012 at 8:01 PM

Wethal on January 29, 2012 at 7:12 PM

Excellent. My daughter did a similar thing with her 5th grade students. Only she used play money and divided the group into workers and non workers. Took half the money from the workers and gave it to the non workers. In an inner city school. Kids didn’t like it. In a public school, that’s practically subversive. We laugh about it every year.

bluealice on January 29, 2012 at 8:07 PM

The Warren Buffet. All you can eat only $6.99.

Corporal Tunnel on January 29, 2012 at 8:10 PM

Perhaps everyne should pay say 10% of their income, that sounds fair to me. Making some people pay more than others isn’t “fair” at all.

Ellis on January 29, 2012 at 7:12 PM

If we want to be fair, let’s scrap the federal income tax, which only 53% pay, and replace it with a 10% national sales tax. That way everyone pays (based on consumption) including people who can afford $185 Air Jordans even though their families are “too poor” to pay taxes.

bw222 on January 29, 2012 at 8:11 PM

You sound a lot like the teenage Mormon Lord Romney supporters who have been infesting Hot Air.

Lovely. What was I hearing about the Mitt supportes??

bluealice on January 29, 2012 at 8:11 PM

“Tax the rich, feed the poor, til there are no rich no more.” I’d Love to Change the World recorded by Ten Years After sometime in the 60′s if I recall correctly

talkingpoints on January 29, 2012 at 8:01 PM

A pretty good song.

Sultanofsham on January 29, 2012 at 8:19 PM

“Tax the rich, feed the poor…

talkingpoints on January 29, 2012 at 8:01 PM

Obesity is epidemic among the ‘poor.’ and their children, just ask Michelle Obama.

Corporal Tunnel on January 29, 2012 at 8:27 PM

“Fairness” in the progressive/liberal mindset is nothing less than being able to acquire what somebody else has without the cost in labor, sweat, risk and capital to obtain it.

The Nanny State (Gubmint as Santa Claus) will continue unless the real adults in the room say enough is enough and the “fairness” Nazis are made to suck it up and get the better things in life the same way good, decent, hard-working entrepreneurs and risk takers and productive citizens have been doing for centuries. Earn it.

I am well beyond tired of being required to finance nearly half of the population who pay no local, state or federal income taxes whatsoever yet get all sorts of rebate checks every season because some idiot (bunch of idiots) decided that it was more “fair.”

Once upon a time they called this robbery.

Tax consumption.

Seems fair.

coldwarrior on January 29, 2012 at 8:28 PM

If we want to be fair, let’s scrap the federal income tax, which only 53% pay, and replace it with a 10% national sales tax. That way everyone pays (based on consumption) including people who can afford $185 Air Jordans even though their families are “too poor” to pay taxes.

bw222 on January 29, 2012 at 8:11 PM

I see some serious merit here.

Tim Zank on January 29, 2012 at 8:29 PM

Spot on

AH_C on January 29, 2012 at 8:35 PM

Instead of using the media’s narrative driven discussion. Why doesn’t some investigative reporter put together just how much Buffett’s cozy relationship with the current President has benefited him.

Dr Evil on January 29, 2012 at 8:43 PM

If buffet really believed in that he does not pay enough taxes, he can set a goal like Andrew Carnegie did and give all his money away. Instead he has set up tax shelter trusts as monuments to him self. He is every bit as corrupt as he Chicago thug buddy, using his access to loot the treasury with crony capitalism.

dunce on January 29, 2012 at 8:51 PM

Instead of using the media’s narrative driven discussion. Why doesn’t some investigative reporter put together just how much Buffett’s cozy relationship with the current President has benefited him.

Dr Evil on January 29, 2012 at 8:43 PM

Then they’d be doing their job and we can’t have that.

Corporal Tunnel on January 29, 2012 at 8:52 PM

This is quite possibly the most ironic headline in the history of this site, as any liberal would absolutely agree with it but for the opposite reason. I see constant whining on this site about the poor not paying income taxes and “Getting a free ride”, which is asinine. Not only do even marginally higher taxes effect them in a way it doesn’t the rich, it also doesn’t produce a noteworthy amount of revenue. Yet any time anyone suggests raising taxes only on the wealthy we hear it decried as class warfare when in reality it’s just politicians being practical: Why raise taxes on the poor out of a false sense of fairness? The goal of raising taxes is to increase revenue, nothing more.

This article is the most laughable example of projecting your own faults on your opponents I’ve seen in a while.

Typhonsentra on January 29, 2012 at 8:56 PM

Is Buffett going to leave his medal of freedom to his children? Or is he melting it down and sending it to the Gates foundation?

rubberneck on January 29, 2012 at 9:01 PM

Typhonsentra on January 29, 2012 at 8:56 PM

If government would strictly tend to those things which are Constitutionally required, perhaps taxes for all citizens would be many many degrees less.

Government will spend whatever government believes the people will tolerate and beyond.

We have less than necessary “revenue” because we are outspending what we actually need to spend on things government has no business doing.

Or, are you advocating for government to be deeply involved in every aspect of every American’s life?

coldwarrior on January 29, 2012 at 9:02 PM

Why raise taxes on the poor out of a false sense of fairness? The goal of raising taxes is to increase revenue, nothing more.

Typhonsentra on January 29, 2012 at 8:56 PM

I’ll tell you what, I’m good with that as long as those who aren’t paying taxes refrain from calling for tax increases on the rich, the 1%’ers, the wealthy, those who have benefited from life’s lottery, or whatever the current phrase is for people who have worked to excel and have done so. In addition, they should stop voting for those who have pledged to provide more “benefits”, again, using money taken from those who pay taxes and given to those who don’t.

The purpose of having those on the lower income scale pay something is to make sure that they understand that those government “benefits” don’t just materialize out of thin air but come because money has been taken from someone to be given to somebody else. As your hero BHO said, “Everyone needs to have some skin in the game”

AZfederalist on January 29, 2012 at 9:09 PM

“Good post, J. E. Dyer~”

bridgetown on January 29, 2012 at 7:20 PM

Dittoes! Well done, J.E.

ncjetsfan on January 29, 2012 at 9:25 PM

“There ya go, this purple thread should easily guide the axemans’ steady hand.”

Coronagold on January 29, 2012 at 9:29 PM

Instead of using the media’s narrative driven discussion. Why doesn’t some investigative reporter put together just how much Buffett’s cozy relationship with the current President has benefited him.

Dr Evil on January 29, 2012 at 8:43 PM

And also how the higher taxes he is advocating helps him relative to others. We know big business loves big expensive regulations because it keeps the little guy out of the picture. You aren’t going to start a car company out of your garage anymore when billions of dollars in safety testing is required, etc. His stock is priced at thousands of dollars a share and maybe it’s not susceptible to the damage that other stocks would suffer if he got his way of driving semi-rich out of the market, thereby making these companies ripe for the Berkshire Hathaway pickings.

Buddahpundit on January 29, 2012 at 9:35 PM

FU ….barry

t on January 29, 2012 at 9:36 PM

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/9048122/Agent-Provocateur-sales-boosted-by-US-First-Lady-Michelle-Obama.html#disqus_thread
Michelle spent 50000 pounds on lingerie as a good 1% person could. I guess she can spend her loot on anything she likes, but why do something that causes nausea and vomiting for most people.

galtani on January 29, 2012 at 9:44 PM

t on January 29, 2012 at 9:36 PM

I second that.

Mirimichi on January 29, 2012 at 9:46 PM

I am an accountant and do tax work part time during tax season.
You know what gets me and what is not fair is during the month of January until mid February I get to do people’s taxes that do not pay taxes and get a big refund. How fair is this?
Welfare not taxable
WIC not taxable
State insurance not taxable
I could go on and on but in the end people are getting free money all year, pay no taxes and walk out with a hefty refund check, it is repulsive.
Oh but they are poor, right
If you added all they get in state aide plus their min income they make a good salary and should be paying taxes on it.

Yes I do pay taxes.

mnkatie on January 29, 2012 at 9:58 PM

Agent Provocateur sales boosted by US First Lady Michelle Obama
Michelle spent 50000 pounds on lingerie as a good 1% person could. I guess she can spend her loot on anything she likes, but why do something that causes nausea and vomiting for most people.

galtani on January 29, 2012 at 9:44 PM

Eeeeuw. it’s not a joke. It’s a real article.

slickwillie2001 on January 29, 2012 at 10:05 PM

The proper purpose of taxes is not to establish a condition of “fairness.” It’s to pay for government: a legislature, executive, military, police, firefighting, courts, schools.

Bzzzzzzzzz. Wrong. You added one too many things to that list. Assuming we’re talking the federal level, there is no constitutional mandate to pay for schools. That is an issue that must be handled at the local/state level. The federal government, through the US Department of Education has added nothing to education in the US since it’s inception but cost. And taken away quality at every turn.

mbecker908 on January 29, 2012 at 10:11 PM

Eeeeuw. it’s not a joke. It’s a real article.

slickwillie2001 on January 29, 2012 at 10:05 PM

OK, so the fundamental question is why she needs that much of that particular product. I don’t see Obummer as interested in anything but himself. Seems a complete waste of money

AZfederalist on January 29, 2012 at 10:20 PM

If we let taxation be about “fairness,” rather than paying for the cost of government, the two big problems we have are defining “fairness,” and defining the role of government in promoting it. Those questions will never be settled to the satisfaction of all.

It doesn’t have to be one or the other. Fairness is one parameter to use when deciding who should be paying taxes and how much they should pay. We need to be as fair as possible when we determine how taxes are paid.

HardTruth on January 29, 2012 at 10:21 PM

What are we, six years old?  Taxes should pay for the costs of government.  That’s what we have taxes for.

Succinct and spot on. I am always incredulous when anyone says we need more taxes without once mentioning cutting government/spending. We have crumbling infrastructure? Maybe we should commission a blue ribbon panel to see who is misappropriating the vast gas tax/toll revenue? Just down the road from me, the GW bridge collects approximately $1 million PER DAY! That’s over $350 million per year and I still have to make like Alberto Tomba avoiding potholes heading to work? With sales, excise, real estate, death, and other taxes we pay upwards of 50% to Big Bro government and still some morons demand more. We may be doomed due to the political illiteracy of the populous.

Huckabye-Romney on January 29, 2012 at 10:22 PM

GarandFan, you are on point! Unfortunately, that’s not “fair” when you view the world through the lens of hypocrisy, as liberals do. In their reality, fair is what they say it is, wrong is what they say it is and doggone it, you can even feel good about yourself as a limousine liberal because we are talking about fair not their money!

ghostwalker1 on January 29, 2012 at 10:25 PM

Ok. It has come to my attention, by reading the “Slate” (that’s a stone…right) article “no pets for you” that certain slightly deranged (and thus probably liberal) individuals have very high standards (I did not read the whole article) before they allow any abandonned animal to be adopted. They will, in fact, adopt the animal themselves.

Seems to me a perfect way to tie up their disposable income. (better fluffy than to Obozo)

WryTrvllr on January 29, 2012 at 10:34 PM

OK, so the fundamental question is why she needs that much of that particular product. I don’t see Obummer as interested in anything but himself. Seems a complete waste of money

AZfederalist on January 29, 2012 at 10:20 PM

Maybe having problems getting his attention?

slickwillie2001 on January 29, 2012 at 10:35 PM

This is where conservatives in those deep blue states could really help.

WryTrvllr on January 29, 2012 at 10:36 PM

Oh. I am sorry. What a horror. Don’t even think it.

WryTrvllr on January 29, 2012 at 10:48 PM

B

ut however we feel about that issue, we could avoid the argument altogether, if the tax code didn’t creep around after us inquiring into our incomes and household arrangements.

Yep, a perfect argument for the Fair Tax. Everyone will pay their “fair” share.

RoadRunner on January 29, 2012 at 11:21 PM

I’m surprised that the Prof got away with it.

I’m surprised you didn’t recognize an urban legend when you read one.

keep the change on January 29, 2012 at 11:22 PM

Love those phony medals. Idi Amin had a big fat chestful. Makes you miss the USSR doesn’t it.

borntoraisehogs on January 29, 2012 at 11:37 PM

Ladies and Gentlemen I submit to you that every elected Representative not voted into office in the last election be voted out of office when they come up for a vote again. The only people in Washington DC NOT responsible for the condition of the United States finances are those who have been there for this term only, every other person, Cabinet Member, Senator, Representative, Department head, to include the Generals running the Military. Office Managers all the way down to the local Agricultural Office have their pay reduced by 20% and reduced to the job below their present position, or relieved of duty and sent to the unemployment office. These are the people who have spent money as though there was an unlimited supply. This situation is proof positive of the “Peter Principle”. It was formulated by Dr. Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull in their 1969 book The Peter Principle, it states that “in a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence”, meaning that employees tend to be promoted until they reach a position in which they cannot work competently. They are never removed, meaning that the Government is being run by a bunch of incompetent morons. But then we were aware of that already, we just did not know what to do about it.

old war horse on January 30, 2012 at 1:06 AM

Thank you for making a point of this–and for pointing it out. Taxation in this country is almost as out of control as the overspending. In case anyone has forgotten, too much taxation by a war-mongering king lead to this little thing called a revolution in the American colonies.

The problem is that our attention gets diverted onto petty issues that have nothing to do with the real issue. It is none of the government’s business what we do with our money and this government acts like they’re entitled to it–exactly one of the things the Constitution was written as it was to prevent.

stukinIL4now on January 30, 2012 at 1:54 AM

Taxation in this country has become the easiest way for politicians to pander to special interests for votes…that is what it is and that is what they want it to stay…
Like a vampire, you’d have to drive a silver stake through the heart of every politician not in the Tea Party caucus to get them to change it…

Strike Hornet on January 30, 2012 at 3:05 AM

predator on January 29, 2012 at 7:39 PM

bluealice on January 29, 2012 at 8:07 PM

bw222 on January 29, 2012 at 8:11 PM

I just gots a memo from Chris Matthews sayin y’all racists conservatives be speakin in code agin . . .

BigAlSouth on January 30, 2012 at 6:30 AM

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