Monday, April 13, 2009

Hypothetical question as income tax day approaches

Imagine that you're the kind of person who would never vote for a Libertarian Party candidate because they're too weird.

Imagine that you're either a big government Republican whose leaders want to spend lots of money blowing up mosques in the Middle East, or a big government Democrat whose leaders want to spend lots of money blowing up the economy in North America and to continue spending money blowing up mosques in the Middle East.

Pick one of the two. There's now very little difference, except the Democrats now have a much faster financial burn rate.

So....if you're a long-term supporter of either the big spending Daddy Party or the big spending Mommy Party, is it not downright immoral and hypocritical to claim any tax deductions? Don't you imply by your actions in the voting booth that government knows best? Do you experience any guilt for not giving them everything?

Just curious.


Sew daze said...

It is kinda like choosing insurance through your employer. You get two choices: Pay a little and have more out of pocket OR pay a lot and have little out of pocket.

One way or another you are still going to file your claims. And the Mother F**kin processors are still going to hold your claim up for pre-existing conditions. You will still need to prove that you dont have secondary insurance.

And lastly, prove that the breast augmentation was truly a life saving surgery.

Just like taxes.

Lisa said...

I do not see how it can be hypocritical or immoral. If government knows best and you're paying what you owe where is the problem?

Until the last election I did not know that under Eisenhower the top rate was 90% and under Nixon it was 72%. I do not want to see the rates jump to these levels and from what I've seen they are not going to.

When I give my support in the voting booth I am supporting the party that will, in my humble opinion, do the best job. Since my early teenage years the country has done better under a Democrat than under a Republican. Since Reagan I have watched our country shift from a manufacturing base to a financial base and then the collapse of the financial industry and don't get me started on the disastorous bailouts. It's not a perfect world, they're not asking for everything just yet and the last time we had a democratic president we balanced the budget and started paying off the national debt.

So we claim what deductions we can, pay what we have to, and life goes on, guilt free. Right now we are so fucked does it really matter? The banks are insolvent and we just have to hope we can bluff our way out of it again. Makes my national "Do Over Day" look better all the time.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

But if government knows best, and does the best job of taking care of various problems, don't you feel just a tad guilty for taking any tax deductions?
Do you ever feel a touch of shame when you give money to a charity instead of giving extra donations to, say, The Department Of Health And Human Services ?

I know how much guilt and shame you've experienced in your entire life. This question really doesn't apply to you.

Lisa said...

No guilt no shame, but then I am the person who takes the kid's old clothes and what not to the Salvation Army Thrift Store and doesn't ask for a receipt.

Dr Ralph said...

Nope, deductions are part of the tax code, as much as the rate, penalties and all the rest. To pull out one piece of the code is disingenuous, and your argument (as you well know) is facetious.

I pay what I calculate is my share. The main issue, as far as I'm concerned is fairness - at least what I perceive is fair.

I consider taxes the price we pay for a civilized society. The fact that some people cheat or go out of their way to avoid taxes doesn't really affect my decisions. I may occasionally bitch about how much I pay but never that I should have to pay them.

Not to brag, but over the years I've donated over 5 gallons of blood (0-).

I look at taxes much the same way I do giving blood: I don't much enjoy it, but I recognize the need for it. And the fact that not everyone donates doesn't affect my decision to whether to do so. And if some people choose to sell their blood, fine. I'll still donate.

BTW - this sort of discussion is what led Berkeley Breathed, creator of the old comic "Bloom County" and "Opus," to characterize Libertarians as "a bunch of tax-dodging professional whiners."

The Whited Sepulchre said...

But Doctor.... (sniff !)

Think of all the excellent programs that you could've given a bigger subsidy. There's the V.A. Hospitals, the public school system, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and scads and scads of programs designed to eliminate poverty.

By paying only your fair share, aren't you leaving the door open for inferior charities and programs that might not be as effective as those of the government? (Let me know if I'm putting words into your mouth that you didn't intend.)

I belong to several organizations that profess to do good and charitable works, and out of all these, the United States Of America is the only one with passionate devotees whose members go out of their way to give as little as possible to the organization.

If you and Nurse Ralph were to remember, say, Broadway Baptist Church in your last will and testament, most people would say you were doing a good thing, especially those who are aware of the Agape meal, the clothing rooms, Room At The Inn, Etc etc etc. If you were to do the same with the United States Treasury, most people would probably say you had lost your mind. Berkeley Breathed be damned.

No sane person gives more to government than he/she has to (relative to the time and effort required to find the deductions.)

Dr Ralph said...

I have no issue with paying my fair share. Nor do I feel ripped off or particularly outraged if I find I've paid more than I "have to."

Frankly, while I don't go out of my way to get ripped off, life is too short to make yourself crazy over money. Go ahead if you want to; it's your life you're ruining. It just gets tiresome to listen to.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

I'm not making myself crazy over money.
But there comes a time where the credit card needs to be taken away from the teenager.

Is there not anyone among all the Big Gubming supporters out there willing to write an extra $100 check to The U.S. Treasury c/o Tim Geithner? Anyone at all? Think of Obama, all alone, praying in the midst of his solitary Gethsemane.... He's reaching out to you, and He's spending our money, whether it exists or not.... Can't you give? All of you, search your hearts as the choir sings just two more verses of "Just As I Am"....

Dr Ralph said...

Actually, you've come up with an excellent idea.

If there was a place on my tax form where I could check a box and make a voluntary contribution to reduce the national debt, I'd do it in a minute. I'd be willing to be a lot of folks would.

Since I'd rather see something like this succeed rather than fail, I'd suggest lowering the threshold or making it multiple choice. Contribute $25, $50 or $100 to reduce the debt.

Yeah, I know not everyone would. Going back to my earlier example, not everyone gives blood either. But enough do to make a difference.

There were, as of 2007, an estimated 138,000,000 taxpayers. If on average half gave $100, that would be just shy of $70 million.

It's a start.

Dr Ralph said...

Sorry, my math is off. If half the estimated tax payers gave $100, that would generate $700 million: just shy of a billion.

Or does that count as chump change?