Open Message to the anti-tax crowd: move

Amazon’s definition of “unconstitutional” :

“We don’t like it”

I love all these people who whine about taxes.

Don’t like taxes? Move to Somalia. No functioning government since Bush the First – a libertarian paradise.

The anti-tax people complain about taxes but want the benefits of:

  • a functioning University system so that there are high-quality people to work at your cool start-up
  • a public school system that at the very least keeps kids off the street. (50% of California’s budget)
  • roads
  • police
  • prisons ( 10% of California’s budget )
  • state parks
  • a functioning emergency system for the next airline crash or the next earthquake
  • airports
  • Caltrain
  • weights and measures people to make sure that when you buy a gallon of gas you get your full gallon
  • code enforcement to make sure a restaurant is not serving 3 month-old rotten meat and the kitchen is not infested with cockroaches
  • zoning enforcement that stops your neighbor from running a chicken farm
  • labor laws that stop child labor and insist that your employer actually has to *pay* you
  • SEC laws that require that companies follow GAAP
  • laws that allow lawsuits and action against companies when they pollute the water you drink

Next time you think that the government does nothing for you. Spend some time finding out how badly mainland China, Dubai, or Yemen allows the powerful to abuse everyone else.

I can go on and on.

But seriously, grow up. You want to live in a civilized society? expect to pay for it — it does not come for free.

Oh sure, it isn’t perfect — fine make it better.

As for me, I am happy to pay taxes and enjoy the best state (California) in the US. There is no way I would move to another state that has worse laws.

Update 1:

A few other “unnecessary services” from the government:

Move to Somalia. Avoid these annoying bureaucrats!

Meanwhile think about this:

  1. In the 70’s corporations paid 2/3 of the taxes, today after a full generation of the rich whining about taxes corporations pay 1/3 of the taxes.
  2. 30 years after Prop 13, the biggest beneficiaries of Prop 13 are corporations because they never, never sell property ( 99-year leases anyone? ).

All this anti-tax rhetoric has allowed corporations to shift the tax purden to the individuals.

Maybe it is time to wake-up about this scam and stop buying into the anti-tax rhetoric so blindly.

Update 2:
More from TechCrunch:

State governments assess “emergency” tax measures to get quick money because they can’t bear the thought of making the tough choices necessary to cut spending

Hmmm… so in hard economic times, when a social safety net is that much more important you want states to cut funding.

So from your perspective:

  • Unemployment insurance
  • Job retraining programs
  • Community Colleges
  • 4-year public universities
  • subsidized day care
  • subsidized elder care
  • Section 8 housing assistance
  • School lunch programs
  • morning/afternoon pre-/post- school day programs
  • community grants for starting a new business

Should all be cut.

Someone who has just been laid off can try to job hunt and compete with 500 applicants hoping they can keep their head above water economically;

Or

they can return to school and complete their AA degree or the BS, or get their MBA using the above listed services to make it economically possible.

By providing these services, a state enables their citizens to be more valuable and more productive when the economy turns around.

The single mom ( or dad ) may start the downturn with no college education. Through the services listed above, this single parent could end up with a degree that will enable them to double their income. Or give them the skills to start their own business.

Yet you make the interesting choice that states should remove this opportunity to turn economic lemons into lemonade.

Interesting. I am curious why you think that a less-educated workforce is a good choice?

I should add that Herbert Hoover was wildly successful at cutting government spending in the Great Depression. I am curious do you think this was successful for him? If not how is the same approach going to be successful today?

Errata Note: Original post referred to Ethiopia. The correct country should have been Somalia. I usually know my geography much better. However, since Somalia now has a government (as of December 2008), the last John Galt paradise is gone. Thanks to Peter for pointing this error out.

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5 Responses to Open Message to the anti-tax crowd: move

  1. Marc says:

    Pat, I actually agree with all your points on what we gain from taxes. On TC I was just pointing out that the states are prohibited from levying tariffs against one another. So I think Amazon has a valid point about it being unconstitutional as well. I think the playing field needs to be kept more even between the states. I’d be more in favor of a national sales tax or VAT than every state having different rules. That would just create tons of paperwork for every multistate business. I’m happy to pay my taxes and pleased with what they provide for.

  2. Marc says:

    PS – Great blog too. I’d agree with just about all your opinions and I read through 7 pages.

  3. patrick says:

    @Marc —

    Thanks for stopping by and correcting my impression.

    And Amazon may be right about the constitutionality of the tax. However, anytime a business whines about a tax I get a little bent. Businesses always claim some new tax is a “job destroyer” — which rarely turns out to be the case.

    As someone who is running his own business, my first concern is getting the right people so the business is profitable and I get the privilege of paying taxes! Moving to some low-cost/low-tax location would be self-defeating. My biggest expense is health care. If there was a nationalize health care system (and taxes to support it), instantly I would be able to hire 2 more people. But health care requires taxes.

    I do think our tax code is a disaster that penalizes and rewards the wrong activities. I hate sales tax because it is regressive and hits the poor the hardest — making it harder for the poor to better themselves. I love the estate tax. An estate taxes transferred wealth. Wealth made possible by the society. An estate tax of 50% on a $5million estate still means the heir gets $2.5 million that they didn’t earn.

    Thanks again for the complement and the visit.

  4. Peters says:

    Ethiopia has no functioning government? Really? Because last time I checked, Addis Ababa was not only a stable governing region, but head of the entire African Union. If you meant Somalia there might be something to be said. California Secretary of state did nothing to stop Diebold, unless by that you mean taking giant bribes to keep their machines going. Nevada is the only state that has managed to come up with anything resembling a secure digital voting system because (surprise surprise) they contacted the casinos to build a secure system with a paper trail (knowing that casinos pride themselves on security and knowing where all of their money is going). The 70s were a decade gripped by job losses, recession, and energy crisis. The fact is that the constitution is pretty specific on what it allows the federal government to do, and what is left to the local levels of government. This has always been intended to be a nation of low taxation and maximum individual choice. California has one of the most progressive taxation rates on its people and one of the highest corporate taxes for the entire nation, and also the most severe economic problems.

    I have a question though, when Bernie Madoff took 50bn and you were so angry that nobody would get the money they paid in back from the ponzi scheme…Why do you feel no similar sense of rage when you see that you will never get the 40% of your income through retirement that social security was supposed to offer. Why don’t you get angry when you realize that the only way for social security or medicare to really work is to either have an ever expanding population to tax, or to slowly ratchet the taxes up on the remaining contributors.

    Once upon a time people in this country were taught that you work hard and live on as little of your income as possible, because you would always have to save for those days that would bring hardship.

    A further note…the time in which the highest percentage of americans were insured was the period before the government started getting involved and trying to create ‘competing public options.’

    The truth is that people should look at the constitution and when it doesn’t agree with their taxation philosophies, they should be the ones who move to a nation with a social contract that fits their philosophical beliefs.

  5. patrick says:

    @Peters —

    Thanks for correcting the country. You are right the country I meant was Somalia. The post has been corrected.

    Re; California Secretary of State : You couldn’t be more wrong. Debra Bowen the current SoS has been all over the Diebold mess. Debra is one of those rare politicians who views their job as being a public servant. Take a look at this page with the decisions she has made.. If Debra was taking “bribes” from Diebold, then please explain why Debra Bowen DECERTIFIED Diebold machines?

    Re: analogy to casinos. This is a false comparison on the audit ability. The problem with voting machines is that they need to preserve anonymous voting. ATMs and casinos as you pointed out know the people and go through a great deal of effort to connect the “paper” trail. Voting machines have to explicitly break the paper trail back to an identifiable voter.

    Re: California’s tax structure. You are forgetting that the high California taxes created a (now gutted) high quality education system. This education system created the high-quality talent that has fueled the Silicon Valley. This SJ Biz Journal article says that businesses are leaving California not because of taxes but because of dropping worker quality:

    [Education cuts] doesn’t bode well for the business community, either.

    “These cuts will really affect our ability to provide the kind of workers Silicon Valley needs,” said Pat Lopes Harris, director of media relations for San Jose State University.

    California somehow managed to have “high” taxes and still become the 7th largest economy in the world. This is the clearest indication that: Taxes are. not. the. problem.

    Peters:

    when Bernie Madoff took 50bn and you were so angry that nobody would get the money they paid in back from the ponzi scheme

    Actually, I wasn’t. I was outraged that the regulators and the Bush the lesser White House let this happen. I was outraged that Sen. Phil Graham (R-Tx) screwed Americans so bad.

    Peters:

    Why do you feel no similar sense of rage when you see that you will never get the 40% of your income through retirement that social security was supposed to offer?

    Why? For the same reason that I am not unhappy when I don’t collect on my fire insurance, disability, or my car insurance! Social Security was never intend to be a pension – it is an INSURANCE policy to keep people out of absolute poverty in their old age. If I don’t have to collect on an insurance policy, any insurance policy that means something bad did not happen!

    Peters:

    Once upon a time people in this country were …

    in a galaxy far, far away…

    Yes and we also had lots of kids because kids were expected to support their parents in their old age. We also had children working in the fields (still do) and in factories. A High School diploma was rare and a College education was a luxury.

    News flash: The Veterans Administration (created 1929) and the Medicare/Medicaid system (created 1965) have existed for quite sometime. Federal workers have been insured by the federal government as well. So I assume you are talking to some time before 1930. Seems a lot has changed since then.

    Peters:

    people should look at the constitution and when it doesn’t agree with their taxation philosophies

    Actually, you should do the looking. The Founding Fathers (in the Declaration of Independence) not constitution were not against taxation but only against taxation without representation.

    Article I Section 8:

    The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

    No mention of “…and keep them “low”

    Amendment 16:

    The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

    Still looking for that “and keep the taxes low”

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