Advice for those who want to raise taxes

Here are a few thoughts for folks who want to raise taxes to help pay for the irresponsible spending of politicians.

First, tell me how much more we should pay.  That way when we get there, we will know and you won’t be able to say — we need to pay more — forever and always.

Second, I encourage you to lead by example.  Here are instructions on how you can pay more than you are currently required to pay.  Certainly, your contribution won’t amount to a drop in the bucket, but your act will gain you more credibility in asking others to pay more.

Next, persuade others to do the same, voluntarily.

Consider getting to know more about how your elected representatives feel about spending and vote for those who want to be more responsible.  If you keep voting for the ones who spend more money than the government takes in, then you will want to raise taxes again in the near future once they outspend their limits.  Voting for folks who want to manage government finances responsibly will  also give you more credibility when asking others to pay more

Finally, take a look a close look at this page, which details government spending growth by various categories. If you ask others to pay more, you should at least know why you are asking them to do so.

I especially like the 5th table on the page which details spending changes by category since 2000.  It shows that overall spending has grown 5% annually and some categories have grown much faster, for a total increase of 62%.  At the same time, the economy as measured by GDP, has grown by 45%.  The private sector of the economy has only grown by 31% (if my quick and dirty math is accurate).

So, growth in government has doubled the growth in the private sector.  Since it is the private sector that pays for government, it doesn’t seem like that is a sustainable pattern.


6 thoughts on “Advice for those who want to raise taxes

  1. Seth, you assume those who always ask for more use logic and rational thinking. Those who continually ask for more taxes are motivated be emotion and rhetoric. They won’t take the time to look at the facts and see that the trajectory that we are on is leading us to disaster. Those who think we need more ‘revenue’ have been fooled into thinking that the problem is not enough taxes instead of over spending. The appetite for those in power in Washington will never be sated, the more ‘revenue’ we provide, the more they will spend to satisfy their constituencies who benefit with little short-term pain. Long-term there will be a reckoning and those who benefited in the short-term will pay the highest price.

  2. According to Forbes 400 richest Americans Buffet’s salary was $100,000 in 2009. Buffet wants corporate taxes to go up because then he would buy the companies that get hurt by it, and increase his wealth. His income is low by choice, even Obama’s desired income tax rates would not affect him.

    • True. Buffett never seems to mention that he chooses to draw a relatively small salary from his mega billion dollar company. And Berkshire Hathaway doesn’t pay a dividend, so he avoids taxes on those as well.

      I do think I recall reading that his actual taxable income is higher than the $100k from B-H though, based on interest income and income on some small investments outside of B-H, but I could be wrong.

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