With millions of Americans struggling to get through their tax returns by tomorrow’s deadline, Reason TV offers a couple of video clips to “celebrate” Tax Day. The first is a quick montage clip reminding us of the folly of Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who claimed that “taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society.” As taxes have gone up and the burden of federal regulation increased since Holmes’ day, have we become more civilized as a result? Not exactly:
The second presentation takes a more substantive look at higher taxation levels and the kind of “civilization” it brings. Ted Balaker uses California as the laboratory for this effort, with its massive tax burden and massively dysfunctional government. Balaker echoes Texas Governor Rick Perry’s support of interstate competition, who has kept taxes low and has attracted businesses from states like California as a result:
Turns out California has found one way to save and create certain kinds of jobs—spend like mad and raise taxes.
That job-creation strategy has worked quite well for government-sector workers. Problem is the statewide unemployment rate is still among the highest in the nation, and many private-sector employers are heading to states like Texas, where taxes are lower and regulations are lighter.
“I would love to have companies calling me saying, ‘We’d like to move to California, can you help us with that relocation?’ I get none of those calls,” says business relocation coach Joe Vranich. “The calls I do get are, ‘Hello, we want to move out of California, can you help us do that?'” Vranich says there’s no one reason why businesses leave.
He calls it “death by a thousand cuts,” where job creators get fed up with everything from high taxes to traffic gridlock and legal hassles.
No one doubts the necessity of paying some level of taxes, but only within the limits of limited and effective government. Unfortunately, as Reason TV demonstrates, Californians pay far too much in taxes and end up subsidizing far too much government. Much of that comes from special interest groups pushing politicians to featherbed government jobs, especially public-sector unions that can’t afford to see cuts, thanks to their critically-underfunded pension plans. And what happens in California happens at the federal level as well in this instance.