The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Shadenfreude and Taxation

The Republicans caved. And agreed to "tax the rich." Do you feel better now? Are you better off? Are any of us better off? I'll answer for you: Maybe, no, and no. I said "maybe" because some people do feel better when someone else's ox is gored. Not that this tax increase is going to hurt the wealthy in any perceptible way.

It's an odd concept, this "tax the rich" idea. Think about it...

The rich are vilified because they allegedly got their wealth by taking from the rest of us. So what happens when we tax them at higher rates? Where do you suppose they will get the extra money to pay those taxes? The rational among you will instantly realize they will get it from the rest of us, the 98% whose income taxes will not go up under this deal.

Certainly my income taxes will not increase. My rate stays the same for both my earned income and my unearned (dividends) income. I no longer pay Social Security and Medicare taxes so the increase as a result of the lapse of the "Payroll Tax Holiday" doesn't affect me at all. No, just the working poor and other low income earners will see an increase there.

And what was accomplished by this deal? Based on what we know, we will still have $1 Trillion deficits for the next 3 years (maybe longer) and the $62 Billion estimated annual increase in revenue from the increase in tax rates for the top 2% won't make much of a dent in those deficits or pay anything toward the 16 and a half Trillion dollar national debt.

You've been bamboozled, folks. It's the old magician's slight of hand as practiced by politicians once again. And the excessive spending will continue in D.C. unabated.


Tom Sightings said...

Remember the old line, attributed to Sen. Russell Long? Don't tax you, don't tax me, tax that fellow behind the tree.

Inspector Clouseau said...

You raised some very interesting issues in your discussion Douglas, as always.

You wrote, "The rich are vilified because they allegedly got their wealth by taking from the rest of us."

I think, to a significant extent, that perception is maintained by many, at least emotionally, even though it may not be supported by facts.

Here is another way to look at that wealth issue. I would suspect that the vast majority of those individuals who work their butts off and acquire some measure of wealth may become millionaires and live comfortably, but not become truly wealthy.

What is perhaps more troubling to many are the descendants of oil barrons, the Kennedys, the Rockefellers, the Carnegies, the Vanderbilts, the Dukes, the Reynolds, etc. For many, it seems unfair that their descendants get an uneven start in life as opposed to ordinary citizens.

A kid growing up Beverly Hills clearly has advantages over a kid growing up on Bedford-Sty. What some would argue is provide each of those kids the same starting line, or same privileges in society. Stated differently, why should they be a disparity between kids simply because of the socio-economic status of their respective families.

Additionally, there are certain economies of scale, and power plays, associated with increases in wealth. The wealthy can hire attorneys and accountants to figure out ways to save more money. If you buy a washer on time at 22% interest, you will pay far more than someone who buys it outright without financing.

A Mercedes is a relatively good investment in terms of passenger vehicles, will last longer, and have higher retail value per unit time.

In short, there are all sorts of differences between the poor and the wealthy. The wealthy did not necessary steal anything from the poor, although in some instances wealth has been built on the backs of the poor.

If there is to be any wealth redistribution, I would prefer it be made not at the adult level, but at the children level. Give kids as much as an equal chance in life as possible. They did not pick their parents, and they did not do anything to contribute to their parents' financial situation. They're innocent.

Douglas said...

Tom, that's a big part of the scam, isn't it?

Inspector, you provide much food for thought. Of course, you realize that old money wasn't always old money. We had few, in any, members of the European aristocracy here after the Revolutionary War. Most of the rich families (such as the ones you mentioned) started with a man working to make that money, often from what are called "humble beginnings", that "unfairness" was ignored and they managed to prosper. Should their children, their descendants, be penalized for being born into wealth? What a silly idea. These descendants did not just inherit wealth, they inherited ambition and intelligence, and they also had an environment (one created by the work of a forefather) that encouraged them to continue to build the family wealth.

Some of these descendants destroy the family wealth, some destroy the financial empire built a generation or two before they came on the scene.

What people think is unfair isn't important to me. Of course they resent those that were born into rich families. It's human nature to do so. But that's a silly and pointless emotion that won't help anyone. And it is an emotion used by politicians to garner votes for themselves and take away votes from their opponents. It is commonly called "class warfare."

Wealth is always built on the "backs of the poor." The poor are willing to sell their labor for what they see as a living wage. Sometimes they are willing to sell it for even less than that. Is that the fault of the potentially wealthy?

Do you try to pay the least amount of taxes or the most?

You saw that special on the Men Who Built America.

Put me down as one violently opposed to redistribution of wealth... at any level. Of course we don't get to pick our parents, we don't even get to choose to be born at all.

We see things quite differently, you and I. I believe opportunity exists for us all. The poorer you are at birth, the more you have to overcome. Blame your parents, blame your ancestors, but don't waste energy, mental or physical, blaming the rich. It is nothing more than self pity.