Well, yes, I suppose so

The AEI is, in my experience, one of the classic US libertarian, right wing think tanks. This is not where such opinion should come from. But as it does let me venture to suggest that the whole article can be summarised by the suggestion that tax cutting has run out of road.

People have realised that taxes are essential to ensure redistribution. And they’re linked to a growing economy. Whilst the sense of well being that is created by the public services with which they are associated is key to the sense of community that was part of the American dream.

To out it another way, there is a Joy of Tax.

When the Feds are only getting 18% or so of GDP in their tax take, yes, there’s a certain joy to taxation. As opposed to the UK where certain people start squealing if anyone even proposes that the State should swallow less than 40% of everything everyone does.

28 thoughts on “Well, yes, I suppose so”

  1. Let me tell you that, having to deal with HMRC and now the NHS on an almost daily basis, the State can fuck right off and die, thank you very much.

    Only a State organisation could fine you for its failure to register an ordinary partnership for TWO YEARS and only employees of a State organisation could get annoyed with you if you ask why there is an hour and a quarter delay in being seen by a nurse.

  2. And to put it a better way, there is a Joy of Tax Cuts.

    That would be a great title for Tim’s next book 🙂

  3. So taxes are linked to a growing economy according to Murph. However, didn’t he write only yesterday that government levies tax to prevent inflation? I wonder if he could explain how a government is able to set a tax rate that encourages growth and prevents inflation. The stop-go policies of the 1950s and 60s indicate that it is a very difficult balancing act at best and destructive in the long term.

  4. ‘People have realised that taxes are essential to ensure redistribution.’

    And people are for redistribution?

    ‘And they’re linked to a growing economy.’

    Huh? Sucking money out of the economy grows it?

  5. “wouldn’t it be a better comparison to use the state+fed figure for the US?”

    It would be better to look at Fed + state + municipality. Property taxes can be significant in certain states (e.g. NJ). And NY has a non-negligible city income tax. Along with a sales tax.

  6. ‘People have realised that taxes are essential to ensure redistribution.’

    And people are for redistribution?”

    When it comes to them? of course.

    ‘And they’re linked to a growing economy.’

    Sounds like a correlation vs causation mix up.

  7. Gamecock,

    The receivers are all in favour, the givers less so. In modern western democracies, the former outnumber the latter so there is usually a majority in favour of redistributive policies. As a giver (we’re still talking tax), I’ve never understood why the money I work hard for has to go to others who have jobs but which are valued at less than mine by their employers.

    In certain quarters, however, it is considered that redistribution is such a self-evident good that it cannot be challenged or debated. The debate is around how best to take from those who have earned their wealth and give to those who haven’t and, of course, how much should be redistributed.

  8. U.S. taxes are much higher than 26%. Before I retired, my all-in taxation was 51%. I heard that Phil Michelson in California paid out 63% of his income.

    Now that I have retired, and I’m over 65, my tax burden is a good bit smaller. I haven’t calculated it, but what I see is $1,200 a month more take home while making a thousand less a month from pension and Sociable Security.

  9. People have realised that taxes are essential to ensure redistribution.

    Ah. The innocence and ignorance of ideology.

    Redistribution is essential to an economy, this is true, the economy is a natural redistribution of wealth. But what is essential is efficiency, if the redistribution is inefficient, then the economy fails.

    Tax, with it’s threat of violence, is the method by which a government redistributes, and the claim here is that government redistribution is better, and the method is moral.

    The nurse is paid whether she works for the NHS or a private healthcare employer. redistribution of wealth happens regardless, the difference is that the inefficiency of government means she gets paid a very low amount, or, sometimes, she gets paid nothing at all, and she has nowhere else to go, because of the enforced monopoly.

    Murphy and his control freak buddies attempt to assure us that they are way better than a free market at this redistribution lark, yet fail specularly, time and time again, to prove it so, and the rest of the world’s looney socialist paradises continue to show us that the more control a government has, the more inefficient the redistribution becomes.

    The Joy of Tax is the Joy of Government, no wonder it is espoused as the solution by political lackeys who have never had a job outside it, and their quislings who hope to be paid handsomely by it.

    And he thinks we don’t realise this?

  10. “I’ve never understood why the money I work hard for has to go to others who have jobs but which are valued at less than mine by their employers.”

    There are perfectly good arguments to be made, though nebulous bollocks such as “fairness” and “morality” should be ignored. They don’t mean anything.

    Earning or market power is not just a function of hard work; natural ability helps as does the nature of that ability. Similarly gifted and hard-working poets, cricketers and footballers earn very different amounts of money.

    And, at the brutal end of the argument, is the possibility of organised labour, and/or non-labour. If the great majority feel that they’re not getting their share, then they can take it pretty much by force, legally via the ballot box or otherwise.

    The question is whether the better-off also benefit long-term from some redistribution, but how you prove that is another matter.

    I would be happier with my tax rate if the government presented it as an additional charge for the additional benefits I get, and others don’t, from living in a decently-functioning economy. That becomes a business transaction: this society has delivered x to you, and you must settle up, or try your luck in Zimbabwe. So long as everyone else is doing their expected bit, this might even be “fair”.

    Paying extra “because fluffy kittens”, or so that politicians can virtue-signal makes no long-term sense,
    .

  11. ‘Whilst the sense of well being that is created by the public services with which they are associated is key to the sense of community that was part of the American dream.’

    No. It’s not part of the American dream. Never was. Since looking up “American dream” on duh net takes only a minute, one wonders what intellect he posesses. If any.

    He is shooting his mouth off on a subject of which he has no knowledge, and can’t even take a minute to learn.

  12. I’m with dearieme…I can work so I give 10% to the folks with broken arms or muscular dystrophy and another 20% for the stuff that happens. Then you can accumulate a surplus to tide yourself through rough times, but aqt least there is some kind of safety net, if everyone thinks and acts like you. Is this where behavioural economics meets anthropological economics?

  13. ‘The debate is around how best to take from those who have earned their wealth and give to those who haven’t and, of course, how much should be redistributed.’

    The government takes money. It doesn’t take “wealth.” Saying “wealth” helps sell the idea of taking money.

    My federal government takes %20 percent of my income. They don’t care if its my last penny or chump change to me.

  14. Gamecock,

    If the government didn’t take it, it would be an asset and hence part of my wealth.

    With apologies to the four Yorkshiremen:

    20%? 20%? I dream of only paying 20%. The Australian government takes about 37% of my income at present.

  15. Doc, people living paycheck to paycheck don’t have wealth. Income tax withheld from their paycheck covers their taxes. The tax isn’t coming from “wealth.” Indeed, it constrains the creation of wealth.

  16. The sense of well-being that I personally get from public services… I really enjoy watching binmen at work. I glow with pride at the efforts of road menders. I cry tears of joy whenever I see a street sweeping vehicle.

  17. No, taxes are raised to pay the costs of the functions of the state. It is a politicial choice for redistribution to be one of those functions of the state. It is entirely possible for a political choice to be made for redistribution to not be one of those functions of the state. Hell, it is entirely possible for the defence of the realm to not be one of those functions of the state.

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