Monday, October 13, 2008

Tax for Purposes of Fairness?

What is the real purpose of taxes? Revenue. The government works on this revenue. The sole purpose of taxation is to provide the means by which the government can operate.

The moderator at the 2008 Democratic primary debate in Philadelphia on April 16, 2008 addressed Barack Obama with the following statement:
"You favor an increase in the capital gains tax, saying, "I certainly would not go above what existed under Bill Clinton, which was 28%." It's now 15%. That's almost a doubling if you went to 28%. Bill Clinton dropped the capital gains tax to 20%, then George Bush has taken it down to 15%. And in each instance, when the rate dropped, revenues from the tax increased. And in the 1980s, when the tax was increased to 28%, the revenues went down."
Senator Barack Obama's response was rather surprising to me. Honestly, I didn't realize that a politician could be so brazen when it came to tax policy.
"What I've said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness."
Senator Barack Obama explained the foundation of his tax plan in a single sentance. Fairness. It isn't about revenue but about fairness. I thought the government taxed its citizens for the purpose of funding itself.

Fairness. Charity. Patriot. Helping others. Fairness.

I've always fancied the idea of becoming a philanthropist. It would be great to be living a life where my biggest concerns were how I could more fully meet the needs of those who could not get there on their own. I could spend my days researching and my evenings helping reach out to others of like mind. The collective good. There have always been people who have needed a little helping hand and others who have the means to help. I had thought it would be a blessing to be able to help those two groups get together. I have not acted on this impulse since my main concern has been focused on my family's need. What does this have to do with the Obama/Biden ticket? Well, it seems they too have a vision of helping the downtrodden, the needy.
Joe Biden suggested that they "want to take money and put it back in the pocket of middle-class people," (ABC's "Good Morning America.")
I worry because Senator Biden seems to be suggesting it is his right - or the government's right - to take money from one group of citizens and give it to another group of citizens. I think this is where my opinion diverges from the Obama/Biden ticket. My money does not belong to the government. Looking at the constitution, it is not the government's right to take the money and dispurse it to the needy (or any other special interest).

I think this point of view - tax for fairness - is particularly dangerous at a time when, according to the media and both the democratic and republican tickets, the economy is pretty shaky. How can taxing the people who generate jobs help them do that? How can raising the taxes on everyone who works - payroll taxes are a tax everyone pays - help the economy? Economic policy aside, does the government have the right to distribute taxes to special interest groups?

In all fairness, Senator Obama has claimed his increases will not affect the middle class - people making less than $75k/year. I'm not nearly as schooled in this as many, including Senator Obama. I don't see how the proposed increases will not affect everyone.
Post a Comment