Welcome guest, is this your first visit? Create Account now to join.
  • Login:

Welcome to the Online Debate Network.

If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above. You may have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 26

Thread: Fair Share

  1. #1
    ODN Community Regular

    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    6,391
    Post Thanks / Like

    Fair Share

    I heard this position from Charles Krauthammer, but I'll attempt to paraphrase as best I can.

    The Democrats have several favorite talking points when it comes to taxation. One of those talking points centers on wealthy Americans paying their fair share. So, the rhetorical question asked by Republicans is, what is this so-called fair share? The answer is always vague and predicated on need.

    In reality, Republicans should counter with the following:
    The fair share of each and every American starts at 0% taxation. From there, we then figure out what it costs to pay for our roads, infrastructure, and common defense. Then we figure out what it costs to provide a basic safety net for those Americans truly impoverished. Then, we tax Americans accordingly. It is fair to make wealthier Americans pay a little more, but there is no such thing as paying one's fair share. Paying taxes isn't a moral cause. There is nothing that makes paying more taxes equivalent to acting morally. That is Krauthammer's central point here. The Democrats have made taxation a moral claim. This isn't about morality. It is about funding the government. Giving to charity, tithing the church, etc. are moral behaviors. They are not compulsory. They are done by choice in an effort to do good for someone else. Paying taxes is not equivalent. Paying taxes is as moral as paying your water bill. You do it to obtain a service and you should expect some level of service once you've paid.

    I think Republicans have allowed themselves to fall into the trap of arguing on the Democrat's premise and this is a mistake.
    The U.S. is currently enduring a zombie apocalypse. However, in a strange twist, the zombie's are starving.

  2. Likes MindTrap028 liked this post
  3. #2
    Administrator

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Fairfax, VA
    Posts
    10,673
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Fair Share

    I think somewhat related to your position is the moral requirement to pay taxes. Certainly there must be some moral reason to remove wealth and use it. National Defense is usually one such agreed upon reason. We all generally agree that there is a benefit to providing a defense against invasion, repression, etc.

    Given that, the amount and proportions should be related to the moral reason right?

    IE if I consume far more national defense than you do, it would seem logical for me to pay more. But that is rarely the argument put forward, usually it revolves around ability to pay. That seems like an odd reason for the basis of taxation. If the rich have the ability to pay for our social services, don't the unemployed have the time available to be conscripted into some service? If resources available is the metric, why are we arbitrarily limiting those resources in the way we are?
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


  4. #3
    Owner / Senior Admin

    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    19,394
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Fair Share

    I think the op's argument is flawed. The morality comes from having an obligation to the state. That obligation will vary between individuals based on capability. I don't know if we are discussing hypothetical here, like coming up with a "best" tax system or addressing the current tax system. If we are addressing a "best" system, then the obligation ought to include: capability and consumption (which is why I personally favor "Fair Tax", which admittedly, leans quite a bit more on the "consumption" side).

    However, if we are addressing merely the current system and are really just using the basics of capability, then obviously, those with more, will pay more. But how much do people pay? Do we say "10% of all income unless that income is < $X"? That's what we have currently of course, and is probably a good approach.

    When "fair" is used as a qualifier, it is rarely actually quantified. In fact, I cannot recall a single occasion where a Democrat or liberal who has called for the wealthy to pay for their "fair share" that the term "fair share" is actually defined. It's usually argued in a very general sense.

    Admittedly, I've found myself becoming more liberal in some policies. I think that is because I've learned over the past year about how much of a serious wealth and income disparity this country actually has, and how that disparity has only existed in the last 20 years or so and is showing no sign of stopping. This does have a profound effect on the nation and all people. It is not the case that the uber-wealthy gain without consequences to other groups and classes (but that's for another thread IMO). Perhaps it's also because my personal income (or that of my family's) has been in both extremes. I've personally made a 6 figure income (while the real estate industry was booming), although it was short-lived. But I've also had to survive on under $20k, in Southern Cali, with a family of 4. It's near impossible. I've been able to give to others (which I really enjoy doing) and I've been in a position that I've needed help from others (which I hated, felt demasculinized, defeated, embarrassed).

    Now, if we could have a Fair Tax system, I'd be all for it...simple, easy, does the job IMO. But that's the hypothetical. So addressing the "current" system, I do believe that as the income increases, a larger percentage of taxes ought to exist, again, like our current system. I do not know what that percent is, I don't know enough about the tax system or economics to provide firm brackets or income windows.

    But I disagree with the claim "Using 'fair share' as an argument is fallacious because it is not an issue of morality." Morality is simply a prescription of what ought to be. If an obligation exists, then obviously, there is a state of affairs where something exists that ought to be...that is what is meant by "obligation." All people who can afford to pay taxes have an obligation to pay taxes. And I think that the more wealthy someone is, they have an obligation to pay more (compared to someone who can barely afford to buy food for their family). It doesn't make sense to me to tell someone "I know you will go hungry this week, but you must contribute financially to your country's economy FIRST, before caring for your own."

    In this sense...the poor person's "fair share" ought to be $0. They need to support themselves first before they support their country financially. The "fair share" of the wealthy person will be more than the poor person of course. But again, I don't know what that figure would be, nor what percentage, etc...

    Most of this may have just been rambling, it may not have been what you are looking for, if so, sorry.
    -=]Apokalupsis[=-
    Senior Administrator
    -------------------------

    I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. - Thomas Jefferson




  5. #4
    Administrator

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Fairfax, VA
    Posts
    10,673
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Fair Share

    But what is the basis for that obligation? Certainly we don't incur an obligation to the state simply because it is the state?

    ---------- Post added at 11:48 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:45 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Admittedly, I've found myself becoming more liberal in some policies. I think that is because I've learned over the past year about how much of a serious wealth and income disparity this country actually has, and how that disparity has only existed in the last 20 years or so and is showing no sign of stopping.
    I would be careful in assuming that is true, especially with income distribution. I'm guessing you are referring to the studies that base their comparison on households in quintiles?

    That being said, I would agree that the upper earners in this country have a disproportionate ability to minimize their tax burden. That is the nature of a powerful state, when you have a state capable of making complex rules and wiling to do so, it becomes advantageous to lobby for those rules to occur on your behalf.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


  6. #5
    Owner / Senior Admin

    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    19,394
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Fair Share

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    But what is the basis for that obligation? Certainly we don't incur an obligation to the state simply because it is the state?
    Sure we do. The basis for that obligation is being a member of that state. It's a "social contract" made by each member of society, to that society. We have more than just paying taxes as an obligation, we have agreement to be obedient to the law where the law is not immoral (Locke), and others would say that regardless of the moral value of the law, it ought to be followed no matter what (Hobbes). The latter is more extreme and I disagree with it as I think most people would.

    More on social contract there here: http://www.onlinedebate.net/forums/s...ontract-Theory


    I would be careful in assuming that is true, especially with income distribution. I'm guessing you are referring to the studies that base their comparison on households in quintiles?
    I don't assume it to be true, I acknowledge it to be true. I'm basing that conclusion on several studies. An excellent book on the topic: http://www.amazon.com/Winner-Take-Al...dp/1416588701/

    However, the authors were interviewed on Bill Moyers, which is available for free, and you can get the main arguments from just watching that video if you have the time: http://vimeo.com/35036408

    However, this is a side argument that probably isn't necessary to address the issue of "Fair Share", so I won't highlight the text and video portions as if they are being argued, I only offer the links for those who are curious.
    -=]Apokalupsis[=-
    Senior Administrator
    -------------------------

    I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. - Thomas Jefferson




  7. #6
    Administrator

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Fairfax, VA
    Posts
    10,673
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Fair Share

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Sure we do. The basis for that obligation is being a member of that state. It's a "social contract" made by each member of society, to that society. We have more than just paying taxes as an obligation, we have agreement to be obedient to the law where the law is not immoral (Locke), and others would say that regardless of the moral value of the law, it ought to be followed no matter what (Hobbes). The latter is more extreme and I disagree with it as I think most people would.

    More on social contract there here: http://www.onlinedebate.net/forums/s...ontract-Theory

    However, the authors were interviewed on Bill Moyers, which is available for free, and you can get the main arguments from just watching that video if you have the time: http://vimeo.com/35036408
    The contract makes us responsible for some form of taxation, not for an individual level or rate of taxation.

    The OP isn't arguing that the state has no mechanism for taxation, but that the individual marginal taxation must be justified. Just as a business contract might have a mechanism for reward or penalty payments for performance doesn't mean that they are automatically obligated to pay them, a condition must be met that justifies the payment.

    Likewise the social contract comes with conditions, the state's nature as a state allows it to tax us, but how much it taxes us must be based on an obligation incurred within the contract.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apok
    I don't assume it to be true, I acknowledge it to be true. I'm basing that conclusion on several studies. An excellent book on the topic: http://www.amazon.com/Winner-Take-Al...dp/1416588701/
    The premise of this book is related to the second issue I mentioned, that there is a governmental protection system for the most able amongst us to influence politicians.

    That however is an extremely small minority of people. You're statement (unless I misread you) was discussing the perceived income gap, which is far more a product of the development of an advanced economy then it is of some kind of inter-generational disparity.

    An excellent book on the subject is:
    http://www.amazon.com/Economic-Facts.../dp/0465022030

    A good quote of which can be found here:

    http://allfinancialmatters.com/2012/...me-inequality/
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


  8. #7
    Owner / Senior Admin

    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    19,394
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Fair Share

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    The contract makes us responsible for some form of taxation, not for an individual level or rate of taxation.
    I agree.

    The OP isn't arguing that the state has no mechanism for taxation, but that the individual marginal taxation must be justified. Just as a business contract might have a mechanism for reward or penalty payments for performance doesn't mean that they are automatically obligated to pay them, a condition must be met that justifies the payment.

    Likewise the social contract comes with conditions, the state's nature as a state allows it to tax us, but how much it taxes us must be based on an obligation incurred within the contract.
    I agree. But there are 2 issues here...

    1) How much should an individual pay? This will be determined by a variety of factors I would imagine, but primarily "capability" I suppose.

    2) Is there a moral obligation for those who have more, to pay more?

    It is #2 that is actually being argued here. #1 is the HOW if #2 is "Yes."

    The premise of this book is related to the second issue I mentioned, that there is a governmental protection system for the most able amongst us to influence politicians.
    Yes, which is something I oppose.

    That however is an extremely small minority of people.
    True, but that is the problem. It's the fact that such a few amount of people determine policy for the masses, policies that influence their lives through the economy and culture. I find that problematic.

    You're statement (unless I misread you) was discussing the perceived income gap, which is far more a product of the development of an advanced economy then it is of some kind of inter-generational disparity.
    I don't know that "advanced" is the right word, it seems to me, that if it were "advanced" in the most technical sense, such disparities would be accounted for by reasonable means.

    An excellent book on the subject is:
    http://www.amazon.com/Economic-Facts.../dp/0465022030

    A good quote of which can be found here:

    http://allfinancialmatters.com/2012/...me-inequality/
    I'll add it to my wish list.
    -=]Apokalupsis[=-
    Senior Administrator
    -------------------------

    I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. - Thomas Jefferson




  9. #8
    Administrator

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Fairfax, VA
    Posts
    10,673
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Fair Share

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    1) How much should an individual pay? This will be determined by a variety of factors I would imagine, but primarily "capability" I suppose.
    Which was the heart of my original post. There must be some obligation incurred that makes an individual responsible for the payment. It is insufficient to say someone must pay simply because they have money. Under that metric the rate of taxation bears no inherent link to the services provided by government. My comment revolved around that need to tie the individual rates to some sort of contractual action provided by government.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apok
    2) Is there a moral obligation for those who have more, to pay more?

    It is #2 that is actually being argued here. #1 is the HOW if #2 is "Yes."
    Agreed, the question I was asking originally relates directly to this question. If there is an obligation it should be more substantive than just "they have more" right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apok
    Yes, which is something I oppose.
    And I along with you. It is the natural bi-product of a regulative government, which is one of the reasons I oppose that structure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apok
    True, but that is the problem. It's the fact that such a few amount of people determine policy for the masses, policies that influence their lives through the economy and culture. I find that problematic.
    Totally agree here, I think it is morally and socially problematic. I think it is different than the question of overall income distribution though. And we also come to the question of how to handle it. Removing wealth from them by empowering the government is a bit self-defeating since you hand over more power that can be manipulated to their ends. I think we both agree that the FT is a far better system of taxation, in part, because it removes that ability to monkey with the system.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apok
    I don't know that "advanced" is the right word, it seems to me, that if it were "advanced" in the most technical sense, such disparities would be accounted for by reasonable means.
    Allow me to rephrase. I mean an advancing economy. The nature of the major portion of the income gap is the fact that people at the peak of their earning capacity are making (in real terms) far more than their fathers were when they were at the peak of the their earning capacity, while meanwhile teenagers and retirees (the vast bulk of lower quintiles) aren't really producing more than they were thirty or forty years ago.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apok
    I'll add it to my wish list.
    Anything with Sowell in thy by line ;-)
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


  10. #9
    Owner / Senior Admin

    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    19,394
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Fair Share

    It seems we agree for the most part on the tertiary ideas. The main issue however is "Are those with more, obligated to give more?" So let's zero in on that target a bit more.

    Would you agree that a family of 4 with a household income of $500,000 ought to pay more dollars in taxes than a family of 4 with a household income of $20,000? Why or why not?
    -=]Apokalupsis[=-
    Senior Administrator
    -------------------------

    I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. - Thomas Jefferson




  11. #10
    Administrator

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Fairfax, VA
    Posts
    10,673
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Fair Share

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Would you agree that a family of 4 with a household income of $500,000 ought to pay more dollars in taxes than a family of 4 with a household income of $20,000? Why or why not?
    Not necessarily. I think it depends on their benefit from public expenditures. Lets simplify the example a bit and say that the government only pays for territorial defense. I don't think that anything inherent in the benefit family 1 is receiving that is different either in scope or level from family 2.

    Let me expand a bit on why I think the simple capacity to pay is morally problematic in this situation. If we were to allow for a progressive rate in this circumstance we are inherently subsidizing family 2's consumption of marginal government spending.

    If we were to say that family 1 had to pay five times more than family 1 for every additional tax dollar then family 2 is only paying 20 cents for every dollar they vote in spending. That produces a very dangerous set of incentives.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


  12. #11
    Owner / Senior Admin

    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    19,394
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Fair Share

    But when people argue for "fair share"...are they arguing for it in a hypothetical, nonexistent, potential tax system...such as you have proposed (focused only on consumption) or is the context of their argument that of our current tax system?

    Furthermore, are you suggesting that (1) it is the case that 1 family pays more than another and this is not fair or are you saying that (2) 1 family should not have to pay more than another family?
    Last edited by Apokalupsis; December 14th, 2012 at 11:46 AM.
    -=]Apokalupsis[=-
    Senior Administrator
    -------------------------

    I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. - Thomas Jefferson




  13. #12
    Administrator

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Fairfax, VA
    Posts
    10,673
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Fair Share

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    But when people argue for "fair share"...are they arguing for it in a hypothetical, nonexistent, potential tax system...such as you have proposed (focused only on consumption) or is the context of their argument that of our current tax system?
    As I understand it in the context of the current system. Does the current system mean that those who have more by their nature have consumed more government?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apok
    Furthermore, are you suggesting that (1) it is the case that 1 family pays more than another and this is not fair or are you saying that (2) 1 family should not have to pay more than another family?
    All things being equal yes. IE if they both receive the same benefit from governmental services, it seems odd that one is required to pay more simply because they earned more income.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


  14. #13
    ODN Community Regular

    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    6,391
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Fair Share

    Gee golly. Let me try to refocus the topic. I am not arguing that a specific tax strategy is better than another. I am arguing that there is nothing that makes paying taxes moral. In other words, paying more taxes does not make me moral than my neighbor who may pay less. We all have a zero percent moral obligation to be taxed. If we have a moral obligation to care for our neighbor, it is done via our own personal will and desire, not through taxes. To prove this, we can do so through contradiction:

    1. Two people's income is equivalent, X and Y.
    2. X was more agressive in finding tax exemptions.
    3. Y paid more in taxes.
    4. Y is charged and incarcerated for tax fraud.
    5. Y is a more moral person than X when we can clearly see that Y is a criminal while X is not.

    This simplistic (overly simplistic) proof, demonstrates that taxes paid is not a basis for judging someone's morality.
    The U.S. is currently enduring a zombie apocalypse. However, in a strange twist, the zombie's are starving.

  15. #14
    Owner / Senior Admin

    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    19,394
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Fair Share

    Quote Originally Posted by Squatch347 View Post
    As I understand it in the context of the current system. Does the current system mean that those who have more by their nature have consumed more government?
    Nope. Which is precisely why saying "Fair share refers to consumption" doesn't work.

    All things being equal yes. IE if they both receive the same benefit from governmental services, it seems odd that one is required to pay more simply because they earned more income.
    Well, then you disagree with the op. You DO believe it is a moral issue. You are here now saying it is immoral for 1 family to pay more than another. That is fine. The issue isn't necessarily which is more moral, or which is moral and which is immoral...but rather is the issue a moral issue or not? You have agreed with me that it is a moral issue and disagreed with the op when it says it is not a moral issue.
    -=]Apokalupsis[=-
    Senior Administrator
    -------------------------

    I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. - Thomas Jefferson




  16. #15
    Administrator

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Fairfax, VA
    Posts
    10,673
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Fair Share

    Quote Originally Posted by Ibelsd View Post
    Gee golly. Let me try to refocus the topic. I am not arguing that a specific tax strategy is better than another. I am arguing that there is nothing that makes paying taxes moral. In other words, paying more taxes does not make me moral than my neighbor who may pay less. We all have a zero percent moral obligation to be taxed. If we have a moral obligation to care for our neighbor, it is done via our own personal will and desire, not through taxes. To prove this, we can do so through contradiction
    Are you saying there is no obligation to pay any taxes at all or no obligation to pay any taxes in excess of anyone else?

    So even if I knowingly accept a benefit from the state's existence, say national defense, I have no obligation to contribute to that benefit?

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Nope. Which is precisely why saying "Fair share refers to consumption" doesn't work.
    Not sure what we are disagreeing about. Assuming the current system, I don't see a moral argument for those who have a higher income paying more than those with a lower income unless they somehow consume more legitimate government services.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apok
    Well, then you disagree with the op. You DO believe it is a moral issue. You are here now saying it is immoral for 1 family to pay more than another. That is fine. The issue isn't necessarily which is more moral, or which is moral and which is immoral...but rather is the issue a moral issue or not? You have agreed with me that it is a moral issue and disagreed with the op when it says it is not a moral issue.
    Oh yes, I do agree it is a moral issue. I think it is immoral to tax one citizen at a different rate when they have not consumed more of the good that brought on the cost.
    "Suffering lies not with inequality, but with dependence." -Voltaire
    "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” -G.K. Chesterton
    Also, if you think I've overlooked your post please shoot me a PM, I'm not intentionally ignoring you.


  17. #16
    ODN Community Regular

    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    6,391
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Fair Share

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Nope. Which is precisely why saying "Fair share refers to consumption" doesn't work.


    Well, then you disagree with the op. You DO believe it is a moral issue. You are here now saying it is immoral for 1 family to pay more than another. That is fine. The issue isn't necessarily which is more moral, or which is moral and which is immoral...but rather is the issue a moral issue or not? You have agreed with me that it is a moral issue and disagreed with the op when it says it is not a moral issue.
    This is the liberal trap. Not paying taxes is somehow immoral. So, is it immoral for a company like Google to take advantage of tax shelters that allow them to pay less in taxes? Is taking advantage of your mortgage interest deduction immoral because it lowers your tax burden? Is arguing for lower taxes an argument for an increase in immorality? Fair share is a moral argument which conservatives have deftly fallen for. It is a losing position. If paying more taxes (i.e. one's fair share) is the moral position, then fair will always be more than is currently being taxed. One can always be increasingly moral until they have given all their income to the government. By contrast, paying zero in taxes is the unfair (i.e. immoral position). This is a bogus argument. Taxation is not a moral position at all. It is a practical decision that is made to fund society. The question of how much should be based upon the very basic functions we desire for our government. So, Republicans should lay out a government that provides roads, infrastructure, defense, and a basic safety net and then tell the taxpayer here is the bill and collect the taxes to pay for those servcies. The Democrats should offer the exact same list with the items they believe should be funded by taxes and then offer their own bill to the people. One tax bill is not more moral or immoral. It is simply the cost of conducting the government of our choice. If fair share is related to one's participation in government spending, then nearly half of all Americans are immoral since they pay absolutely no income tax.
    The U.S. is currently enduring a zombie apocalypse. However, in a strange twist, the zombie's are starving.

  18. #17
    Owner / Senior Admin

    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    19,394
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Fair Share

    Disclaimer: I don't fully understand the liberal argument. Most liberals don't seem to either want to defend their position or they simply cannot. And since no true liberal is stepping up to the plate, and because I'm more moderate anyway, I'll try my best to defend the liberal position.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ibelsd View Post
    Gee golly. Let me try to refocus the topic. I am not arguing that a specific tax strategy is better than another. I am arguing that there is nothing that makes paying taxes moral. In other words, paying more taxes does not make me moral than my neighbor who may pay less. We all have a zero percent moral obligation to be taxed. If we have a moral obligation to care for our neighbor, it is done via our own personal will and desire, not through taxes. To prove this, we can do so through contradiction:

    1. Two people's income is equivalent, X and Y.
    2. X was more agressive in finding tax exemptions.
    3. Y paid more in taxes.
    4. Y is charged and incarcerated for tax fraud.
    5. Y is a more moral person than X when we can clearly see that Y is a criminal while X is not.

    This simplistic (overly simplistic) proof, demonstrates that taxes paid is not a basis for judging someone's morality.
    No one said that "taxes paid" equates to someone's moral act though. And as I understand it, that isn't the argument offered by liberals in their claims that the wealthy ought to pay their "fair share." The issue isn't numerical amount of taxes paid, but rather the obligation TO pay taxes in the first place and this has always been based upon ability to pay.

    Squatch has already answered, but I'll ask you too:

    Would you agree that a family of 4 with a household income of $500,000 ought to pay more dollars in taxes than a family of 4 with a household income of $20,000? Why or why not?

    Now Squatch said "not necessarily" meaning that the family in poverty ought to pay taxes EVEN THOUGH they cannot pay for food. The result of Squatch's argument is that EVERY family, regardless of their financial state of being, ought to put the state first and foremost instead of their own family. And I absolutely oppose this without hesitation and reservation. I also forgot to bring that point up to Squatch, so I'll let Squatch defend that argument a bit more if he wishes.

    But I believe it is immoral to insist that all people, regardless of their financial well-being, ought to pay the exact same amount numerically. For example...in 2013, the projected amount of revenue in taxes the IRS will collect will be $2.9 Trillion. 47% of this is paid through income taxes...and 47% of 2.9T is $1.54T. There are approximately 230 million tax payers (rounding up for benefit of the doubt as there were 217M in 2008) To keep things simple (as you did above), if we had it so that every family paid the exact same amount it would be the case that ($1.54 Trillion / 230 Million tax payers = $6,682 each tax payer would pay).

    Now I'm sure the wealthy would love this. But what does this do to our poor and even a substantial portion of our middle class? It absolutely crushes them. It creates an even greater disparity between the classes and ultimately would lead to an oligarchy IMO. Our poor and middle-class makes up the vast majority of this country. When a family of 4, trying to survive on $20k (since apparently, there exists no difference between them and a $500K/year family when considering obligation), has to pay over 1/4 of that back to the government...complete and utter chaos results. We are talking serious havoc in the country, where shanty towns become the norm. When people who struggle just to buy food and clothing are taken even that from them, nothing but bad things happen.

    Our current system, and even ALL 100% proposed systems (Fair Tax, Flat Tax, etc...) are based on "ability to pay." If you can pay more, then your obligation is to pay more. It makes no sense to place an undue burden on the poorest of people so that the wealthiest, who do very well (even by their own merits mind you), can do even better. It's proposing a system that values ONLY the wealthy as individuals and contributors and devalues everyone else. It is at heart, an immoral system as it reduces the intrinsic value of human beings, and instead places value only on wallet size.
    -=]Apokalupsis[=-
    Senior Administrator
    -------------------------

    I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. - Thomas Jefferson




  19. #18
    ODN Community Regular

    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    1,483
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Fair Share

    Quote Originally Posted by Ibelsd View Post
    I heard this position from Charles Krauthammer, but I'll attempt to paraphrase as best I can.

    The Democrats have several favorite talking points when it comes to taxation. One of those talking points centers on wealthy Americans paying their fair share. So, the rhetorical question asked by Republicans is, what is this so-called fair share? The answer is always vague and predicated on need.

    In reality, Republicans should counter with the following:
    The fair share of each and every American starts at 0% taxation. From there, we then figure out what it costs to pay for our roads, infrastructure, and common defense. Then we figure out what it costs to provide a basic safety net for those Americans truly impoverished. Then, we tax Americans accordingly. It is fair to make wealthier Americans pay a little more, but there is no such thing as paying one's fair share. Paying taxes isn't a moral cause. There is nothing that makes paying more taxes equivalent to acting morally. That is Krauthammer's central point here. The Democrats have made taxation a moral claim. This isn't about morality. It is about funding the government. Giving to charity, tithing the church, etc. are moral behaviors. They are not compulsory. They are done by choice in an effort to do good for someone else. Paying taxes is not equivalent. Paying taxes is as moral as paying your water bill. You do it to obtain a service and you should expect some level of service once you've paid.

    I think Republicans have allowed themselves to fall into the trap of arguing on the Democrat's premise and this is a mistake.
    If paying taxes is a moral responsibility, then the welfare leeches (Democrats) and other sorts of societal leeches are the most immoral individuals in the country. Apart from that, I never understood how it was "fair" for one person to pay 55% of his income to taxes, while it was "fair" for another to have an effective tax rate of -20 % and get a check.
    Last edited by Someguy; December 14th, 2012 at 04:17 PM.
    I will no longer be replying to any post from a Liberal going forward. I will continue, as normal, to discuss topics and engage in intellectual exchanges with non-leftist

  20. #19
    Owner / Senior Admin

    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    19,394
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Fair Share

    Quote Originally Posted by Ibelsd View Post
    This is the liberal trap. Not paying taxes is somehow immoral.
    It is immoral when there is an obligation to do so or if that obligation is not fully met.

    A family of 4 living on an income of under $20K / year not paying taxes is an example of it not being immoral for them to pay taxes. They simply do not have the means to do so. A family of 4 living on an income of $2M / year not paying taxes is immoral because (1) taxes are required for the state to exist, (2) those who can pay taxes should (else we have a case where no taxes are paid and the state does not exist..and a state of being without a society is "state of nature" which is worse than an organized state where citizens are protected and have rights.

    So, is it immoral for a company like Google to take advantage of tax shelters that allow them to pay less in taxes?
    On the surface, I'd say yes. But I don't know much about corporate tax. I hate our current tax system due to all the loopholes and ways it can be manipulated, which is why I support Fair Tax.

    Is taking advantage of your mortgage interest deduction immoral because it lowers your tax burden?
    No. It's an incentive to own homes and studies show that home ownership contributes to the prosperity of the country and stability of the family unit (which is likewise, beneficial to the state).

    Is arguing for lower taxes an argument for an increase in immorality?
    No. Taxes are 1 method of meeting the annual budget (or at least, helping to get there). If lowered taxes and lowered overhead will allow that budget to be met, then it is fine. The problem is when there is a necessity to pay for infrastructure (physical and institutional) yet that need is not met.

    Fair share is a moral argument which conservatives have deftly fallen for. It is a losing position. If paying more taxes (i.e. one's fair share) is the moral position, then fair will always be more than is currently being taxed.
    Again, it isn't about simply "pay more = more moral." It's about paying what one should...it's about paying what they ought to contribute. A family in poverty should not contribute the same amount as a family who brings in millions of dollars in income each year. When we place an undue burden on people, we have committed a moral wrong.

    It's easy to see this:

    Should a family in poverty pay the identical amount of taxes in dollars as a family whose income is in the millions per year?

    The MOMENT you answer that question, you've just conceded that paying taxes is a moral issue. Whether you say yes or no means "they should" or "they should not" and that is all a moral issue is...one that tells us whether one should or should not.

    I'm just guessing here...that the philosophical field of ethics is fairly unknown territory to both you and Mr. Krauthammer. There seems to be a pretty gross misunderstanding on what morality actually is. If you disagree, can you please define morality for the purposes of this debate? Or if you don't ahve a good definition, I can offer you one that is accepted philosophically (which is the realm in which this topic actually lives).



    One can always be increasingly moral until they have given all their income to the government. By contrast, paying zero in taxes is the unfair (i.e. immoral position). This is a bogus argument.
    You are right, it is bogus. It's also a strawman. It's not an argument I've made or defended, and I don't believe it is the argument of those who argue for "fair share."

    Taxation is not a moral position at all. It is a practical decision that is made to fund society.
    Taxation is method in which society is funded, agreed. But this does not mean that it has no moral attachments. The moment we speak of should and should not in regard to taxes or any law, we have just made it a moral issue Ibelsd. That is what morality is.

    The question of how much should be based upon the very basic functions we desire for our government. So, Republicans should lay out a government that provides roads, infrastructure, defense, and a basic safety net and then tell the taxpayer here is the bill and collect the taxes to pay for those servcies.
    With you here...

    The Democrats should offer the exact same list with the items they believe should be funded by taxes and then offer their own bill to the people. One tax bill is not more moral or immoral.
    I agree. But this is not the argument.

    It is simply the cost of conducting the government of our choice. If fair share is related to one's participation in government spending, then nearly half of all Americans are immoral since they pay absolutely no income tax.
    And again, this is not the argument. See above re: NOT being "most moral determined by most paid taxes."

    ---------- Post added at 05:12 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:10 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Someguy View Post
    If paying taxes is a moral responsibility, then the welfare leeches (Democrats) and other sorts of societal leeches are the more immoral individuals in the country. Apart from that, I never understood how it was "fair" for one person to pay 55% of his income to taxes, while it was "fair" for another to have an effective tax rate of -20 % and get a check.
    If this is unfair (55% vs 20% + refund) then it is a moral issue. We are effectively saying "It should NOT be the case that one person is taxed at 55% and another is taxed at 20% and given a refund."
    -=]Apokalupsis[=-
    Senior Administrator
    -------------------------

    I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. - Thomas Jefferson




  21. #20
    Super Moderator

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Louisiana
    Posts
    9,148
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Fair Share

    The OP is correct about "fair share" not being quantified.

    The thing is, the State should not be concerned about collecting a "fair" amount from each individual. It should be concerned with "equal protection under the law". I don't see how singling out one citizen over another in order to assert that they have MORE of an obligation to the state than any other given citizen is a violation of equal protection. The taxation laws are used to single out people and the gov has a responsibility to avoid doing that.

    It is tempting to say that the laws DO apply to everyone, because everyone would pay the tax if they were in that tax bracket. That is however no different then saying a person who makes under 20K and murders a person will get life in prison, while a person who makes over 100K a year would get 5 days of community service. Does the defense of "well everyone would only get 5 days of community service if they made over 100K" be a valid response? Or is it a clear case of class discrimination?

    What is the basis of "fairness"? The basis that I see in the const is that everyone has their rights protected, and everyone has the same rights. If something has been lost, it is IMO that taxation has become a matter of accepted discrimination and the only really "fair" thing is to come up with a system that applies to everyone the same.



    Further, the reasoning for the entire tax debate is flawed. it is "we are spending too much money so lets tax more". That is backwards thinking, and no amount of taxation will ever satisfy it. Principled spending is required, and a grasp of the reality that you can anything you want, but you can't have EVERYTHING you want.
    To serve man.

 

 
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Mind Trapped by "Fair Share of taxes"
    By MindTrap028 in forum Politics
    Replies: 79
    Last Post: July 6th, 2011, 02:37 PM
  2. Replies: 248
    Last Post: July 3rd, 2010, 07:08 AM
  3. too cute not to share!
    By shugarbabies in forum Shootin' the Breeze / Off-Topic
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: April 24th, 2007, 01:06 PM
  4. The "wealthy's fair share"?
    By Apokalupsis in forum Politics
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: June 24th, 2005, 11:52 PM
  5. Share an email you liked.
    By mustang5 in forum Shootin' the Breeze / Off-Topic
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: December 27th, 2004, 03:21 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •