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  1. #1
    philosopher wood nymph greenfairy's Avatar
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    Default Good arguments against a flat tax percentage or abolishing taxation?

    I have this friend who feels very strongly that taxes are unfair and that they should either be a flat percentage or we shouldn't have taxes at all. I tried to argue with him and realized that all I had was ethical beliefs (such as it would be more costly to people who didn't have all their needs met than it would be for someone for whom it would just decrease luxury, to which he responded something about not enabling people) combined with the assumption that without taxes the government wouldn't have any money, and couldn't really do much of anything. I'd like to have some better arguments, which don't rely on emotional appeal. Do any of you have any to offer? Would you indulge my lack of education on the subject and clarify for me the essential points about how everything works?



    Please don't reply if you agree with this proposition, unless you have brief comments for the purpose of clarification. Thanks.

  2. #2
    WALMART
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    I like driving on roads, personally.


    Although I do own a Jeep.....





    Abolish taxes!!!!

  3. #3
    Yup
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    think the problem is that not everyone has been paying the flat tax rate and now things are reflecting that. since things are a bit unstable, we have to make up for that loss and get things back on track within some time frame and that means ensuring everyone pays their fair share and that which they failed to bring to the table with the previous tax cuts....

  4. #4
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Big projects that take an enormous amount of coordination, like deploying a military or maintain national infrastructure, are things that generally require not only an enormous amount of money, but also for that money to be applied with a great deal of focus. Who's going to get that kind of money and where? The government, from taxes.

    To expect something else, like a bunch of private businesses or non-profit organizations to take in this kind of money and then invest in a coherent way is absurd. And not only would it be incoherent due to being divided over many different organizations, it would also be less vested in the interest of the people than it would if that money were in the hands of the government (unless we're talking about a non-democratic unrepresentative government).

    Of course, you might as why the government doesn't just have a bunch of government owned monopolies and oligopolies and profit off of them for revenue instead of taxes. There are basically two reasons.

    One reason is that you can potentially get way more money from taxes, which is one of the reasons many people fear that having the government enter any kind of market will destroy the private competition. As my one Republican friend said "I don't know anything that can fund things more than the government, so it doesn't have to face competition in anything it's allowed to work in".

    The other reason to use taxes is because of the nifty benefit of dividing costs. If I use taxes, I can take just a little a bit of money from everyone (supposing for simplicity that we have an all inclusive tax) and allocate it one project, the result being that I quickly get the project from to scratch to a level of productivity while dividing the costs amongst my citizens so evenly that it doesn't make anyone a weak link (an unproductive or even dependent citizen). If I were to leave all the costs for a project to those who use it (this could be anything; school, roads, law enforcement), then those people who use it will pay a hell of a lot more money because the costs aren't covered by everyone. The result is that many more people, the people paying for the project, become weak links, while the people aren't taxed have been spared such small expenses that their being spared the expense doesn't really make the economy noticeably better. On top of that, there will be many more people who just can't afford to pay for the project out of pocket in the first place, thus depriving them of the benefits, and others who won't see a point paying the price, thus reducing the funding and weakening the value of the project.

    Those who completely private education would do well to see how these factors would destroy education.

    So for the most specific question, why not a flat tax? Well, maybe in some cases a flat tax would be viable. I don't know where you live, Greenfairy, but the USA is not one of those places where a flat tax is viable. The reason is that the USA has rather severe inequality of wealth. A flat tax is simply a tax where everyone is taxed at the same rate, right? Well, because of how skewed our wealth is, and flat rate high enough to bring in sufficient revenues would probably make our poor and lower-middle class completely destitute, and any flat rate low enough to be affordable for the poor and lower-middle class just wouldn't take in enough revenue to fund the things we've come to take for granted.

    It must be said that I believe wealth, all capital, aggregates by default. That is it concentrates into the hands of fewer and fewer people over time. The poor get poorer and the rich get richer. Since this is the default, you have to take pro-active measures to prevent it. The flat tax does nothing to prevent wealth aggregation, while a progressive tax works to counter-act it.

    As for why inequality of wealth is bad, there are a ton of reasons and it's a long story which I won't tell right now because that's not the question of this thread.

    I hope that answer was useful. I just quickly wrote that on the fly so forgive me if I didn't make sense or wrote a lot of typos.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  5. #5
    philosopher wood nymph greenfairy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    As for why inequality of wealth is bad, there are a ton of reasons and it's a long story which I won't tell right now because that's not the question of this thread.
    Actually he argues against this too, unfortunately. I'm rather at a loss as to how to respond.
    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    I hope that answer was useful. I just quickly wrote that on the fly so forgive me if I didn't make sense or wrote a lot of typos.
    No that was actually a great post. Thanks.

  6. #6
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenfairy View Post
    Actually he argues against this too, unfortunately. I'm rather at a loss as to how to respond.


    I already anticipated that this would be his position. Those two beliefs tend to go together.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  7. #7
    philosopher wood nymph greenfairy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post


    I already anticipated that this would be his position. Those two beliefs tend to go together.
    How do you argue with something like that? Obviously I think it's better to teach someone to fish than to give them a fish, but I don't think it really works that way most of the time. The rich aren't always rich because they are skilled, and the poor aren't always poor because they aren't.

  8. #8
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    Well in a perfect world, of course the state could provide for the common good free of charge. Nevertheless, we're in an imperfect world, where stuff costs money. The state does have the ethical duty of providing for the common good. As citizens of the state, it's our obligation to contribute the monetary means for which the state depends upon to provide for this common good. The state depends us citizens, and we citizens depend upon the state as well(you could even go further and say we citizens are the state). Now legitimate grievances can be made against unjust taxes, but taxes in of themselves are not unjust by nature.

    A few basic pointers.

  9. #9
    philosopher wood nymph greenfairy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    Well in a perfect world, of course the state could provide for the common good free of charge. Nevertheless, we're in an imperfect world, where stuff costs money. The state does have the ethical duty of providing for the common good. As citizens of the state, it's our obligation to contribute the monetary means for which the state depends upon to provide for this common good. The state depends us citizens, and we citizens depend upon the state as well(you could even go further and say we citizens are the state). Now legitimate grievances can be made against unjust taxes, but taxes in of themselves are not unjust by nature.

    A few basic pointers.
    Yeah that's kinda what I think. How would a tax conservative respond?

  10. #10
    Sniffles
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenfairy View Post
    Yeah that's kinda what I think. How would a tax conservative respond?
    Probably some variation of "It's MY money, and I shouldn't have to pay for squat!" and "Taxes are a violation of peoples' freedom and a force of arbitrary rule."

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