Monday, October 26, 2015

The IRS Fetish

I thought of this upon hearing comedienne Sarah Silverman talking on NPR's Fresh Air show.
"My dad raised us to respect taxes and know that its an honor to pay taxes. And it goes to people who need it, and highways, and schools, and that's what makes our country great, and the more successful you are the more you can put into the ante..into the middle..to help make our local communities and our bigger communities great."
This is a new thing among Democrats, this tender soft-spot for taxes--taxes for their own sake, ignoring any specific program--because we're suppose to accept that the programs receiving the dollars are worthwhile without consideration. I've recently heard Chris Hardwick, Jon Stewart, and David Letterman apologize for making jokes at expense of the IRS. The IRS!

To be frank, there's something unAmerican about that, and I don't use that word lightly as does Harry, Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Dick Durban, and Barack Obama.

The short of it is this: This country was founded on a revolt against a two cent tax hike on imported tea.

Look. We should pay our taxes. And we should collect enough in taxes to pay for what we spend (as they do in Denmark by taxing the bark off the middle and working class). And we should be required to think before we spend --no matter how terrific the concept behind the program--because we know we'll only be able to pay for it by sequestering a greater portion of the free economy with taxes (or we'll degrade future value of the savings and salaries of people through deficit spending). But that doesn't require that we love taxes. The IRS has been an organization of menace since 1918 -- all throughout the New Deal and Great Society eras. What's changed?

"Honoring" the payment of taxes is becoming a kind of sacrament for Left-leaning people. They speak of it the way religious people speak of their tithes--as an act of piety, and act of submission before God. It is interesting that progressives speak such love for the ideal of paying taxes and then denounce others for pointing out that half of us don't make any net tax payments at all

They don't even defend the taxes on the basis of New Deal programs anymore, or any specific programs to that distribute the money. Instead, they talk about highways and cops (yes cops) and firemen and the post office for heaven sakes. 

Taxes can be ethically and economically problematic. Economically, because when you tax an activity, you are disincentivizing it (which leftists comprehend if you're talking about taxing carbon dioxide or cigarettes) and that means that less of those beautiful, beautiful, all important taxes will be collected. Taxes designed to disincentivize cannot have the same design as taxes intended to generate revenue. Disincentive taxes should not be expected to support any of the wonderful things the government does for us. But since it is normal now to find a villain in order to tax him, all new taxes nowadays are created with the ostensible purpose of doing both. 

Ethically, they are problematic because taxes are not donations. You are demanding it from people who might not agree with how it is spent and often the way it is spent is not defendable. Someone is setting up his good judgement for how someone else's money should be spent as superior to his neighbor's judgement and backing that opinion with the potential of lethal force. That is a view that has been understood since Robin Hood. For this reason, every expenditure should be worthwhile and I think that the fact that progressives have begun to honor the payment of taxes rather than the specific programs that the taxes support is evidence they are feeling embarrassed about those programs. 

We all agree now that that our money isn't going toward a Great Society. No one believes in that anymore. Instead it's going to powerful factions and demographics all the way down. The money is going to some guy in a leather chair in an office downtown, and we're just hoping it will trickle-down to the deserving. But government has become the Church of the Left because they've managed to relegate the old-fashioned churches to condescension or contempt. It's blasphemous to make a deal out of an expanding bureaucratic class with 100% job security and compensation well above comparable private sector workers. Or to mention that social security payments, single-payer healthcare, and free university benefits go to people who can well afford to care for themselves

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