As you know, fairness is a concept that was invented so that children and idiots could participate in arguments. I was reminded of this when thinking about taxes. According to one source, the people in the top 1% of incomes pay more federal taxes now than at any time since 1979:


The reason the top 1% are paying more taxes is because they are earning far more money than before. So while the rich are paying a lower percentage than during Clinton's time in office, they are paying more in dollars under Bush.

In other words, each rich person is subsidizing more poor people than ever. Still, each rich person has more left over for himself than ever. If you are on the side that says that isn't fair, what percent of a rich person's income do you think should be distributed by threat of force to those in need?




Keep in mind that a person making ten million a year can get by on one million a year. So is there any good reason not to take 90%? Think about all the people it would help.

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Jul 10, 2008
To Derekludlow, ref: "(currently the USA has the worst performing health care in the first world despite having the best doctors and most advanced technology)"

Can you site a source for that? I would like to see what metrics were used in the studying establishing that "fact," as well as the definition of "worst performing," "first world," "best doctors," and "advanced technology."

0 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 10, 2008
Like an idiot, I just gave you a thumbs up when you deserve all my available thumbs down. Somebody already said it: the idea that government spending is all transfer payments from rich to poor is a myth propagated as a rationalization for not wanting to pay taxes.
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 10, 2008
Sounds like communism vs capitalism all over again.

Rich people wouldn't take the effort to get rich, and poor people wouldn't take the effort to get out of being poor.

Lets just all work in government funded factory lines and live on government handouts alone. Let the government raise our children too.

Sounds vaguely North Korean now.
Jul 10, 2008
I wouldn't consider taxing the rich 90%. It's like your July 10 comic. A poor or middle class guy will probably spend their money buying booze, fast food, and crap on infomercials. More money for him would only benefit the singing fish industry. More money to him would probably make things worse. But rich people use all their extra money donating to charities, investing, and building their industry. That trickles down poor people, unemployed, suffering people in third world countries, and people with incurable diseases. I like singing fishes, but I like the chances of a cure for cancer more.
Jul 10, 2008
It's not about fairness, it's about practicality. If you charged someone 99% of his income after earning $10 million, he could easily survive on $100 000, but he would have less incentive to earn an amount of money that would put him into that high tax bracket, and you might not get as much in future years. Plus, He is also more likely to find a loophole thus ruining the system anyway.

That being said, if you charged a little bit more, there would be little extra incentive to avoid the taxes or produce less, but the money could be very useful in many respects.

Here comes the doozy though: What will the money be spent on? If politicians all of a sudden had an extra few billion, would the healthcare system be revamped? (currently the USA has the worst performing health care in the first world despite having the best doctors and most advanced technology). Would university education become free thereby creating a mass of world-class engineers? Or would the exact same systems stay in place and a lot of raises be given out?

There are many different tax rates that work, from 72% in Sweden to around 20% in some countries. The thing that makes the biggest difference is how effectively the extra money is used.
Jul 10, 2008
To: jsaidoo

That is a really GREAT analogy about how our system works! Bravo to you!!!

Of course the obvious conclusion to draw from it is that we should continue to increase the taxes on the rich until the point where they start to leave the country.

If and when Obama gets elected, it will be interesting to see if any of our richer citizens decide to leave the US for the greener pastures of Crapistan and other wealth-friendly countries. I'm guessing Buffet, Gates, Adams, and all the Walmart heirs will be staying put.
Jul 10, 2008
This is the favorite argument of people who believe that the wealthy should pay more taxes. (By he way, based on your other blogs I personally think that you wrote this just to rile up your readers, but the way this post is written, it seems that you actually believe this.)

1. Those people shouldn't have to get by on 1 million if they earned 10 million. That money was theirs; they worked for it and whether by hard work, incredible luck, or intelligence, they earned it. They deserve that money.

2. People who argue this seem to really believe that it helps people to just give them money; it doesn't. It really hurts them. It teaches them that the best way to survive is to ask for help.

If the poor keep being given large amounts of money, they will never stop being poor.
Jul 10, 2008
Enough with this idiocy about wealth redistribution where the money is taken from the rich and given to the poor. 22% of your taxes go to defense, But I don't hear anyone complaining about defense contractors being on the receiving end of a wealth redistribution scheme.

Your taxes pay for goods and services deemed necessary by your elected officials. If you think your taxes are too high, then write to Congress now and tell them to look at the entire budget and work to get spending down to the bare necessities across the board. Then we can talk about how much everyone pays.

Considering that rich people are benefiting as much, if not more, as a member of a capitalistic society, as evidenced by their luxury purchasing power, it is apparent that a flat rate consumption tax (excluding food and medicines) will not deter the entrepreneur from creating jobs and it won't ruin the poor people scraping by.
Jul 10, 2008
The rate used under Clinton seemed to be working pretty well. Everyone was getting richer under his stewardship. While the dot com craze certainly helped, I must point out that even after the bubble burst, the Dow Jones was still above 12,000 or so, as I recollect. Meanwhile, Clinton started in the White House with the Dow around only 2,000. Nobody else has been this good to Big Business and rich people in general. By forcing them to give a little more back, the whole economy took off like a bat out of Hades, and it was better for the upper 1% in the long run.

So I say the same rates as under Clinton... no more and no less.
Jul 10, 2008
"It is like this: taxes should be used as a mechanism to fund important government activities, not to try to equalize the economic strata."

I love this. Best quote in here, and from a liberal to boot. I wish this is something conservatives could understand about a lot of people (myself included) who consider themselves "liberal" - we don't want redistribution of wealth! There shouldn't be any Robin Hood going on with our tax dollars.

I believe if you are good enough/smart enough/inventive enough/bold enough to earn more money than everyone else, you should be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

At the same time, there are some very important pieces of infrastructure that our country needs, and the government is in an ideal position to fund and manage them (military, judicial system, FBI, CIA, NASA, etc.)

It seems like, to me at least, if people could get past their conservative/liberal "labels" for a little while, that folks generally agree on the basics of taxes.

Jul 10, 2008
If taking 90% of rich person's income and distributing it to the people is a good idea, why don't we just take 100% of everyone's income and distribute it to everybody! I can't imagine a more successful kind of government, Comrade!
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 10, 2008
Max 10% for redistribution. Consider it tithing.

Add 5% for military, 5% for justice administration (courts), another 5% for roads and infrastructure... Maybe 5% buffer for incidentals. All in, you're looking at a 30% max tax rate.

As for social security & medicare... They shouldn't be taxes. They should be 401k-type and HSA-type plans with an insurance component (actual insurance, with high deductibles).

If the government has the right to take your money... Then it's not your money. It's the government's money. If that's the case, we do not live in a free/capitalist country. We live in a socialist / communist country.

I can live with 30%... But that is already a LOT of friction between consenting adults in voluntary market exchanges.

Imagine if government had the right to 30% of your sexual activity... Or 30% of your speech... Or 30% of your time... What makes income so different? Private property is private property. My pockets are not for your use. Having a bureaucrat (or even elected official) take my money doesn't make it any less of a violation of my civil rights.

When a company overcharges you $100, that's theft. When the government decides to take 10% more of your money in exchange for nothing... That's the same thing on a larger scale.
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 10, 2008
This is ridiculous that the government gets to decide how much of your money you can keep. It doesn't matter how much you make, it's yours. the fair tax is probably the best system and it wouldn't punish those who make money.
I don't envy the wealthy and I don't pity the poor.
This d__mn wealth envy is going to destroy this country. It is how the communists in russia paved the way for the communist revolution and managed to destroy their economy.
Jul 10, 2008
I made a mistake. I thought of this blog as a forum. As I understand, a blog is an author's written spew about a particular subject. This "blog" is more of a blorum - a boring community blog where everyone can blog pointlessly about a subject - numerous, disconnected blogs. A shallow, ego-trip for the commentor that is fueled by a rare response by Scott and the misconception that commenting is similar to one micro-second of fame.

Scott - this subject was successful in the sense that you received 100 comments, but I intend to stick to reading your strip; reading your blog; and disregarding the comments.
Jul 10, 2008
"My first day at headquarters, a person was showing me to my new workspace. She mentioned with
pride that the building had some great innovations—like a lake that served to cool the offices
and mail delivery robots. She also bragged that it was the biggest sea of cubicles west of the
Pentagon. To me, that didn’t seem like something to be too proud about, but I was new so I didn’t
say anything. One cubicle, just down the hall from me had an address of 4S750R. Sounds like
an inspiring place to work, yes? Well, it was inspiring for the owner of that cube, who was Scott
Adams, the creator of Dilbert."

No wonder you had great inspiration to start Dilbert - being in the biggest cubicle farm
Jul 10, 2008
This reminded me that couple of years ago, a Chinese news program on Canadian television asked people to call in to vote, "Do you think that the recent case of Mad Cow Disease in the US was caused by a Canadian born cow?"
Jul 10, 2008
In Japan, the richest are taxed for 55% of their income because they believe everyone is in it together and the government would spend it wisely. The principle is all fantastic like rainbows and unicorn, but it has driven a lot of talents out of the country.

Taxes should be calculated in aim for stability of the society. Whatever way that will support the local economy is fine. Those who cry for fairness should immigrant to communist countries.
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 10, 2008
I say pa-shaw to one man one vote. In what might be one of the least populat ideas ever, I propose that high tax payers get extra votes distributed along the following lines. (note: numbers picked arbitrarily to ensure true fairness)

If you pay $0-$$9,999 in taxes you get one vote.
$10,000-$29,999 = two votes
$30,000-$59,999 = four votes
$60,000-$99,999 =eight votes
$100,000-$199,999 =15 votes
$200,000 plus = 20 votes
Jul 10, 2008
I had a conversation about that just this morning with my carpool. Our tentative conclusion was that a flat tax is the fairest in that it is consumption based. Let's say the national rate is 10% on all goods except for food, which is not taxed on individuals as it is a necessity. If you live luxuriously, you pay for it. If you don't, you don't. We agreed that higher sin taxes for cigarettes and booze would be acceptable, too. Luxury purchase taxes could be another option. This flat tax, or national sales tax, would bring the underground economy of drug users and other tax dodgers into the taxable base.

I dislike dinincentives to wealth and production, (though my net wealth is well into the negatives), which is part of the reason this appeals to me. However, I do think that above a certain income level, a higher rate should probably apply. Let's say that for people making above $5 million/year, the 10% rate rises progressively and caps out at a max of 35-40% somewhere in the 80 million/year range. That way the person producing still keeps the majority of what he makes and doesn't lower his innovation and productivity out of principle and/or spite. The higher rate would also discourage the reestablishment of a permanatly obscenely wealthy class such as existed in the days of Rockefeller and Carnegie.
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 10, 2008
'As you know, fairness is a concept that was invented so that children and idiots could participate in arguments.'

LOL, that made my day! Barack Obama wants to raise the capital gains tax, despite knowing that an increase would result in less revenue because he isn't interested in revenue, he's interested in fairness. Does that make Obama a child? an idiot? a childish idiot??

The point is, there is no way to make taxes 'fair', because fairness means something different to everyone who thinks about it.

The progressive tax system we have now in the US seems fair to many, because the wealthy pay not only more money, but a greater percentage of their income. To those who are not wealthy, this seems fair. But it tends to punish success, and leaves less money for the wealthy to invest in businesses or securities that would benefit society more than government spending does. I don't see this changing anytime soon, they just move the tax rates up or down. My opinion is that the upper limit should be no more than 50%. (and no, I'm not what most would consider 'wealthy', but I hope to get there someday...) And since the wealthy pay most of the taxes, and the poor pay little or none, tax cuts will always help the rich more than the poor...that doesn't mean it's a bad thing.

A Flat-Rate tax system in theory would be more equitable. Everyone would pay the same rate. The wealthy would still pay more, 20% of $10 million is more than 20% of $50,000. But it would appear that the wealthy were getting a big break, since they end up with more also... Poor people, (and populist politicians), would clakim that this is grossly unfair, that the wealthy are not entitled to keep that much of their money. Most Flat tax proposals I've heard about would abolish all deductions. This makes sense to me, since I have no dependents and no mortgage. But those who claim those deductions would scream loud and long, as if it's a God-given right to have the government subsidize your home ownership and your breeding habits.

A nationwide consumption, (sales), tax , also known as the 'Fair Tax' has also been proposed to replace the income tax. Proponents argue that consumers/taxpayers would have control over their taxes, paying as they buy things, not as they earn the money. Since so much of what we buy comes from overseas, this is one way to make some money off of the massive trade deficit we have built up. It would encourage saving rather than spending. But of course it would hit lower income people harder, and there would be a lot of arguiing over what, if any, things would be exempt, such as food and medical care. What's worse, it would be much harder for the government to forecast revenue and plan budgets, (although their track record under the current system is pretty dismal anyway...) There would be a sense of a loss of control over that tax revenue, something politicians would never accept.

Of course, if the government stopped trying to do everything for everyone, (often in the name of 'fairness'), we would need less tax money from everyone.
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