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Question: Which of the following taxes is the least bad? Please choose one, or up to 4 if you feel they're all equally "least bad."
Personal income tax - 7 (8.1%)
Corporate income tax - 12 (14%)
Property tax (land) - 13 (15.1%)
Property tax (other assets) - 6 (7%)
Sales tax - 14 (16.3%)
Estate/Death/Inheritance tax - 4 (4.7%)
Poll/Head tax - 2 (2.3%)
Import/Export tax (Tariffs) - 7 (8.1%)
Value-Added tax - 6 (7%)
Capital Gains tax - 4 (4.7%)
Excise tax (fuel, alcohol, etc.) - 6 (7%)
Wealth/Net-Worth tax - 5 (5.8%)
Total Voters: 49

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Author Topic: Which tax is the least bad?  (Read 5024 times)
Khadaji
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March 28, 2014, 04:07:32 PM
 #81

Khadaji - in the real world, the state does provide an educated workforce and commercial infrastructure that will give the wealthy woman a better return on her taxes if the only way of raising tax is a sales tax.  To argue for a tax system on the basis that you don't think the state should provide education is to ask us enter a parallel universe.

And yet, people became wealthy thousands of years ago, with no public education system whatsoever.

You asked what I think a fair system would be?

Until you define the term "fair" - we won't be speaking of the same topic.

In a democracy, I think a system that is has no impact on the spread of wealth and power in society is fair.

Then you aren't in favor of progressive tax systems... good to see you agree with me.

It doesn't matter if people make huge amounts of money or inherit it.  It stinks if the tax system gives it to them just because they were born in the right place.  That is my objection to ideas like flat taxes and sales taxes - they give a much bigger return on tax paid to those who need an educated workforce and a well run economy.

Oops... I guess you really didn't mean what you said. You ARE in favor of a taxing system that inhibits the free growth of wealth & power.

If that growth in wealth is achieved by redistribution through the tax system, there has to be a very good reason for it.

You make a false statement without any citation or support, then conclude that your opinions on taxation are correct based on that false statement.

Progressive taxation takes away the very capital needed by those who are best posed to create real wealth. You undoubtedly believe that the government can more effectively spend that capitol than the people who EARNED it.


I don't see that there is a good reason to redistribute towards the wealthy so naturally I oppose any tax system that does just that.

The wealthy do not benefit from progressive taxation, nor would their wealth be created hypothetically with a flat tax.

In any case, a sales tax does not encourage the use of assets.

Neither does a progressive tax. You wish to punish the very people who've DEMONSTRATED by their very wealth that they can use their assets most effectively.

A resource tax does.

No, it merely drains capitol from the very people who've proven that they can make the most effective use of it.

On that basis alone, its a no brainer as to which is the better tax.

A conclusion based on faulty data will rarely be accurate.


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March 28, 2014, 07:06:19 PM
 #82

Google "straw man" - I never proposed a progressive taxation system so need not defend one.


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Khadaji
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March 28, 2014, 07:15:26 PM
 #83

Google "straw man" - I never proposed a progressive taxation system so need not defend one.

If you have no interest in taxing a millionaire at a higher rate than you do his janitor, then we agree.

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odolvlobo
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March 28, 2014, 07:22:28 PM
 #84

Hawker,

You seem incapable of distinguishing between taxation and spending. The collection of taxes is independent of the distribution of benefits. As I already pointed out, whatever you consider as equitable is possible with a sales tax.

I think it makes more sense to consider the economic ratifications of the tax system, and the social aspects of the spending.

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Khadaji
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March 28, 2014, 07:30:23 PM
 #85

Hawker,

You seem incapable of distinguishing between taxation and spending. The collection of taxes is independent of the distribution of benefits. As I already pointed out, whatever you consider as equitable is possible with a sales tax.

I think it makes more sense to consider the economic ratifications of the tax system, and the social aspects of the spending.

A good point... collection is totally and completely separate from spending.

And you are certainly correct that a sales tax is by far the fairest tax there can be. It's almost COMPLETELY voluntary. If you don't want to pay taxes, don't buy anything.

And millionaires certainly spend more on 'things' than a janitor does.

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March 28, 2014, 07:40:52 PM
 #86

The assumption is that people with high incomes receive more benefits from government spending, and I think that is the real problem if it is true. If everyone benefits equally from government spending, then it is only fair if everyone pays the same amount for those benefits.

People shouldn't benefit equally from state benefits, people in greater need should benefit more.

This is why I'm against all state benefits, so that everybody's equal.

I take it this is how you want the world to work then? "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." - Anatole France.

Yes, that's the way it works. Don't we represent justice with a blind woman?
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March 28, 2014, 07:42:59 PM
 #87

Quote
Based on these facts, I would say that wealth redistribution is an accidental side effect of tax policy in current societies.  The main main function of tax is to raise money to keep the market system running smoothly.

That's a valid point and one folks often forget despite my own opinion that taxes should be as minimal as possible.

It's because the rich are typically the ones in control of structuring the tax system, including any loopholes.

This is why the idea of using taxes as a means of wealth-redistribution is such an eye-roller. You're never going to get the top 1%--or heaven forbid, top 0.1%--to have their wealth drained and given to the poor and needy in some politically-oriented karmic reparation. Real-world weath redistribution always boils down to taking money from the middle class and giving it to the poor various groups, effectively rendering the lower classes, as a whole, poorer than before (due to the inefficiencies, fraud, waste and middlemen that such programs inevitably encounter.)

Still, as far as this thread goes, being upfront about one's intentions regarding taxation does go quite a ways towards explaining the "whys" of one's choices.


I agree and would go a lot further.  If you look at tax policies over last 40 years in most of the West, there has been a massive redistribution towards the rich with policies like farm subsidies, mortgage subsidies and the like which redistribute cash from the poor to the rich.

Another excellent argument against taxation. The redistribution idea may be nice on paper, but it doesn't work in the real world.
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March 28, 2014, 08:30:08 PM
 #88

Google "straw man" - I never proposed a progressive taxation system so need not defend one.

If you have no interest in taxing a millionaire at a higher rate than you do his janitor, then we agree.

I would not tax either of them a penny on their wealth or income.  The one with more property will pay more tax and if it happens to be the millionaire, he will reduce the wage he pays his janitor.  Call it trickle down taxation.

The important thing is that both are encouraged to employ their assets and there is no penalty for success.


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March 28, 2014, 08:33:27 PM
 #89

Hawker,

You seem incapable of distinguishing between taxation and spending. The collection of taxes is independent of the distribution of benefits. As I already pointed out, whatever you consider as equitable is possible with a sales tax.

I think it makes more sense to consider the economic ratifications of the tax system, and the social aspects of the spending.

And I answered.  A sales tax reduces economic activity by encouraging the paradox of thrift.  A resource tax encourages development of the resources being taxed.  Moreover a sales tax is easily avoided so it creates a massive bureaucracy. A resource/property tax is cheap to collect as everyone knows where a factory or farm is.


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March 28, 2014, 08:35:41 PM
 #90

The assumption is that people with high incomes receive more benefits from government spending, and I think that is the real problem if it is true. If everyone benefits equally from government spending, then it is only fair if everyone pays the same amount for those benefits.

People shouldn't benefit equally from state benefits, people in greater need should benefit more.

This is why I'm against all state benefits, so that everybody's equal.

I take it this is how you want the world to work then? "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." - Anatole France.

Yes, that's the way it works. Don't we represent justice with a blind woman?

An economic system is not a justice system.  There probably is no such thing as a fair tax but there are tax systems that are good for the economy and ones that are not.  If you have to choose a tax system, then the one to go for is the one that maximises economic development.


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March 28, 2014, 08:57:31 PM
 #91

Google "straw man" - I never proposed a progressive taxation system so need not defend one.

If you have no interest in taxing a millionaire at a higher rate than you do his janitor, then we agree.

I would not tax either of them a penny on their wealth or income.  The one with more property will pay more tax and if it happens to be the millionaire, he will reduce the wage he pays his janitor.  Call it trickle down taxation.

The important thing is that both are encouraged to employ their assets and there is no penalty for success.

If you are only taxing those who own property, then you're intentionally pushing people into renting rather than ownership.

And since the government owns 28% of the land in the U.S. - that's 28% that will never be taxed.

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March 28, 2014, 10:49:11 PM
 #92

Presuming a society has taxes (safe bet there,) some taxes could be considered more intrusive, less efficient, or generally worse than other taxes.

Which taxes do you feel are the least bad?

Bonus points for explaining why; double points for also pointing out the especially egregious taxes, and explaining why.


You missed the tax which is the least bad.

It is of course the tax that you levy on others and pay yourself with.  In fact you don't even see such a tax, because you pay your fair share of tax with other peoples' taxes.

From this perspective, all taxes are good, as they all provide you with tax free money in large amounts, and who would not like some of the good stuff?
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March 29, 2014, 08:53:48 AM
 #93

Google "straw man" - I never proposed a progressive taxation system so need not defend one.

If you have no interest in taxing a millionaire at a higher rate than you do his janitor, then we agree.

I would not tax either of them a penny on their wealth or income.  The one with more property will pay more tax and if it happens to be the millionaire, he will reduce the wage he pays his janitor.  Call it trickle down taxation.

The important thing is that both are encouraged to employ their assets and there is no penalty for success.

If you are only taxing those who own property, then you're intentionally pushing people into renting rather than ownership.

And since the government owns 28% of the land in the U.S. - that's 28% that will never be taxed.

Property tax on residential lettings is paid by the tenants through their rent.  If owning a property makes sense, the level of property tax is irrelevant as you pay it whether you own or rent.

I see no reason for the state to own 28% of the land.  If the government needs money, it can sell its land.  To my mind this is a major benefit of a property/resource tax - thanks for bringing it up.

Since tax is raised to meet a budget, no matter what tax you choose, the same amount of money gets raised.  Sales tax is more expensive to administer than a resource/property tax and it requires a ton of regulation and bureaucrats.  You can see why the property/resource tax option is most popular here :-)


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March 29, 2014, 03:00:27 PM
 #94

IMHO one of the most important criteria is what sort of collection system will be used.

With a land tax (and to some extent a more general property tax) the things being taxed are very public and well defined. The taxing authority has a database of the property being taxed and knows who the owners are. It needs these in order to defend the ownership rights in the first place. If someone doesn't pay their taxes, they can be allowed to stay on the property (if it is their domicile) until they die, with a lien being placed on the property.

On the other hand, most other forms of taxation are significantly easier to avoid. This is a bad thing because their ease of evasion leads directly to more invasive enforcement techniques. A sales tax, for example, ends up requiring a virtual police state where business owners become tax collection agents. A business owner who finds out a competitor is not collecting/paying all their taxes can report them, harming their competitors. Tax agents need to be granted the ability to look into everyone's business to ensure no one is avoiding their "fair share". Income taxes are one of the worst in this regard, requiring everyone to open their personal books up to tax collectors.

If your tax system requires a police state, that is pretty bad indeed.

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March 29, 2014, 05:37:03 PM
 #95

Google "straw man" - I never proposed a progressive taxation system so need not defend one.

If you have no interest in taxing a millionaire at a higher rate than you do his janitor, then we agree.

I would not tax either of them a penny on their wealth or income.  The one with more property will pay more tax and if it happens to be the millionaire, he will reduce the wage he pays his janitor.  Call it trickle down taxation.

The important thing is that both are encouraged to employ their assets and there is no penalty for success.

If you are only taxing those who own property, then you're intentionally pushing people into renting rather than ownership.

And since the government owns 28% of the land in the U.S. - that's 28% that will never be taxed.

Property tax on residential lettings is paid by the tenants through their rent.  If owning a property makes sense, the level of property tax is irrelevant as you pay it whether you own or rent.

Nope. Untrue.

You're now stating that people will be taxed even if they DON'T own property.

I see no reason for the state to own 28% of the land.  If the government needs money, it can sell its land.  To my mind this is a major benefit of a property/resource tax - thanks for bringing it up.

 Roll Eyes

Since tax is raised to meet a budget, no matter what tax you choose, the same amount of money gets raised.  Sales tax is more expensive to administer than a resource/property tax

Only because it would affect far less people.


and it requires a ton of regulation and bureaucrats.  You can see why the property/resource tax option is most popular here :-)

People are always in favor of someone else paying taxes.

But if you want a truly fair system, and one that takes the lowest amount of money from any person, it has to be a tax on EVERYONE.

The same argument was made not long ago by President Obama with regards to universal health insurance... EVERYONE has to be on it for it to make sense.

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Khadaji
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March 29, 2014, 05:42:52 PM
 #96

IMHO one of the most important criteria is what sort of collection system will be used.

With a land tax (and to some extent a more general property tax) the things being taxed are very public and well defined. The taxing authority has a database of the property being taxed and knows who the owners are. It needs these in order to defend the ownership rights in the first place. If someone doesn't pay their taxes, they can be allowed to stay on the property (if it is their domicile) until they die, with a lien being placed on the property.

On the other hand, most other forms of taxation are significantly easier to avoid. This is a bad thing because their ease of evasion leads directly to more invasive enforcement techniques. A sales tax, for example, ends up requiring a virtual police state where business owners become tax collection agents. A business owner who finds out a competitor is not collecting/paying all their taxes can report them, harming their competitors. Tax agents need to be granted the ability to look into everyone's business to ensure no one is avoiding their "fair share". Income taxes are one of the worst in this regard, requiring everyone to open their personal books up to tax collectors.

If your tax system requires a police state, that is pretty bad indeed.

That's strange... I pay sales tax virtually every day and I don't live in a police state...

In fact, based on your argument, most of the world is living in a police state:

http://www.tradingeconomics.com/country-list/sales-tax-rate

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March 30, 2014, 04:59:23 PM
 #97

That's strange... I pay sales tax virtually every day and I don't live in a police state...

Just because you are comfortable with your chains doesn't mean they don't exist.

Also, you might think that 'police state' only means an obvious and overwhelming show of force by police, constantly brutalizing the citizens openly; but you'd be wrong. One way you can tell you're in a police state is if a business can compete by ratting out a competitor to the government.

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March 30, 2014, 07:17:23 PM
 #98

By fare the worst tax is payroll tax. A tax on giving people jobs. Genieus. 

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March 30, 2014, 08:26:09 PM
 #99

Google "straw man" - I never proposed a progressive taxation system so need not defend one.

If you have no interest in taxing a millionaire at a higher rate than you do his janitor, then we agree.

I would not tax either of them a penny on their wealth or income.  The one with more property will pay more tax and if it happens to be the millionaire, he will reduce the wage he pays his janitor.  Call it trickle down taxation.

The important thing is that both are encouraged to employ their assets and there is no penalty for success.

If you are only taxing those who own property, then you're intentionally pushing people into renting rather than ownership.

And since the government owns 28% of the land in the U.S. - that's 28% that will never be taxed.

Property tax on residential lettings is paid by the tenants through their rent.  If owning a property makes sense, the level of property tax is irrelevant as you pay it whether you own or rent.

Nope. Untrue.

You're now stating that people will be taxed even if they DON'T own property.

...snip...

Um.  

That's exactly how property tax is paid.  The landlord factors in the tax when setting rent.

You surely don't imagine that landlords operate as kindly souls and pay the property tax out of the goodness of our hearts?


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Khadaji
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March 30, 2014, 10:10:36 PM
 #100

Google "straw man" - I never proposed a progressive taxation system so need not defend one.

If you have no interest in taxing a millionaire at a higher rate than you do his janitor, then we agree.

I would not tax either of them a penny on their wealth or income.  The one with more property will pay more tax and if it happens to be the millionaire, he will reduce the wage he pays his janitor.  Call it trickle down taxation.

The important thing is that both are encouraged to employ their assets and there is no penalty for success.

If you are only taxing those who own property, then you're intentionally pushing people into renting rather than ownership.

And since the government owns 28% of the land in the U.S. - that's 28% that will never be taxed.

Property tax on residential lettings is paid by the tenants through their rent.  If owning a property makes sense, the level of property tax is irrelevant as you pay it whether you own or rent.

Nope. Untrue.

You're now stating that people will be taxed even if they DON'T own property.

...snip...

Um.  

That's exactly how property tax is paid.  The landlord factors in the tax when setting rent.

You surely don't imagine that landlords operate as kindly souls and pay the property tax out of the goodness of our hearts?

Who goes to jail if the property tax isn't paid?

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