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View Diary: Morning Feature: Low Taxes: Pennywise and Pound Foolish? (155 comments)

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  •  That's a real misstatement of my words (0+ / 0-)

    of course.  I never said anything like that.  Economic philosophy is a continuum.  With respect to the money I earn, I put more emphasis on my work as the source of that income than you apparently do.  That's a fair disagreement.  It appears to me that you have made the assumption that the vast majority of upper income earners owe that earning capacity to the government and therefore should not mind having a large percentage of what they earn go to the government, since the government made it all possible.  That's a real generalization, of course.   And one that I disagree with.  

    I agree that I should pay taxes, and I agree that I should pay a higher percentage than people who don't earn as much -- but for the reasons I said, not because I think the government has "given" me, or continues to give me, any more than it has given everybody else.

    The devil is in the details.  I agree I should pay more. I agree I should pay a higher percentage.  I agree taxes must be progressive.   How much more, and for what -- those are the sticky details.

    The "what's yours is negotiable" is inappropriate.  

    •  We are a social species. (0+ / 0-)

      None of us accomplishes anything individually.  You didn't invent the internet, or the English language, but we're having this conversation.  Because someone else - a lot of someone elses, actually - did things that we can now use.

      You say you're a lawyer, but your income derives from your own effort.  That rather ignores the fact that law is a social institution, and its existence is one of the most direct functions of government.  You take its existence as a given, and consider only the work you do as contributing to your income.

      Why would the same reasoning not apply to someone who lives on government assistance?  They could argue the assistance programs are a given, and argue that they work for their income by filling out the application forms and otherwise maintaining their eligibility.  Their argument would be just as valid as yours.

      We're all most aware of our own efforts.  We're somewhat aware of the efforts of people with whom we have direct contact - family or roommates, and coworkers - but we usually underestimate what they do for us.  That's especially common if they do the things routinely and we don't see it done.  We take it for granted, and many a home or office argument has erupted over someone's false sense of being the only one who's doing his/her fair share.

      Expand that outside the circle of people with whom we have direct contact, and it's all too easy to be oblivious to others' contributions.  We think we're achieving our success by our own efforts, but only because we take others' contributions for granted.  It's like the joke about toilets: nobody notices if it works right, but if it fails we hear all about the shit.

      However intelligent and well educated you are, however gifted you may be as a lawyer, and however hard you work ... none of that would matter a damn but for the institution of law that is your chosen field.  That institution - a function of government - is the sine qua non of your profession.

      That institution is not a given.  Like any human system, it must be maintained or it will erode and collapse.  As it turns out, that institution is the sine qua non of any high-income lifestyle that is not expressly criminal, and the higher the non-criminal income, the more that income relies on the institution of law: real and personal property law, contracts, and the like.

      Those are government assistance programs, just like any other.  It's simply that the people who derive that assistance feel society owes it to them, while arguing society owes nothing to people who derive assistance from other government programs.

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