Why Not Raise Taxes?

I’d long thought the the size and scope of the federal government was a problem. It requires a lot of money to have the expansive state that we do. But Americans love it. They want huge, inefficient social welfare programs. They want a military that is involved throughout the world. They don’t want a single cut in any program, no matter how redundant or wasteful it is. What’s more, they’re generally on board with huge expansions in the scope of government, such as Obamacare with its attendant m…

  1. Spin

    But only a little more than half of us love the expansive state.  Is there a way to tax only the people that vote Democrat?  That I’d go for.  

  2. Fred Cole

    Why not raise taxes?

    Well, I’m gonna skip the part where I point out that coercive taxation is monstrously immoral and just say

    Because I have a wedding to pay for.

  3. Fred Cole
    Ken Owsley: But only a little more than half of us love the expansive state.  Is there a way to tax only the people that vote Democrat?  That I’d go for.   · 0 minutes ago

    Republicans want an expansive state too.  Trying telling someone here that we don’t need so many carrier battle groups or that the War on Drugs is a waste of money and they’ll explain to you how human civilization cannot survive without them.

  4. Tommy De Seno
    C

    Great thoughts Mollie.  It reminded me of something:

    When I was a teenager I went to a backyard coffee clatch where my Congressman was speaking.   He told of recieving a letter from an upset voter who had a list of demands  -  28 of them if I recall correctly – all of them things he insisted the government should start doing.   He ended the letter by stating that taxes were too high and the Congressman should cut them!

    It got quite a good laugh back then.  It’s no longer a joke.  As you point out wanting the government to do more yet refusing to pay for it has become standard political philosophy.

    Great post!

  5. Punumba!

    Are you suggesting across the board tax hikes?   American’s don’t want that, they want “the rich” to pay for it.  They want expansive government paid for by someone else.  Never mind we couldn’t tax “the rich” enough to pay for current spending. 

    I’d also point out, an increase tax rate will not necessarily raise tax revenue.

  6. Pseudodionysius

    If you observe the Milton Friedman line:

    “You want the wrong people to do the right thing.”

    Then the Republicans need to immediately pivot and push for 90% marginal tax rates like the 1970′s style British Labour governments and for nationalizing absolutely everything in sight including Victoria’s Secret.

    They need to also push for colonizing every plant and moon in our Solar System and dedicate themselves to seizing up the economy completely by say November 2013.

    That was easy.

  7. Illiniguy

    If higher rates are accompanied by repeal of refundable tax credits (Child credit, earned income credit, etc.), making everyone pay something, then I’d be inclined to accept the notion.

  8. Guruforhire

    Because no tax policy is going to produce the money, so why spit into the wind?

    Its worth delivering a pound of flesh to feed liberal malice, if we can get a budget that wasn’t written by drunk and insane badgers, until then its stupidity for no other reason than malice.

  9. Frank Soto
    C

    Your premise is solid in theory but in practice we know there is very little headroom for the government to raise revenue through taxes.

    Starting with Tim Groseclose’s post here.

    However, the down slope of the laffer curve isn’t it’s only relevant feature.  There is also the up slope preceding the peak, where you see increasingly diminished returns on the higher rates.  

    Tax rates have flucuated wildly over the past century, From 94% to 28% on the highest income taxpayers.  But notice how tax revenues NEVER rise above 21% of GDP.

    If we want more revenue to combat our debt crisis, we have to grow the economy.  If we want to grow the economy, we can’t be hiking tax rates, particularly when we know it will be utterly ineffective in raising revenue.

    There is no escaping Hauser’s law.  Better to cut rates and get 19% of a larger pie.

  10. Percival

    The score so far: the Republicans are going to slag the SoCons,  slash defense down to the level of Belgium, give citizenship to anyone that can get here by themselves, and tax everybody stupid enough to be productive until their ears bleed.

    Guess what, campers – that means we did win the last election!  Congratulations!

  11. Ron Selander

    My answer: because the ONLY way to reduce the size of government is to starve it!

    The problem is that we have a preponderance of gutless congressmen and legislators who refuse to do that because they are more concerned with their own welfare than the welfare of their constituents.

  12. ConservativeWanderer
    Percival: The score so far: the Republicans are going to slag the SoCons,  slash defense down to the level of Belgium, give citizenship to anyone that can get here by themselves, and tax everybody stupid enough to be productive until their ears bleed.

    Guess what, campers – that means we didwin the last election!  Congratulations! · 4 minutes ago

    Yep, the libertarians intend to enact every part of the Obama agenda listed above.

    Congratulations!

  13. The King Prawn

    We focus too much on just income tax rates. Over half of government spending is in entitlements, and no one gets out of paying for those except by not working. We need a total reform of the tax system. One tax to rule them all instead of three different taxes paying into the same overdrawn account. I say remove the SS tax cap first, then increase medicare taxes (cause that hits everyone) then listen to all the whining. It would basically make 40% (more after the changes) of government revenue a flat tax with no deductions. Let the dems play games with income taxes all they want. Let us get the 60%+ of mandatory spending paid for by mandatory taxes on everyone.

  14. Free Radical

    I doubt a Pyrrhic victory’s pleasure will be worth all the pain. My business would take a big initial hit as would many other businesses that depend on consumer’s feelings of wealth. Think about car dealers, local retailers, restaurants, …You are assuming those clamoring for government services will understand that all have to pay higher taxes to pay for middle class tax breaks, deductions, and other government waste that pays for the bureaucracy. These are low knowledge citizens that will not make the connection. The only people who will wake up the country are Federal Bond holders. When they demand higher rates for fed debt, then the Emperor will have no clothes.

  15. Benjamin Cox

    Raising taxes is going to happen, and frankly it is going to be way more across the board then Obama is claiming. There just are not enough rich people to take everything from. 

    When tax rates go up, anger over government spending will go up. 

    However no amount of tax raises is going to get us out of this mess, our spending has to be balanced, program by program. 

  16. Garrett Petersen

    The other thing to do is to move tax day to the day before election day.  Let people have the costs fresh in their minds when they vote themselves goodies.

  17. Mollie Hemingway
    C
    Ron Selander: My answer: because the ONLY way to reduce the size of government is to starve it!

    The problem is that we have a preponderance of gutless congressmen and legislators who refuse to do that because they are more concerned with their own welfare than the welfare of their constituents. · 11 minutes ago

    Except that we are currently doing that. We’re bringing in far less than we’re spending. The starving isn’t doing a thing to stop the madness. It’s this point that has made me wonder whether an opposite strategy is perhaps better.

  18. Valiuth

    Yes! One tax to rule them all and in the darkness bind them.I heard talk that the SS tax cut will be allowed to expire. So we will see taxes go up on the lower brackets too.

  19. Whiskey Sam
    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.

    Ron Selander: My answer: because the ONLY way to reduce the size of government is to starve it!

    The problem is that we have a preponderance of gutless congressmen and legislators who refuse to do that because they are more concerned with their own welfare than the welfare of their constituents. · 11 minutes ago

    Except that we are currently doing that. We’re bringing in far less than we’re spending. The starving isn’t doing a thing to stop the madness. It’s this point that has made me wonder whether an opposite strategy is perhaps better. · 6 minutes ago

    Nothing is going to stop it until the people finally have had enough and revolt. 

  20. Misthiocracy

    The theory was that keeping tax rates low would “starve the beast” and result in spending cuts.

    This was clearly a pipe dream.  Instead people got spending gain without the tax increase pain.

    As such, I totally agree, in theory, that taxation should be “increased” to match spending. You want the gain, then feel the pain.

    However, that’s only in theory, and the reason I put the word “increased” in scare quotes is because the devil is always in the details.

    Ideally, the people who benefit from the spending programs should be the ones who see their taxes go up.

    What are the chances that will actually happen? I mean, really?

    Instead, friends of the Dems will benefit from government largesse, and enemies of the Dems will see their taxes go up to pay for it.

    That’s the problem with “let them eat tax increases” in practice.

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