Greedy Blog

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Molly Ivins continues to amaze me.
Roads, schools, prisons, courthouses, bridges, dams and sewage systems are all necessary, as are health and education. That's why we pay taxes.

I actually agree with the first 7/8 of these (she lists schools and education). The problem is that the national government doesn't have to pay for these. It really baffles me why we even bother to have local governments any more. I know it is to carry on the charade of federalism, but there is no federalism if the federal government has the responsibility for schools, bridges, dams, sewage systems, health, and education. What can't they do?
Even if that is why we do pay taxes, that isn't why we should pay them. We should only pay the federal government to protect us and to do things the states simply cannot do alone, such as regulating trade and coining money. Everything else should be local: schools, education (my little joke), crime, environment... We need to cut about 80% of the federal government, in my opinion. If that means higher local taxes, so be it. Just as long as there is a tradeoff. I always come back to competition, and competition between the states is healthier than an unopposed federal government.

The reason that people hate paying taxes is because they know the system isn't fair. We don't have a progressive tax system in this country anymore, and we certainly don't have one in Texas.

I really don't see how these two sentences can be back to back. The tax system is not fair, but it also is not progressive? When did Forbes get elected? My vote mattered!
I agree that we don't have a purely progressive tax system in TX, but we do in a way. Everyone pays property taxes, either directly or in rent. People usually live according to their means, which means that Michael Dell pays a hell of a lot more in taxes than I do. Whenever some people pay more than other without getting any extra benefit (does Dell really get anything I don't?), that is progressive.
FWIW, I think that is what separates TX from CA, PA from MA, AZ from NM. People who choose to live in a state that has a bunch of social programs may do so, and those who wish to live in a state with no taxes may do so. The smaller the unit gets, the more likely it is that the people governed have control of the government and accept its policies. That can't happen in a national system when AK is governed by FL. When you add in the fact that everyone re-elects those who bring home pork, the system snowballs (apologies to Jonah Goldberg). I blame FDR and LBJ, the two worst presidents ever (yes, worse than Clinton).

Posted by Gel 12:53 PM Post a Comment

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