A fun Independence Day list of things that are now considered taxes

The power to destroy.

If you have decided to go along with Chief Justice Roberts and agree that Obamacare is a tax, now is the time to contemplate the many things this reading will allow Congress to require you to do.

The list is literally endless, because of the endless number of things ideologues can come up with.  But these are some of the top tunes. Continue reading “A fun Independence Day list of things that are now considered taxes”

California by the numbers

See ya, California, wouldn’t wanna be ya.

The weekend produced a spate of dang-this-is-bad articles on the economic situation in California.  Steven Greenhut’s for the Orange County Register is entitled “California to middle class: drop dead.”  At The Daily Beast, Joel Kotkin laments that “As California Collapses, Obama Follows its Lead.”  (H/t – and a “Read it, people!” shout-out – to Ed Driscoll at PJM.)

But what does all this look like in terms of numbers?  What’s the how much and where and whom of the Golden State collapse?  Perhaps the most interesting and telling thing is that it really is as bad as it looks.  And the reasons are pretty much what you’d expect.  Here’s the California story, in numbers. Continue reading “California by the numbers”

More notes on “fairness”

Highly overrated?

After posting my piece yesterday on taxes and fairness, I saw Jazz Shaw’s piece on the topic.  It impressed me that he mentioned he was still thinking through the whole issue:

…the premise [that “we want everything to be fair”] relies heavily on how we choose to define the word “fair” and what sort of taxes we’re talking about here. (And to be clear, I’m still sorting through some of this because it’s hardly a simple, cut and dried issue.)

I agree that it’s not a cut and dried issue, largely because it cuts across multiple unarticulated premises about human life in general, and the relation between man and the state.  I also got interesting responses from readers at both the Green Room and my home blog.  Reader KGB provided a quote from P.J. O’Rourke’s book Eat the Rich: Continue reading “More notes on “fairness””

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

Grown-up tax ideas.

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

Tax arguments: You CAN have it both ways – If you’re talking about different things

There’s taxes, and then there’s taxes.

Jazz Shaw and Ed Morrissey have a debate going at Hot Air over what would be a consistent political position for Republican lawmakers, as they consider (a) the payroll tax holiday set to expire on 1 January 2012, and (b) the income tax rates scheduled to increase on 1 January 2013.

Jazz argues that it’s inconsistent to make the economic impact of a tax hike the overriding concern when it comes to income tax rates, but dismiss the economic impact of an increased tax load when the subject is ending the payroll tax holiday.  He points out that the Bush tax rates were passed with an expiration date, and therefore were temporary in a sense similar to the scheduled expiration of the payroll tax holiday.

There is an extent to which this argument is valid, but it’s a very limited one.  The reason is quite simple: Continue reading “Tax arguments: You CAN have it both ways – If you’re talking about different things”