Taxes. No one likes them, no one agrees on equal distribution, no one wants them raised – but we all agree that they are necessary and useful. How insane is that? Taxes are inherently socialistic – they inherently redistribute the wealth.
From the U. S. Department of the Treasury: “The federal, state, and local tax systems in the United States have been marked by significant changes over the years in response to changing circumstances and changes in the role of government.”
In early America all taxes were on business – followed by taxes on people of property. The money was used for all people. The infrastructure of community was built on the taxes of prosperity. And there was prosperity. This nation grew and flouished when the people in general were not taxed. As individuals became more materially well off – they moved into the class of taxable stuff. (Stuff is a word we use when we don’t want others to think of us as elitist.)
The American Revolution was founded on a protest against taxation. England needed more revenue to continue their war with France, so they spanked their bastard child in the colonies. People can only take so many spankings before they shout, “Hold on Babalooey, I’ll do the spanking around here!” First we had a Tea Party, then we took up arms. We the people stood up and proclaimed that we would not be taxed without representation.
More from the Department of Treasury:
When the Constitution was adopted in 1789, the Founding Fathers recognized that no government could function if it relied entirely on other governments for its resources, (editors note: other governments in this case are the individual States) thus the Federal Government was granted the authority to raise taxes. The Constitution endowed the Congress with the power to “…lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States.” Ever on guard against the power of the central government to eclipse that of the states, the collection of the taxes was left as the responsibility of the State governments.
There have been constant battles about taxes in this country since day one of the Constitution. Taxes have been used to mold social attitudes. “Sin Taxes” have always been popular. Taxes on liquor and tobacco were used to limit the use of these products and to provide tax relief for property owners. Vices such as gambling, once outlawed entirely for moral purposes, are finding new acceptance because gambling is sold as a solution to financing education. That last sentence sounded nutty even as I typed it. We in America, with all of our religious fundamentalism, have embraced casino gambling. Unlike early ‘sin taxes’ it seems that people are encouraged to gamble because it is somehow good for the education of our children.
Taxes are a redistribution of wealth. The monies raised are used for the benefit of all – and in America all are represented in deciding what taxes are fair, and how the taxes should be distributed.
Those who oppose taxing business in modern America us a catch-22 logic: If you tax a company then the company will go out of business, then you will not have tax revenue. This is completely contrary to the early tax code of America – when only those of means were taxed.
Some taxes are unfair, we can all agree on that. Here is a quick debate on sales taxes: There are two families, one with a take-home income of say $100,000, the other with a take-home income of $50,000. The wealthier family spends $70,000 to live a comfortable life – so they pay sales tax on $70,000 – they save $30,000 for retirement. The other family spends $45,000 to live as comfortably as possible, saving $5,000 for retirement. One pays sales tax on 70% of their income, the other pays tax on 90% of their income.. In this case the family with less income pays a higher proportion in tax. Is this fair? That depends on whether one makes 100K or 50K. It is about perspective.
Socialism suggests a government structure that is not responsive to the people. Socialism is associated with the government owning all business with a totalitarian control function. The term socialism is used to inject fear into the ignorant.
The great Western Liberal Experiment of the United State of America is dedicated to finding balance in government and individualism. Sometimes we hit the mark, sometimes we miss. But when we miss we always correct our bearings and try again.
That is the beauty of America.