Tax Fairness Fuzziness

I read about national tax arguments. Everybody throws around the idea that their tax plan is “fair”, but that really means nothing without defining what “fair” means.  In this post, I’ll outline and discard 2 definitions, and then propose what Democrats really mean.

First, consider a national sales tax. With the assumption that it costs everybody the same amount of money to pay for fundamentals (food, shelter, clothes), then poor folks would pay the same dollars as a rich person. The assumption is a bit skewed (poor don’t live the same as a rich person), but let’s overlook that for now. Democrats do not like this type of taxes because the tax would be regressive (tax higher percentage on those with less income). It hits the poor person too much, so it’s not fair. Fairness would be if everybody had to pay about the same percentage.

Well.. wait a minute.  If that’s the concept of fairness, how does one justify a progressive tax, which overtly and intentionally taxes richer folks a higher percentage? That’s the path our nation has chosen to go with Federal income tax and many state income taxes. So the definition of fair seems to be incompatible against equal percentage. Although the word fair is thrown around a lot, the definition changes whether you’re talking about a rich person or a poor person. The fundamental desire or philosophical choice or concept of “fairness” for a Democrat is not about what tax rate is charged — because that changes around based on the person in front of you.

Thus, my conclusion is I don’t think the concept of fair taxation for a Democrat is based on either of the above two ideas.  For them, it’s not about taxing income/assets/productivity — either one way or the other.  Everybody is mechanically stuck taxing people based one of these two ways because that is what, in our society, we can measure.  But it’s not, fundamentally or philosophically, what they believe taxes should be based on.  It can’t be what they believe, because when measured this way, the concept of fairness inexorably moves around, which recursively is not fair. Nobody has the temerity or can live with intellectual suicide necessary to claim that being fair isn’t fair.

Here’s a better concept of what “fairness” means to a Democrat. It seems the concept of fairness instead boils down to 1) do tax collection, and 2) recognizing needs of people. Rich people should individually be contributing more dollars AND more percentage (progressive tax) because they have it. There are often arguments about whether they got it from some combination of family history, effort, education, or entitlement and so they may or may not have “earned it” and getting to keep it may not be “fair”, but in any case, they don’t need it now. Wanting to keep their money is greedy on their part because societal contributions of others helped them earn it.  Keeping it is not fair because they started with advantages given to them by society and birth in order to get it, and they have what they do only because of the social fabric and social infrastructure enabled by others.  In contrast, poor people should pay less percentage because they need money to answer fundamentals of life (food, clothing, shelter) and had to work harder to get what they have.

Tax fairness for a Democrat is based more on needs (who needs it and who doesn’t need it). This Democratic view of taxes is that National resources should be obtained from each according to his ability, and given to each according to his need.  The rich person can afford more, so should pay more. The poor should be supported according to their needs.

The older crowd might recognize the quote above, and any American should start to cringe.  You know where I’m going, don’t you? Ouch. This is Marxism. That’s what our nation fought for so many years in the form of the USSR and their Communist influence elsewhere in the world!  Have we become our enemy?  Is there a significant fraction of Americans that want to take the country in this direction?

I predict the socialist paradigm will reach out to control individual finances, individual property, even weapons.  Then the conversion will be complete.

About Brian

Engineer. Aviator. Educator. Scientist.
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