Monday, April 27, 2009

What is a certain level of taxation?

There have been several mediums lately where I have heard that we should pay a certain level of taxes or a fair amount of taxes.This leads to the general misunderstanding with the intent of the tea parties.Are there those involved with the tea parties with a greater agenda?Of course.But the genesis behind the movement remains the same.Outrage over excessive,wasteful Government spending.I don't hear any fair thinking people stating that we should rescind all taxes.Only that accountability and restraint must be vastly improved and that Government must live with-in the means that we provide.

What is the certain level of taxes Americans should pay?I see people confusing two different areas of concern into this question.What is a fair level of taxes we all should pay in total and what is a fair amount for each person.These are two different animals.You must also address the issue of the legitimacy of an income tax at all.Where is it written and why is it fair that our personal income is taxed?16th Amendment,I know,but what is the reason for taxing personal income you earned with your hard work?Government requires a certain level of revenue in which to provide the services we require of it.We want schools ,infrastructure,national defense of course.The seemingly limitless list of other Government programs is a pandora's box of debate on which is required,which is nice to have,which is in place for political purposes,etc.It's safe to say that whatever level of funding we provide our Government to utilize,it will be spent.So the question cannot be how much does Government need,because the amount has no limit.Take any Government agency such as a school system and ask them if they have adequate funding.Of course the answer is no as they will provide a laundry list of critical items necessary for the program in which they don't have the money.

We paid in over $1.2 trillion in personal income taxes in 2008,about half of all revenues.Roughly $900 billion came in from payroll withholding taxes and about $350 billion in corporate taxes.Obama just submitted his budget for $3.6 trillion.Rather than Government looking for ways to trim expenditures down to match receipts,they look for ways to make up the shortfall.You end up with pathetic token gestures like the $100 million cut out of his budget proposal as a political move.The $1.2 trillion we paid in personal income taxes equates to a little over $7,000 per taxpayer.This becomes the magic number.What should it be for each American,on average,to be paying this mythical certain level of taxes that the majority would qualify as adequate?

Much of the Liberal argument is based on those with means paying a larger share.If your true goal is a scenario in which the tax burden is fairly spread out amongst all taxpayers,shouldn't each taxpayer pay the same amount regardless of income?We each get only one vote.We each have the opportunity America provides for financial success.We can't even visit the notion of equality here as the disclaimers for race,sex,ethnicity,religion,physical impairment,etc. are far too vast to weigh each one fairly against a baseline.I simply don't agree with any argument that any one person should pay a greater or lesser share than his or her neighbor.A persons net worth simply shouldn't be a factor if we are truly looking at just the fact that each American taxpayer is equal to the next.We all utilize Government provided functions in a widely ranging manner.For example,I may drive thousands more miles than my neighbor,but he may use the library daily when I never go there.So you can't base it on your own unique needs.

We are about $1.15 trillion short of the amount Obama has budgeted for in 2010 if the other taxes collected remained unchanged.We took in $1.2 trillion in 2008 so the average amount for each taxpayer would have to nearly double to almost $14,000.Is this fair?Is this enough to pay for good roads and schools and have a strong military?Is it enough to also cover all of the other programs in Government regardless of their merit?

Let's say the average personal income is $30,000.The current average number collected is $7,000,or about 23%.If you use the shortfall make-up number of $14,000 in Obama's budget,it's about 46%.Remember,this is just the Federal budget,not including state and local.

We have a progressive income tax system with 5 different rates.This is in theory to overcome the penalty paid by lower wage earners.Even with a flat percentage of income going toward taxes,the lower wage earner is penalized more because they spend a greater amount of their total income on the cost of living.If I make $30,000 and spend the 23% on taxes,I only have $23,000 left.If I make $300,000,I would have $230,000 left after taxes and this is the logic of unfairness.Here is where the debate opens on if it's fair for one person to achieve more financial success than another,assuming equal work productivity.

So many questions to answer.Is it fair for one to have more than another?Should one be taxed more than another?You must answer to ever get to the question of what is a fair certain level of taxes to be paid.I say we must determine what functions our Government should provide as determined by the Constitution.Decide that and then you set a budget for those functions that Government must live under.This is the magic number used to answer all of these questions and would be contested forever.Next,if it's decided that a personal income tax is the primary funding method of choice,set the percentage.Each taxpayer should then pay an equal share.Period.That is ultimately the only fair way for each individual American taxpayer with one vote to be equally burdened.The key is reducing spending to only what is required which will greatly reduce the average amount per taxpayer.If you earn more than average,good for you,you get to enjoy the fruits of your labors.Could this ever happen?Highly unlikely.Yet,if people want to keep throwing around the argument of a certain minimum level of taxation,it must be determined in a manner fair to all.More to come...

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