The other day, someone brought up, why we have to pay income taxes, because it was robbery. I started writing this, and noticed it was a bit long, so I moved it here.
“Let’s take this one guy’s idea of tolls and private businesses being awesome, and the other idea that income tax is evil robbery and take it to its conclusions.
First off, let’s say I’m a single parent with one child recently unemployed because of the recession, at no fault of my own. First thing to note, is that everything is more expensive because there is no income tax and the bare minimum of funding is coming from a higher and broadly implemented sales tax. That means, buying food, buying clothes, buying every day things we take for granted, become more expensive every time I make a purchase. These point of sale surcharges get added to my bank, to my telephone, to my utilities, to roads, to parks, to libraries,…
It’s harder for me to juggle feeding my child, while paying for clothes for job interviews, paying bills and rent, while buying just the every day crap that I need to get by. And the people with jobs, who are able to, but not paying income taxes, are being charged at relatively the same level as people who can’t pay the bills or have a hard time feeding their children (aad the wealthy pay 1% or less of income on essential items).
As one person suggested, since toll roads are awesome and in this scenario take over instead of direct taxes. That means it becomes increasingly cost prohibitive of me to go to interviews, and even think about daily commuting to a job because of tolls. Now, I’m paying $10 a day or $2,600 a year. That’s in addition to any increase in taxes on gas which is currently really relatively cheap in the US. So, what if that’s too much money? Then I have to look into jobs that are only along bus routes, if public buses still exist or if they are more expensive since privatizing (which is why taxi’s are more expensive than public transportation). Since jobs tend to be located away from poorer areas, you can probably tack on an extra 2 hours of commuting time…away from parenting…if I can afford it.
Now again, with this new “private companies are better” idea, libraries get turned over to Barnes & Noble. As someone who doesn’t have a computer or internet service because it’s too expensive, I have to go Barnes & Noble, which now has computers set up for internet access, for $15 an hour of internet. I also now am forced to pay for books, that previously I could check out, limiting the reading my child is doing while growing up.
Then, parks also get turned over to private companies, which then require me to pay a toll every time I want to take my kid there. Whatever, maybe reading and parks should be accessed depending on your wealth.
Speaking of which, since public schooling was too expensive to maintain at its current level, there are mostly private schools with only a few public schools which have gone down the crapper. Now the education my child is receiving is even worse, and of course with the ballooning cost of education, there is no chance he will be able to afford college, and he can also look forward also to a future of poverty. YAY! I guess that’s for the best, since I need my kid to work so that we can pay the bills.
So what happens when you take this situation and spread it across the estimated 20% of people actually out of jobs? So what happens then? There are more people who end up going bankrupt, more children going hungry, crime becomes more attractive and easier than finding and then maintaining a job, the already exploding prison population just gets worse, there are more kids with absentee parents, if there is any sort of welfare left, (probably not), then that would explode it all leads back to the same poverty. And truthfully, that just makes our system less fair. It creates a system where children are not educated, people are in poverty, it becomes harder to get out of poverty, people in poverty are not even really consumers at this point let alone innovators, either way they would need to reply further on resources such as health care/emergency room costs, homeless shelters/programs, rehabilitation programs, soup kitchens, huge foster child programs. That’s hoping these non-governmental institutions were able to step up to the challenge, which I think is next to impossible. You and I will help foot the bill no matter what or live in a place resembling a third world country.
Income taxes spread out the burden of taxation, so it’s not an overly financial burden to any one person, it’s having more people group up and pay less. As opposed to the idea of sales and toll taxes which just makes you pay more money at every single instance of life. Every time I want to walk down the street, they would nickle and dime me. The result is, your average person can end up paying a higher percentage of their income, just because they wanted to walk outside for a day, and had to pay tolls and extra taxes. Making life more expensive and difficult for people who are already having a rough life. It’s the same kind of influences that make getting life out of poverty nearly impossible.
This is what it means to have regressive taxation and to support those policies…and why we don’t do it.