While we’re delving into the right wing fever swamps, take a look at this unintentionally funny post by Indian Cowboy. I was astounded: I thought Lucky Ducky was only a joke found in the comic strips and the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal, yet there the concept lies, taken seriously by someone.
The post is full of graphs and charts, but it’s really an overwrought attempt to explain a very simple concept. In a system where people pay in different amounts of money to a central pool, like the federal government, and in which those revenues are disbursed more or less equally to all, on average the people who pay in less than the average sum will get back more in goods and services than they paid. Obvious, right? You don’t need Excel to figure it out.
It’s an exercise to justify this claim:
Personally, I’m of the opinion that you’re only a ‘taxpayer’ if the amount you pay in taxes approximates per capita government expenditure (Which is being charitable, considering that close to 40% of our budget goes toward various forms of social welfare). In other words, you put in about as much as you take out. Any less and you’re a tax recipient, any more and you’re a tax donor.
That’s a bit peculiar, but OK. I’d say they’re paying what they can towards common services, but true enough: we poor people don’t pay in as much as we gain (I’m not really poor, but he estimates that if you earn less than $77K, you’re one of those lucky ducky tax leeches.)
Now just what is wrong with that? It seems reasonable to me. Those who are disproportionately lucky, skilled, or hardworking bear a disproportionate responsibility to contribute to the public weal. I like it. We should try to guarantee that everyone in society has access to good public education, transportation, basic health care, adequate nutrition, and reasonable housing, whether they make $100 per year or $1,000,000 per year. Obviously, the only way that’s going to happen is if the wealthy pay more.
Oh. Here’s the problem:
But there is one thing that cannot be denied. This is a socialist system, this IS a wealth redistribution system, just one concealed by processing through government expenditure in non-welfare areas. I’ll leave it to others to pontificate about this, whether it be spittle-flecked Marxism or neo-Randian alike. In my old age, I’m skeptical that anyone would be reasoned and principled about it.
It’s socialism. Oh, my. There’s a word to throw the righties into flustered twitterpation.
Yes, it is a weak form of socialism (very weak—it takes a real stretch of the imagination to call the US a socialist country, and it shows how far off into the crazed imaginations of the conservatives we are here.) So what? I think we ought to be more socialist, then, since promoting the welfare of every citizen of the country* ought to be our goal. He seems to be arguing that this argues that we shouldn’t tax the wealthy more, but I don’t see it. That requires complete neglect of the principle that we are all equal members of our society in favor of the idea that the wealthier you are, the more equal you are.
I’m afraid the only non-socialist solution would be a flat tax. He estimates that the average tax payout is somewhere around $15,000—so let’s just tell everyone that their April 15 tax bill is $15,000. Dick Cheney will chortle with glee. I’m not sure what we propose to do with the waitress who is making $18,000 per year—debtor’s prison, perhaps? Shall we work out a scheme of debt slavery and put those people to work maintaining common resources? Locking up the poor and removing their pathetic contribution entirely, though, will mean the average tax load on the wealthy will rise a little bit more…those lucky duckies! They gotcha again!
*What do you know, it’s even in our Constitution: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare of those who make over $77,000 per year, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” Oh, wait…have the Republicans been dicking with the Constitution again?