Minor Thoughts from me to you

Further Thoughts on Taxes and Spending

Further Thoughts on Taxes and Spending →

William Voegeli takes on the idea that “it’s absurd to cut spending because we tax the wealthiest Americans less today than we did in 1955”.

First he illustrates that today’s rich pay more in taxes than the rich of 1955 did. (They pay more in real dollar terms, even if they do pay less in percentage terms.) Then he cuts to the core of the moral argument.

If the principle is that the rich should pay higher taxes because they can more easily bear the rates, then we should keep raising tax rates until the rich can no longer bear them—until, that is, they're no longer rich. One need not be rich to find this prospect disquieting. A government that can take whatever it wants strikes a lot of people as unfair, and unfree.

He also points out that (many) blue states are net federal taxpayers while (many) red states are net federal tax recipients because “states with wealthier residents pay higher federal taxes per capita thanks to the progressive structure of the income tax”. If you don’t like the idea of states subsidizing each others’ residents, you need to scale back (or eliminate) the progressivity of the federal income tax.

I like this welfare reform idea too.

Buckley would confine eligibility for [Federal] welfare state programs to Americans living in states whose median income was below the national average. Because Buckley thought it was economically and politically debilitating to "turn the skies black with criss-crossing dollars," his reform would ground a lot of those dollars. Federal welfare expenditures would shrink, as the number of people eligible for them was limited, and prosperous states would pay for their own welfare programs without the transit and administrative fees of sending them on to Washington and then back to the states.

This reform would do much to take power away from Washington, D.C.

Only the poorest states would receive moneys from Washington. The more well to do states would spend their own money on welfare programs. Of course, they do that today too. But right now, that money goes through Washington (in the form of federal income taxes), where policitians get to attach rules and conditions to it, before sending it back to the states (as Medicaid payments or transportation funds or something else). If this reform were implemented, policitians would have many fewer opportunities to meddle and states would have a much greater freedom of action. That’s what I call a win-win scenario.