Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Question of Fairness

In my last post I bemoaned the lack of honesty within the GOP establishment when it comes to taxes. I noted that though many complain that half of the populace do not pay income tax, everyone pays some tax.  We've always debated taxes in this country and we are gong to keep debating taxes until the end. The unspoken issue in all the debates is this slippery word--FAIRNESS.

People and pundits like to talk about the economic reasons for certain tax rates and types. They argue that this tax is the best policy because of its economic and social benefits. But I believe, deep down in the heart of the pundit, the question they ask, is it far?

Now it is true that taxes have broad economic and social consequences and that some types of taxes and tax rates are better than others. Nevertheless, when people are debating taxes they are debating fairness. For example, conservatives like to point to the total dollar amounts that taxpayers pay. They say, we can't increase taxes, because the (super) rich already pay the lions share. Liberals, on the other hand, note that as a percentage of income the rich pay much less than the poor. Sure the (super) rich pay a massive dollar amount, but that is because they make a more massive amount from the US economy.

Of course, both are right. The highest 1% of taxpayers pay more than their share of income tax. And yes, the (middle class) poor, on average, pay the highest percentage of their income on taxes. It is just not usually income tax, but sales tax, property tax, excise, gas, and numerous other taxes.

What ruffles my feathers is that lack of honesty in the debate and the recognition that that the real question being debated is fairness.

2 comments:

  1. Dark Hair in WashingtonAugust 25, 2011 at 6:36 PM

    I heard James Madar does not pay taxes.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Of course he doesn't. He knows things...

    ReplyDelete