We really need to rethink the way we talk about taxes. John Stossel has the first step:
[A] tax cut is not a handout. It simply means government steals less. What progressives want to do is take money from some — by force — and spend it on others. It sounds less noble when plainly stated.
That’s the moral side of the matter. There’s a practical side, too. Taxes discourage wealth creation. That hurts everyone, the lower end of the income scale most of all. An economy that, through freedom, encourages the production of wealth raises the living standards of lower-income people as well as everyone else.
A free society is not a zero-sum game in which every gain is offset by someone’s loss. As long as government keeps its thumb off the scales, the “makers” who get rich do so by making others better off. (When the government allocates capital or creates barriers to competition, all bets are off.)
I hate the mania to tax the rich at exorbitant rates for three reasons: (1.) The heavy rate of taxation eventually will trickle down to me, (3.) excessive taxation of the rich stalls the entire economy, and (2.) It is their money.
What a radical idea!
We forget that our money belongs to us in the first place. We forget this because the government has vast powers to take it by coercion. The current thinking tends toward the idea that our money, whether earned by dint of effort, or inherited, by dint of grandpa’s effort, really belongs to the government; representatives from this increasingly unpopular entity meet in Washington to decide how much they’ll let us keep.
They feel they need it more than we do because they have constituents who feel entitled to bright and shiny things brought to them with taxpayer money (that is, the money that used to be ours).
One reform we should talk about-and we aren’t endorsing it, except as something to talk about-is a flat tax. Mark Davis, a radio host in Dallas, has an interesting take on the flat tax (it’s on the context of what Davis wishes were in the GOP’s Pledge to America):
We will fight for a flat tax rate of 17 percent, to be paid by absolutely everyone. Make 10 grand a year? Send $1,700. Make a million? Send $170,000. All citizens must have a stake in tax policy. We cannot have tax increases ignored by tens of millions because they do not actually pay income taxes. We reject the useless analysis of whose taxes go up or down under this system. It is the definition of linear fairness. If your taxes go down, you were paying too much. If they go up, you weren’t paying enough.