Greedy Goblin

Monday, February 14, 2011

If tax is a theft, who is the thief?

Beware! As usual, every time I publish a RL philosophy post, it's nastier than the previous ones. Nice, friendly, understanding people, don't read it, it might hurt your blood pressure.

"Tax is a theft" is a common statement among both right-wing conservatives and libertarians. However no one ever asked an obvious question: who steals the money? If you would ask a simple fist-shaking Tea Party supporter, he would answer "the government". However this answer is almost as stupid as "the tax collector guy". The government is an administrative organization. It redistributes wealth and enforces rules. However the question is who get the taxed money and whose rule is enforced? Also, since the high-tax countries are all democracies, one must ask why can't the people simply elect better government. I mean it's possible to get corrupted bunch here and there, but in every country, every time?!

To this question there is no official answer from any decent political movement, even including populist ones. The only answers come from tinfoil hat wearing (or bomb-making) extremists, who blame international conspiration, evil hidden organizations, multinational corporations, or simply the jews.

To answer this question is necessary to stop the theft. It is necessary to stay competitive with China. I have strong deja vu recently. When I was a kid, there was communism and the speakers harshly condemned the "evil rotting capitalists", but it was officially acknowledged that the country gets larger and larger loans from them. Soon the system collapsed and the country had no other options but accept the Western system without criticism or customizing (despite it caused huge corruption and poverty to millions). Now our politicians harshly condemn the "human right violating Chinese dictatorship" and the same guys are rushing to Beijing for loans to save the Euro or even the USD. It doesn't take a genius to see what's the next step on this road.

The answer is front of our noses. The slogan that summarized the problems of the American colonists under British rule was "no taxation without representation". Rejecting this representation by the British crown led to the revolution.

Oh wait, I have representation. I am a voting citizen, I have equal power to choose the government. What is the problem? The problem is quantitative and can be summarized with the slogan: "No taxation without proportional representation". I pay about 1/1.000.000 th of the tax of my country. I have one out of 8.000.000 vote to choose the government. My power to decide what will happen with the money is about 12% of my contribution to create this money. 12% is much closer to what the colonists had (zero) than to what an equal citizen would have (100%).

Who gets bigger than 100% share? The low income guys and above all the inactives. Their ratio is mathematically infinite as they have the same 1/8M vote as I do, but they have 0 share in paying the tax. My country is in especially bad shape because the inactives have numerical majority. Here even the minimal wage guys are below 100% vote/tax ratio. Even if all taxpayers would vote for a taxpayer-party, we would have about 35% in the parliament. While the political situation is not so obviously polarized, no party would dare to cut the wealth transfer to the inactives, even in countries where they are minority. The situation is very similar to the one before the French revolution: the working citizens had representation, but they gave only 1/3 of the votes while 1/3 belonged to the nobles and 1/3 to the clergy.

I'm completely sure that our economies cannot be competitive with China, unless the current, disproportional voting system (and the underlying theorem "every man have equal dignity") is changed to a proportional system where your voting power depends on your contribution to upkeep the country.

Tax is a theft and the thieves are the inactives who get something for nothing, simply because they have the legal power to take it. They have enough votes to elect a government that sends men with guns to my home if I refuse to pay their tribute. The inactives are our nobles and clergy. The government is their government, not ours. I have no doubt that they will never give up their booty without a fight. However, unlike in all previous revolutions, here we have a loophole: the system allow us to become "nobles" by not working or working less. If I refuse to pay tribute after my rightfully earned money, they take it by force. But if I simply don't work and make just little money, they leave me alone. If I fully refuse to work, they even accept me as a "nobleman" and grant me welfare.

Work only as much to pay enough tax to be on 100% tax/vote ratio! Don't ask for raise or promotion, ask for part-time work, and spend the extra time with your family or hobby or recreation! Don't be a slave for the noblemen of our society: the welfare leech. The falling GDP will force the leaders (politicians, businessmen, publicists) to leave their safe zone where they live on what they take for themselves from the huge tax they drive from us to the RL M&S. If they see their system falling, they will take up the fight with the M&S. After all, no matter how corrupted they are, they are still working people, ones of us.

I already wrote that I don't want to remove the individual rights from inactives. They should be like children: have equal legal protection as adults, but can't vote or be elected, bear arms or be jurors.

What about the disabled and the elderly? It's not their fault that they can't work. It's also not the children's fault that they are children. Yet you don't give them votes. Not giving vote is not a punishment that must be explained. Having vote is a privilege that you must earn by keeping the country running. We born without vote and consider it obvious. We earn that vote by maturation. We merely have a bad measurement for being mature. After all, we, who play WoW know without doubt that there are lot of immature people over 18. If you don't include them to your playing guild, why do you think they should have an equal word over governing the real world?

PS: a very surprising part 2 will come on Thursday.


Yaggle said...

I agree, but I would base the weight of a person's vote not on their income, but on how much work they do. Base the weight of their vote on the average amount of hours per week that they work.

Also, they should base any mandatory military service on this, also. Your chances of unwillingly being drafted into the military should be lower if you work more hours per week. The slackers should not be rewarded and number of hours per week is very simple and easy to quantify. Should be no problem.

Squishalot said...

I recall you mentioning in a previous blog that in the past, you used to advocating being more anti-social as opposed to asocial - fighting against the system because it's mainstream, rather than working to profit from it.

In this respect, one part of this blog post is flawed - "Work only as much to pay enough tax to be on 100% tax/vote ratio!"

This makes the flawed assumption that you work solely to have fair representation. Most people (as far as I am aware!) work to benefit themselves. As long as your post-tax income utility value is greater than the utility value of not working, you should be working. The amount of tax you have to pay is irrelevant.

The average working, tax-paying person is much more a slave to their employer than a slave to the tax leeches. Certainly, the proportion of income that goes to tax (even in your previously stated example of ~60%, I think) is significantly lower than the proportion of income that the company owner receives in profit (typically 100% or greater, using a (1/3) / (1/3) / (1/3) rule of thumb between salaries, other expenses and profits).

And to be honest, I don't think is really that nasty a post. I've seen a lot worse about voting rights and representation in the past.

Sean said...

Even though it is a reasonable sounding idea, I do have issues with the proportional-voting-based-on-tax scheme:

- Firstly, such a system is immediately obvious to be anti-M&S. As Gevlon has pointed out, the reason for WoW's success is because everyone feels like a good player. An M&S revolt is extremely damaging to the country.

- The workers' rights that many people enjoy nowadays were fought by many people in the past. The reason that developed countries have such a strong middle class is because of the actions of these people. If the past is remembered, people in position of power (e.g. money) will exploit if they could.

That being said, I do believe that Europeans are too heavily taxed. Money spent by the government is usually quite inefficient. The massive problems now occurring in Europe is because of the left-wing ideas.

In order to fix the issues, Europe needs to swing more to the right and implement some more conservative policies. Just look at the pain facing Briton now. Even when the govt tried to fix the issues (e.g. lower spending) there were lots of protests. The same situation with Greece as well.

Hombre said...

So basically, if everyone is paid the same wage, no one would be stealing, right?

Carson 63000 said...

Are you sure those numbers are correct? iirc, you're in Hungary (which matches the 8 million voters you mentioned). According to Wikipedia, Hungarian government revenue in 2009 was $54.8 billion. Do you really pay 1 millionth of that? $54,800 tax per annum??

Chopsui said...

@Carson: Governments also have income from corporations and VAT.

@Gevlon: An interesting read, although there are some flaws in there as others have pointed out. Working only to have fair representation is a counterproductive move. The more goblins that society would have (which are likely the ones who work hard), who adhere to that rule, would cripple the country, because the average work/person goes down and down until it goes into bankrupcy. Greece would be an example of that where people were motivated to work less and less.

One thing I would like to point out is that the reason taxes increase all the time, is because of interest being higher than inflation. If you think of it in a macro-economic scenario, interest being higher than inflation, means that eventually only one person/party in the world will be receiving interest, while the rest of the world is paying it.

Money as it currently is, is a concept that will fade.

Gevlon said...

@Carson: the government's income is not just income tax. It's also VAT, tolls, corporate taxes. I pay 1/1M of the income tax. I assume (granted, it's maybe a flawed assumption) that my VAT and toll part is proportional (as I spend 2x more than the guy who earns half as much), and I also assume that the corporate profit an employee generates is proportional to his salary.

@Yaggle: that would benefit mindless grinders. However I would even accept that system, or even a yes/no system (if you work, you have 1 vote, regardless if you are janitor or CEO, if you don't 0).

@Squishalot: when you claim that the employee loses more on employer profit than tax, you miss 2 things:
* the employer is also taxed
* you have (at least the theoretical) option to quit and find another employer who pays more for the same job (at the cost of lower profit) or start your own business. You don't have the choice to not pay tax unless you stop working.

@Azzur: people always scared of M&S revolution, however it's silly. The M&S has no organization and above all NO SOLIDARITY among themshelves (as the M&S do not consider himself one). So one can defeat M&S in different "pulls", because the other M&S "packs" ignore what happens with their comrades.

@Hombre: the difference is not between employees. The line is between the lowest employee and the inactive.

Squishalot said...

@ Carson - What proportion of that 54 billion relates to personal income tax? There, you'll find something closer to the right answer.

@ Yaggle - do you really want your slackers running around with guns?? But that thought aside, I do agree that mandatory community service of some sort is appropriate for dole-bludgers in compensation for their welfare cheques.

@ Azzur - the point is that they can do that, because they have numerical superiority (and they do - most income distributions around the world are right-tailed, i.e. average > median, so more people earn less than average). I think that there are ways to improve workforce participation, however, and one of those is reducing tax rates to encourage productivity and decrease welfare reliance, rather than voting reform, personally.

Squishalot said...

@ Gevlon - I didn't miss that fact. I do know, however, that in proportion to salaries, my family's business makes more in profits than we pay in salaries to staff. Even if it's not >100%, it's still a significant amount, post-tax.

Overall though, you missed my point. The tax-leech shouldn't be a factor in your decision making process, unless you're willing to cut your nose off just to spite your face. You're proposing to take a non-utility-maximising decision, for the purposes of hoping that it generates reform. How well do you think that will work?

Answer: Prisoner's dilemma - you're not going to get 8 million people (or 1 million, even) to cooperate with you. Your contribution towards the country's GDP is negligible, as a single small business. As a result, you're going to sacrifice your utility for nothing.

Gevlon said...

@Squishalot: I don't really see much utility in earning more money. I already have money rotting in the bank, (collecting interest that will rot too). What could I do with it? Buy a bigger home? I can't be in 2 rooms at the same time.
Buy a "better" car? My car is already capable of reaching the speed limit.

Actually being asocial makes you immune to the vanity stuff people waste their money on. I have 0 need to "show my status" or keep up with the Joneses.

Taemojitsu said...

If there was a class of people who could not vote, the ones who can vote must have the interests of the society as a whole in mind or there will be oppression.

Obviously, when the United States was formed most people did not have direct voting power, only the 'elite'. But because of common interests, this was not seen as a problem at the time.

I suppose at some level voting patterns must make sense, but I have no idea how numerous tax cuts for the wealthy were repeatedly approved (Warren Buffet's "I pay a lower tax rate than my secretary") unless it's the whole spending-obsessed and economic-growth-obsessed mindset that has led to a 14 trillion USD governmental debt, which will probably be paid for by inflation yay.

Anonymous said...

Isn't your idea not much better than having a nobility? Heck, didn't the nobility in Europe think of the commoners as children that needed to be carefully controlled and not given any power?

Setting that aside, while I don't know how taxation works in Europe, in America the welfare leeches and M&S are taxed. Sure, they often don't pay income taxes, but they are the ones who are hit hardest by "lifestyle" taxes. Who buys the most cigarettes and alcohol? The poor. Who buys the most lottery tickets? The poor. All of these are taxed heavily, especially cigarettes. And in states where there is sales tax, everyone pays the tax whether they want to or not. Of course, you could argue that these taxes are meaningless to people who get free money from the government. Fair enough.

The most practical answer as to why the "masses" have such a large amount of power in democratic governments is that they could easily threaten your life and your property if they are desperate enough. Take away their voting rights and treat them like children and I would not be surprised to see the beginnings of revolution. And they have far greater numbers than you.

China may be a rising star in the world right now, but they are far from perfect. A close look at a lot of their economic practices in the past few decades (post-Mao) would make many cringe. They've cheated and stolen their way to success in many areas. And let's not forget that a few decades ago many people thought Japan would overtake the U.S., but a bubble crash later and Japan has stagnated. The real question is whether or not China can maintain its growth and will it succumb to a crash and stagnation like many rising economies do.

Taemojitsu said...

"Also, they should base any mandatory military service on this, also. Your chances of unwillingly being drafted into the military should be lower if you work more hours per week."

Quite in opposition to a famous English language science fiction novelist's description of a society where ONLY those who served in the military were allowed to vote! Of course, if a military is composed of retards and slackers it isn't the country employing them that suffers, but rather the country that they are ordered to invade...

Anonymous said...

Gevlon, you ARE aware that this method of representation was tried in the past? Specifically, around 1800s, to have a vote, you must have contributed to the 'state' or prove that you were wealthy.

While what you said is theoretically true, it has a huge drawback.

Specifically, suppose one of your proportionally income representative parties decides that 'All people below X tax paid per year are lazy leeches and deserve to not own property. Their current owned wealth will be redistributed among people with higher tax paid, and all of the lazy people will be deported to Antarctica.'

Well? Rationally, if you were below the treshold, you would have no political power to change the government, so you'd have two choices. Rebel or die. If you were above the line, you'd have very little incentive in stopping this since all of the seized wealth would eventually be redistributed to you in a proportion.

Technically, such a party in power would draw the line at 49%. 49% of the people would have their assets seized and deported, while the 51% profit.

Then, the same party would be able to pull the same stunt again with 49% of the 51% remaining.

Crazy? Yes well, it's not less crazy than your own theory.

Why not just propose that every person who dislikes high taxes vote with their feet and move to Cayman Islands. Or just, I dunno, rally all the tax haters, move to some low-density country and take over political power there.

Radical ideas are good, but this is just open to abuse.

And don't tell me that my scenario is too radical, that the moderates would intervene, yada-yada. You're the one putting up radical examples, face the radical eventual conclusions.

Taemojitsu said...

"Most people (as far as I am aware!) work to benefit themselves. As long as your post-tax income utility value is greater than the utility value of not working, you should be working."

If one bottle of wine costs $10 USD, and another bottle of wine costs $1000 USD, is the utility from drinking the second bottle of wine greater?

(This is a question used to make an argumentative point, I have not tasted wine myself)

Squishalot said...

@ Gevlon - And so, your choice to spend more time relaxing with family is still inherently a utility choice, rather than being driven by your tax representation ratio.

Note that my argument isn't about earning as much money as you can. I said that your working efforts should be based on getting as much utility as you can. If you're at the stage where money doesn't give you much utility, you'll be working less than those people for whom money is more important.

For the average person, they'll still be working, however, because they do still generate positive utility from money earned. Since the majority of active people are social, it's unlikely that they'll have a similar mindset to you, and so, your call to action (or inaction, as the case may be) is inevitably doomed to failure.

Anyway, that's it for me tonight - enjoy ploughing through everyone else's responses.

Squishalot said...

@ Taemojitsu: "If one bottle of wine costs $10 USD, and another bottle of wine costs $1000 USD, is the utility from drinking the second bottle of wine greater?

(This is a question used to make an argumentative point, I have not tasted wine myself)"

The cost is irrelevant. If the second bottle tastes better, it provides better utility.

The idea that more money = more utility is predicated on the assumption that people spend money on things that give them utility. If you're spending more money and getting less or equal utility, then you're irrational / wasting.

If you don't use that assumption, then money is irrelevant to you, and you might as be an inactive slacker.

Ephemeron said...

As the late R.A. Wilson put it:

"People... will always revere those Higher in the pecking order; and, equally, will always have some reason to persecute (peck at) the poor, who are Lower in the pecking order. Hence, they will say and even believe, that they are being robbed by the poor on Welfare — who get about 4% of the tax dollar — and never "notice" that the military-industrial complex is getting 72% of their tax dollar. This is normal mammalian sociobiology."

Tithian said...

Myself, I always follow the 30-70 scientific rule:

Instead of doing 100% effort for 100% reward I prefer putting in 30% work to have 70% of the results. This allows me to do multiple things at once (work, hobbies, studies) and have over twice the benefit at the end of the day.

I wouldn't really call you asocial Gevlon. It merely shows you are a scientist as well. Pretty much everyone who does research today (running miltiple project that may or may not get you paid) needs to work like that.

I don't really see much utility in earning more money. I already have money rotting in the bank, (collecting interest that will rot too). What could I do with it? Buy a bigger home? I can't be in 2 rooms at the same time.
Buy a "better" car? My car is already capable of reaching the speed limit.

Actually being asocial makes you immune to the vanity stuff people waste their money on. I have 0 need to "show my status" or keep up with the Joneses.

Couldn't agree more.You can keep your social status, I'll take peace of mind any day.

Anonymous said...

You make an underlying assumption which is wrong: You assume that everyone uses their vote to vote for themselves. But that is something only educated people do. The M&S vote for the guy that offers them the most money. Which means that in reality, we've got the opposite: The people with a lot of money control all the votes, and they spend them partially to get more votes (health care for M&S, increased bureaucracy = jobs for M&S, and general racism crap that gullible M&S love so much (remember: They are apes, and think in simple terms)) and partially on themselves (reduced tax for the top 1% bracket, economic aid for their banks after they fucked up). We're not oppressed by M&S, we're oppressed M&S proxies for rich people. I'm not sure which one is worse though.

Anonymous said...

I forgot: In reality, not everyone goes voting. We have about 30% here. And few none of those are homeless or poor, because those are not educated enough to do so. The vast majority of people who vote earn decent money.

Or worded differently: The power lies with the M&S, but they don't use it, because they are M&S. "y shud i vote lol?"

Carson 63000 said...

To everyone who pointed out that not all of that $54 billion is personal income tax: of course, that's my point. Maybe I should have been more verbose. The obvious follow-through to Gevlon's theory that representation should be proportional to taxation is not that gainfully employed people would get a greater say in the country's government: they wouldn't. The result would be that the lion's share of the votes would be held by corporations. Do you think it would be the CEO's job to cast the votes? Or would they have to have a board meeting for the board of directors to decide who to vote for?

Anonymous said...

Without fail, the Ayn Rand fanboys inevitably chant in chorus "Y'know what, we SHOULD just up and elave the system!"

It's a comforting fantasy. Same as the "If I quit, the business will go to Hell."

Azuriel said...

It sounds like a superb idea for Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Donald Trump, and the other 1% to get together on a Tuesday and decide who they want to elect to run the remaining 99%. I cannot possibly imagine anything that might go wrong with that. Hey, maybe they would even vote for people that relaxed the labor laws so the US (or your country) could compete with China by paying them the same as the subsistence farmers they employ.

On a more serious note, I am boggled that you find no utility in welfare. Putting aside for the moment what you imagine will happen if your next doctor's visit shows you have cancer (which will likely bankrupt you even if you have private insurance), what exactly do you imagine happens to people when a society essentially tells them to go die in the streets? I don't mean "think about their pain!" or anything, I'm asking literally what you imagine them doing. If I am starving to death and have no other recourse, I will steal or kill to get food - I am already starving to death, so what else can you/society really do to me? In that scenario, do you imagine it's cheaper employing a kind of Police State to stop all the crime?

In any case, as other comments suggest, the M&S is not likely to actually vote in the first place, which absolutely does increase the weight of your own vote (assuming you even do).

Ðesolate said...

"Work only as much to pay enough tax to be on 100% tax/vote ratio! Don't ask for raise or promotion, ask for part-time work, and spend the extra time with your family or hobby or recreation!"

Since I saw both major partys ignoring the general common interest in german economy I can't see any serious differences made by elections. It is of almost no matter what you elect, the Industy will win here since they offer more to our politicans than we (already had some insider discussions confirming this).

By that my potentual influence is of no matter since I will have no serious impact to the general politic strategys.

I am looking forward to become an officer in engeneering when my studying is done in one year. My tax will be at ~110-120% with my starting income, so I have no chance to take a 100% job. Anyway I am not interested to downscale my income due to my country. I'm looking forward to work in Saudi Arabia, Russia, Dubai or China for more money I can ever get in Germany (sounds sick, doesn't it?) AND paying no tax to my home country.

Due to the lack of interest in common interest by german pliticans I have no real bounds to my home country. Only to the people I know here. If I can get a job here that pays out the tax difference to jobs in other countrys I will clearly stay here.

I am not looking forward letting my mind drool in my years to collect up some money to eventually start something on my own. I will measure in gain / efford. Not in gain / stolen.

Samus said...

Similar to what Squishalot was saying.

What if I am offered a promotion which only requires more skill, not more hours, or a raise to continue at the same job I am already doing?

In this situation, are you actually saying I should NOT do what is in my own self interest, and instead should "sacrifice for the greater good?"

That does not sound like what a goblin would do.

Anonymous said...

You are in fact proportionally over-represented politically.

Just that the proportion is not so much based on how much tax you pay, but how much you are able to hold a gun and overthrow the government, resist the police/tax authorities or take material possessions away from your fellow citizens by force.

Life's not fair and politics is a game played with big sticks. If you don't believe me, try not paying your tax for long and, when the government tries to expropriate you, try to resist (and see what happens). I don't expect a blog entry detailing your experiences.

Gevlon said...

@Carson: I would divide the corporate tax among the employees, proportionally to their salaries. Of course if the owner decides to employ himself with $1B salary and pay the tax instead of just shipping that 1B into a tax paradise, the more power to him!

Bernard said...

Gevlon, the truth is that that universal suffrage hides the intense amount of lobbying that goes on behind the scenes.

It doesn't matter who the M&S vote for - big business will provide sufficient party donations, jobs for retired politicians and positive media coverage in order to ensure that their priorities are made government policy.

Anonymous said...

I could not stand the taxation system and union bloated economy of Italy any longer, so I spoke with my feet: I left.

Many other people are able to do that now, much more easily than in the past. Anyone with half a brain will simply have the resources set in place and relocate when conditions turn unfavorable. For now I am in Perth, Australia where the economy is booming. In the future I could well relocate again to China, and I already have the ability to go there immediately if I so wish.
Populations are not as stagnate as they once were. Italy is suffering a huge drain to its man-power sources from the loss of its university graduate elite. This sort of loss is not recoverable. I never voted when I was in Italy, and I won't in Australia. I don't buy into a rubbish idea of "democracy" where success is granted to those who manage to appeal best to the lowest common denominator. I make as much money as I can in the economic conditions most favorable to me; if those conditions change, then I simply leave.

Energybomb said...

An interesting read, yet I dissagree.

As anonymous said previously, this was tried in the past, and it failed misserably.

For starters, the rich (that obviously want to remain rich) will start passing laws that essentially widens the gap someone has to pass to become rich himself. This will kill the best quality of capitalism, aka that everyone has an equal chance to succeed. Instead of that, we will have a burgeois dictatorship were the top 20% will be super-rich and the bottom 80% will be extremely poor.

Now, apart from that, as you may very well know, rich people DON'T know everything. A bussinesman, as good as he might be in his field, doesn't know anything about eg foreign politics (apart from the parts that interest him). This will create a state were the various political fields will be improperly manned.

What I believe is an achievement-based system. Here's how it roughly would work:

everyone at 18+ has 1 vote. No one can have less than 1 vote no matter what.
Then we add variables based on achievements. EG: completed college- + 2 vote value. Contribute more than 20000 dollars /year in taxes- + 3 vote value.

It also works the other way.
Done 10 minor crimes (eg, had marrijuana on you) -2 vote value.
Done a serious crime- -50% votes.


This will cause the wealthy to have a much fairer repressentation, it will promote intellectuals AND it will support the proper implementation of politicians to their correct spots (eg, economist as economics minister, doctors as health ministers etc)

Gevlon said...

@Energybomb: that system was WEALTH census: you could vote if you had money.

I suggest TAX census, you shall give part of your wealth to the country to vote. Simply being rich doesn't give you anything.

@Bernard: while the top dogs can get their own ways, the money they take is little in comparison what the government wastes on social transfers. Check the budget of your country. Even if you assume that all the government projects are mostly stolen by corporations, the whole project-budget is small compared to health care, pensions and welfare.

Sten Düring said...

It should be noted, though, that higher tax-percentage (meaning more money to the M&S) to a great degree corresponds to superior national economy.

Add that states sponsoring welfare leeches also tend to have superior welfare (higher expected years lived, lower child-death ratio, etc) for ALL groups. Yes, that includes leeches, middle-class and high-income people.

Studies done for non-equal nations show a similar distribution of welfare when applied to regions WITHIN said nation where differences in equality can be measured.

As a true goblin you ought to recpect hard numbers and pay your tribute to the leeches in order to reap the benefits of a statistically longer and healthier life for yourself.

Anonymous said...

Only letting those people vote that pay tax would not change a thing, as they already make up the vast majority of all voters. Voting is the least effective way to get your way. Bribing ("lobbying" in proper speak) is way more important. And the rich people get to do that a lot more.

Zaxin said...

Your assumption is based on people receiving benefits not paying taxes.

As someone who has been on sick benefits for two years, I am fairly sure the deductions each month from my benefit are for taxes.

The elderly, and a number of those who are on benefits, have paid taxes. Your assessment of them as non contributors is only valid if they have never paid taxes.

To me, your suggestions come dangerously close to the old voting system where only a select few could vote.

Do you include unpaid carers, housewives/husbands etc in your contributors list? They do not receive a salary, and so are "slackers" and should not be able to vote, but are they contributing to society?

Of course, ideally, we could all build up voting credit, by working (as some of my friends have) 2 jobs for 10 years in order to retire early. We would need to have a credit/debit system, whereby if I put in 70 plus hours a week for 10 years,I could "slack" for X years til my input/output returns to an average level.

Knee-jerk reactions are common "leeches, drains on society", and while undoubtedly there are those who take advantage of social welfare, despite what people read in populist press, this is not the majority.

I can see the attraction of a voting elite, protection of ones own wealth is always a powerful motivator, however, I would not stop at those who are free-loading, you could always extend it to those professions/careers which are judged to have no societal benefit, I would recommend starting with research academics, fast food workers etc, it would be a motivator for them to get a job which is directly benefiting society if they lost their voting rights based on their career choice, which is, after all, a choice, rather than something outside your control, like, say, a disability.

Gevlon said...

@Zaxin: you are asking too technical questions, but I'm trying to answer: one's vote would depend on the last 4 years (the election cycle)'s tax - personal benefit (what the country spent on you and only you, so policeman patrolling in your street doesn't count, just your welfare, sick benefit and so on). If it's negative, you can't vote, if it's positive, it's proportional to the sum.

Unpaid carers generate GDP but don't pay tax. The trick is that they get "salary" (a housewife eats food and lives in home paid by his husband, these have opportunity cost), but don't pay tax after it. So she is like the illegal immigrant who work without registration. Why should she get a vote. She could be legalized by his husband paying her salary officially and she would be taxed after it.

Pensioners (assuming they get pension from private fund) could choose to pay tax after minimal wage to keep their vote.

Anonymous said...

Here's who's the thief:
Government overtaxes people.
All government officials have relationships with some sort of corporations.
They give government contracts to those corporations.
The corporations than pay those government officials, possibly later when they retire and join company as Consultant/Board of Director/etc., to not look suspicious.

Of course not 100% of money is stolen, it maybe just 5 or even 1%, but that all depends on the country.

Bernard said...

"the whole project-budget is small compared to health care, pensions and welfare."

Which are increasingly outsourced to corporations. I have no doubt that the consultancies really get their money's worth from lobbying...

Healer24 said...

I disagreed with part of your post, but you hit on something good at the end. I don't think that your vote should count proportionally with how much you pay in taxes. I think it would lead to a very short-lived government. You even noted that the poor outnumber the rich.

The one excellent point that you make is that we have a bad criteria for being allowed to vote. My next door neighbor might be thoughtful, intelligent, and well-informed. His vote counts the same as my vote even if I haven't a clue about many of the issues. That doesn't seem right. I disagree that the way to select is by percentage of taxes paid, but I do agree that better criteria are needed.

Anonymous said...

"...Why should she get a vote. She could be legalized by his husband paying her salary officially and she would be taxed after it."

Funny how you assumed that the unpaid job of a house keeper belongs to a woman. After the discussion about women characters representation in WoW and "hidden misogynist" conclusion, its kinda revealing that you jump to use "she" when talking about it.

anyway - re: the topic
Your criticism is misplaced. It is not the "RL M&S" that drag countries down, it is the inflated bureaucracy of the state and the monopolies the officials built around the big systems you mention: the pension funds, the Health care etc.

Your 'plan' does not solve this.

Also, what is the percentage of votes you would clean out by what you propose? And what is the percentage of those you define as M&S that vote *now*? What exactly would change?

My guess is that the answer to all three of these questions is: very very little.

Healer24 said...

One more thing:
Gevlon wrote: "@Azzur: people always scared of M&S revolution, however it's silly. The M&S has no organization and above all NO SOLIDARITY among themshelves (as the M&S do not consider himself one). So one can defeat M&S in different "pulls", because the other M&S "packs" ignore what happens with their comrades."

People have limits. Go too far and you get a situation like you have in Egypt. All it takes is a couple of non M&S to be leaders and organizers.

Ulsaki said...


That's the flaw in all democracies. The vote of the most intelligent and informed person possible has the same power as the most ignorant moron. And intelligent/informed people are far less numerous.

A meritocracy would be far better, where voting power on a given issue is a function of knowledge and intellect. Unfortunately there's no particularly good way of determining intelligence.


The UK has also suffered from this problem. Welfare has changed from being a platform from which to find another job to an alternative lifestyle choice. I've read of plenty of cases where such people actually have far more disposable income than tax payers, which is disgusting.

The previous socialist government has created a huge problem by increasing the payout and reducing or eliminating the social stigma (for example, by giving cash instead of food stamps).

Campitor said...

Welfare is a method to control society and prevent the less fortunate from predating on the rest of constructive society. And it also offers the opportunity to improve and move up for those on welfare who want to make something of themselves.

There is a link between crime and poverty rates and leaving the poor "to eat cake" doesn't work out well. The reason the colonist were so upset by "taxation without representation" was do to the high taxes that were being levied on colonial businesses that were preventing them from competing fairly with the East Indian Trading Company (The British were taxing american goods to make them more expensive than EIT goods thereby making American goods more expensive to buy). The British taxation policy was bankrupting american business and making them poor. The newly poor became revolutionaries and the upper class (Washington, Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, etc) saw the writing on the wall and became revolutionaries as well.

Also the poor are notorious for organizing into cartels/mafias when there are no state resources. Is there any surprise that the countries with the highest poverty with no state support also have the worst human right's violations such as slave trafficking, drug trafficking, terrorist campgrounds, etc?

In the US when the slackers start to get too out of control (the number increases) there is always a shakeout of the welfare system to kick some of them off the dole and to make them productive. We like to keep the poverty level and unemployement below double digits. The government jump starts social programs to put the lower middle class back to work as soon the rates starting going past 7%; they create infrustructure projects to create jobs.

It is never a good idea to ignore the poor and leave them to their own devices. We will wind up paying for them in one way or another via more prisons to house them and loss of property and general social balance.

Brian said...

I'm not sure I see how progressive tax rates and full voting rights kill an economy or prevent us from being competitive with China. As long as tax rates aren't 100%, there is almost certainly more economic benefit to an individual from always trying to make more money. The idea that poor people can spend your tax money might piss you off, but does it really negatively impact the economy like Gevlon and the TEA Party here in America suggest?

I think that "competitive with China" is a pretty short-sighted argument at this point in any case. China hasn't been so much as a blip on the world economic stage for long enough to determine whether their approach is sustainable.

China's economic power is also ridiculously overstated. Their GDP is a bit more than 1/3 that of the United States or the EU, or on par with the GDP of Japan, a figure that becomes even less impressive when you consider their huge population advantage. With the population of the EU, China's GDP would be closer to that of Italy or Brazil. With the population of the United States, China's GDP would be closer to the GDP of Spain...losing significantly to such economic powerhouses as Canada and Russia.

Now sure, China's economy IS growing, but they have a long way to go and it remains to be seen whether they can get there. I feel like it's too soon to suggest we need to dramatically change our system to deal with them.

Sthenno said...

It's funny, I've often said that the current Tea Party mentality in the states is suggesting a "one dollar one vote" over "one person one vote" system. That is, some kind of "monetocracy" instead of democracy. It's kind of amazing for someone to openly suggest it as a good idea.

Here is the thing: The society you live in functions under a rule of law. The poor people aren't allowed to beat you to death and take your money. Sure, no one is allowed to steal their money either, but they don't have as much money to steal. Societies have tons of rules and laws that everyone obeys, but these days people seem to think that exactly one of those laws, tax law - coincidentally the one law that is not benefiting them - is wrong. If you want to live in an anarchy, please do so: I'm sure there are tracts of wilderness that no one is using. But don't rely on the rule of law to keep you safe and keep your money and property safe and then suggest that you are hard done by by the laws that redistribute wealth away from you instead of towards you. That kind of entitled leech attitude is sickening.

Anonymous said...

money = votes means top ~20% make the majority in voting power as money distribution is highly asymetrical, do you want to tell 80% of your population to gtfo?

Gevlon said...

@Anonymous: no, I want to tell them GO TO WORK LAZY BASTARDS! And it's 35% not 20

Anonymous said...

@ Ulsaki

That's the flaw in all democracies. The vote of the most intelligent and informed person possible has the same power as the most ignorant moron. And intelligent/informed people are far less numerous.

Increase the standard of education and you'll increase the standard of your government.

A meritocracy would be far better, where voting power on a given issue is a function of knowledge and intellect. Unfortunately there's no particularly good way of determining intelligence.

Meritocracy itself is not a form of government, but rather an ideology. Meritocracy itself is frequently confused as being a type of government, rather than correctly as a methodology or factor used in or for, the appointment of individuals to government.

Anonymous said...

Interesting but too simple. A vote is devalued in representative systems by the market forces of politics. You estimate of a 12% influence of how your money is spent is way to high.

A quick check on wikipediea(for what its worth) shows zero true democracies. The most common is a form of republic. Basically people vote for people to vote for them.

1) This makes for a much more complex algorithm to determine how much your vote is worth. You would need to figure out how many representatives you can vote for, how many representatives of that type are active, and how many people can vote with/against you in that election. More fun if the voting schedule varies by representative type or you live some where where you get to vote for a party rather than a person.

2) The ability of the masses to recall/undo an election result varies greatly. Some places have votes of no confidence all the time and then the electorate gets a to chose new representation. Others generally have to wait for the next election if they are displeased with the representation. This changes the importance of a vote greatly.

3) There ability to reach and influence the representatives is generally more important than the actual voting. In reality lobbyist for corporations "vote" more with their lobbying than the voters do with their election votes. This is mitigated some in places with no-confidence votes but not a lot.

Dàchéng said...

This whole article completely begs the question; that is to say, it assumes a priori that which is not actually proven. In fact although your title "If tax is theft, who is the thief" put the proposition that "tax is theft" in the form of a question, the rest of the article goes on to assume that tax is, indeed, theft. This is a proposition that you have not proven.

So the article is based on a logical fallacy. No evidence is produced that it is theft. In fact with very few exceptions, we as a society and as individuals do consent to pay taxes for two reasons:

1. Because it is a condition of employment. Your employer does not offer your job to you unless you agree to pay your taxes through their payroll.

2. Because of the benefits such taxes bring: schools, hospitals, roads, clean water, sewage disposal, public order, and so on.

In other words taxation is not theft, it is a payment that we voluntarily make in exchange for the benefits of paid employment in a comfortable society.

Mcmokka said...

As always, a very (thought)provoking post. I really enjoy this blog particular for this reason. There are some truths to what you're saying, but also some issues. As said before, the strength of both capitalism and democracy is that every person has equal rights and opportunities to choose their own fate, at least in a higher degree than any other society in history. Everyone has the opportunity to make their own fortune, if they have the talents (education, intelligence and such) and willingness to work for it. The problem with disallowing more people the right to vote is that in time, the laws will favor those who vote, thus slowly creating a more and more visible gap between those who work and those who don't. Why is that a problem? The intelligent hard-working children of the lowest "class" will have difficulties getting to a position where they can be at full value not only for themselves, but also for society.

Also, you don't say money has any particular value to you? I, for one, don't put value into "keeping up with the Joneses", but I like having money to travel, buying the car that I want and taking a cab home from a night out instead of walking home. What money really buys isn't basic utility, but freedom and security. A friend of mine quit his job to become a scuba-diving instructor for half a year on some Caribian Island, something he could only do with money in the bank. Early retirement, if you so choose, is another benefit from earning more money than your basic needs.

But all in all, keep up the good work! I enjoy your posts, even if I rarely agree with them.

Vesoom said...

"That kind of entitled leech attitude is sickening."

I actually "laughed out loud" when Stenno made this comment about people that pay far more in taxes than they receive from the government.

Stenno, maybe you could tell us how much of my money they deserve to have? I don't really want to be one of the leeching, 80hrs per week taxpayers you described.

Anonymous said...

Taking away their votes will never make them work, seeing as they do not exercise their right to vote to begin with. I agree that making them work is a great idea, but it's far from being the most important hotfix our societies need. I'd rather pay them some tiny welfare and earn a comparative salary to overpaid managers. If I had twice as much money, taxes would bother me a whole lot less (I would have more money after taxes than I now have BEFORE taxes!) than if taxes would shrink by 5% due to welfare elimination.

Townes said...

You may want to consider that people with less education and lower income vote less than people with more education and income. At least in the U.S. So the imbalance may not be as high as you imagine. There are numbers out there somewhere.

Healer24 said...

Ulsaki wrote "A meritocracy would be far better, where voting power on a given issue is a function of knowledge and intellect. Unfortunately there's no particularly good way of determining intelligence."

The key word there would have to be knowledge. I used myself as the example of someone whose vote wasn't as good as his neighbor's vote for a reason. I'm in the top 10% of people in intelligence (at least as far as current testing can show). My vote can be just as worthless as someone with severe mental retardation if I don't have knowledge of the things I'm voting about.

Also, there has to be at least one more factor. The voter has to care about the issue. I can be intelligent and informed and still not give a rat's ass about any given issue. My guess is that you'd have to have some way of ensuring that the people voting are also the people affected. Actually, to some degree that is what Gevlon is trying to do here.

Soge said...

Gevlon, what if society is driven to a point where finding a job to everyone is impossible and impractical (the cost of creating jobs is higher than automated techniques. Would you consider then welfare as needed?

Gevlon said...

@Soge: no, I find the idea theoretically impossible.

@Anonymous: taking away votes won't make them work. The new laws will make them work. Remember, it's the workers interest to make as many people work as possible. Opening a gap between workers and not workers is impractical, because you have to pay for their survival in some form (welfare or prison)

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous: no, I want to tell them GO TO WORK LAZY BASTARDS! And it's 35% not 20

let me elaborate:
The normal worker will not go from unemployment to top 35% . That means he stays in the 65% that dont matter as their collective voting power is the minority. Therefore its no incentitive to work for him. As regardless if he is middle class or homeless bum, his vote has no value

Ulsaki said...


"Increase the standard of education and you'll increase the standard of your government."

To an extent, yes. But education is less efficient on stupid people, and in any case it does not solve the root problem of a lack of intelligence.

Education can teach people skills for obtaining and using knowledge, and education can turn an ignorant person in to an informed one. But all the education in the world can't make a stupid person in to an intelligent one.

"Meritocracy itself is not a form of government, but rather an ideology"

The same with a democratically elected government; democracy is just a means of selection. You're being facetious.


"The key word there would have to be knowledge."

Knowledge and intelligence go hand in hand. If you're intelligent but lack knowledge, then you can't make an informed decision. If you're knowledgeable but not intelligent, you won't be able to apply the knowledge well to make a good decision.

"Also, there has to be at least one more factor. The voter has to care about the issue. I can be intelligent and informed and still not give a rat's ass about any given issue."

Voting is a self-selecting process that takes care of this. People do not tend to vote on an issue they don't care about.

AlexD said...

Gevlon those were my thoughts exactly. Almost word for word i fully agree with your vision.

Real life M&S do nothing but they have an equal share in ellecting our government.

While i Do support welfare for the disabled or those who have a handicap, I cannot support welfare for people who ACTIVELY REFUSE TO WORK ( those who are in good health and at a young age and just prefer to live off welfare )

That is I i refuse to pay tax and I do everything my power to circumvent paying taxes, thankfull i live in an ex communist corrupt country so this is not a hard thing to do ( have everything in an offshore account ) but I pity those who work hard and almost 40% of their money is taken from them for health, unemployment, vat taxes and all the other bullshit.

Aureion said...

The question is: This world values don't come from work nowdays, but mostly from natural resources.
Sure, there's much work to be done, but let's be fair, if we wanted to optimize the whole thing in order to not have to "Give someone a job", we'd have much less work.
The fact is that the system turned from "A job that needs to get done" to "A guy who needs a job".
And i don't see a point to create useless jobs just to uphold your idea of Justice.
Science has marched on, and manpower is less and less relevant.
Why should you have more rights upon Earth's resources, on the behalf that you work more?
Demand/Offer in the job market fails more often than not, since when one can decide it's own salary, it'll hardly be fair.
The system you propose is not fair, nor efficient. I see no upsides.

Kristophr said...

We are the thieves, Gevlon.

PJ O'Rourke had it right when he called the US congress a parliament of whores. They are giving us what we ( in the US ) want. I'm just not sure who the whores and who the pimps are, them or us.

Stealing our money with our consent, in order to give it back to us.

Dear god, you had to bring up taxation. Nothing else gets me closer to hauling up the black flag.

N said...

The problem with this idea seems obvious to us here in America: power over government is already held disporportionately by the wealthy, and they have used that power to transfer wealth to themselves, causing massive income inequality.

There are modifications to your plan which would mitigate that problem, of course, but I still prefer the idea from your earlier post - that if you accept assistance from the government, you forfeit your right to vote until such time as you repay that assistance.

Unknown said...

This seems doomed to failure, as a person pays tax based on the amount of wealth they have, and in many countries most of the wealth is already in the hands of a small number of people. It would become quite simple for them to thus vote in favour of measures that would both further enrich them and also pull the ladder up, preventing others from reaching their level. I'm all in favour of encouraging employment and strongly against taking money from the productive to give to the lazy and useless, but this plan seems fraught with issues. For one thing it does not differentiate between a person who actually produces wealth, such as a farmer, or someone who is able to make money from the work of others without genuinely contributing

James said...

Your post really got me thinking. I really spent more time composing a comment than I should have. First I am going to be using certain figures and they are not 100% scientific.
Here goes.

In your post you said that you're tax to voting power was 12%. I would like to point out that its more like 30% because your voting age population only has a 40% turnout. M&S boosts your percentage. In the US the turnout rate for workers vs nonworkers is just about the same. With a slight advantage to workers. So I will assume it probably the same in your country.

Now I know the US isn't Hungary but I couldn't find demographic data on Hungary as readily as the US.
32% of our population is not in the work force.
19% of our work force households makes very low wage basically poverty level.
17% are lower middle class.
14% are middle class.
30% are upper middle class.
20% are high earners.
Using your figure of 12% which I modified to 30% because of non voting M&S and some very un scientific extrapolation. I came up with the following.
Poverty level 100%
Lower middle class 70%
Middle class 50%
Upper middle class 30%
High earners 12%
Note these figures are based on household income.
If the household has two potential earners but only one works then you would divide there voting to earning ratio in half.

So using your assumption of tax payed to vote percentage. People that work still have a 51% ratio vs non workers who have a 32% vote ratio. This means that workers should easily be able to enact legislation.

I would also like to point out that 14% of the non work force are most likely female home makers. Who probally vote with the middle class house holds because there in one.

Next 12% of the non workforce population is disabled.

Which leaves about six percent of the nonwork force as elderly or M&S.

I really think your analysis has flaws because the collective of earners even with a reduced tax dollar spent to single vote radio still can overwhelmingly out vote non workers.

If you would like I can provide my sources for these figures.

Sthenno said...

@Vesoom: Every law is equally coercive. Tax law is no more coercive than the laws that allow you to acquire your wealth. Most of the laws that exist are there to protect the value of property and people who have property. If you have wealth then you receive unequal benefit from these laws... and then you complain that other people receive unequal benefit from tax law?

This is nothing but rationalizing selfishness. You feel like you have to earn your money but you don't have to earn the right to live a society with the rule of law. If you've got a Ouija board you can ask the former white farmers in Zimbabwe what wealth is worth when rule of law breaks down - or ask anyone in Zimbabwe for that matter. Money is worth nothing there.

But you apply a moral argument, one that makes it bad for people to steal, or for institutions that support the collection of wealth or give you something to buy with your wealth to collapse, but one that makes it okay to let people starve in the streets because they are "lazy." Your morality is just as made up as the morality that says we should have public education and health care or any other social service. It also doesn't work as well as moralities than include social good. Public education dollars are a far better investment than anything an individual could invest in (as are police and fire departments - which I assume you support).

Every country and every economy ever has been a democracy. It's just that in many times and places people have only been able to vote with clubs, machetes or guns. The idea of votes being tied to money is stupid and short sighted. It hurts even the rich in the long run, because they are going to be the ones at the wrong end of those guns when everyone gets fed up with the ridiculous self-serving system they impose.

Also, seriously, if you are not a billionaire then this system would be *terrible* for you. Our existing one is bad enough.

Anonymous said...

The thing is, the more money you earn (And, by extension, have), and the more taxes you pay... the more you benefit from a functioning government. No, I'm not talking about services like socialised healthcare, where everyone gets the exact same benefit - and I'm not talking about something like roads (Where the rich, who own more, or larger homes, consume more goods, definitely benefit more from them then someone who lives in a small apartment, and may not even own a car).

I'm talking about Joe McJob who flips burgers for 8$ an hour having a lot less to lose from the government, or the economy collapsing, or America "Going communist" then Bill Gates. Simply because he doesn't have that many assets, that would be lost, should the crap hit the fan.

Anonymous said...

No one seems to have mentioned the ageism. I fully support giving "minor" citizens the right to vote. Also the right to have a say in who their roommates/housemates are, where they live, what they eat, what medical care they get, etc. These are basic rights that are taken for granted by many adults--but these adults also take for granted that their property/status symbols shouldn't have these basic rights.

This isn't a new idea; try googling about it and think about it critically rather than sticking with a kneejerk "no way" reaction.

I don't think the answer is putting the disabled in the same category as children, who are already closer to slaves/property than to full citizens. Rather, put children and the disabled in the same category as those who are currently considered "fully human."

Kuckuck said...

What if in order to vote for (for example) the president, you needed to pass a test that asks what each candidate says they are running for? Like candidate A wants to do x to y. Candidate B wants to do z to y. Etc.

If the voter doesn't know what they are getting in to, they can't vote?

Russell said...

Who are the thieves? Middle-class welfare recipients!

(This isn't to say that the lower-class welfare recipients aren't thieves too, it's just disproportionately skewed in terms of dollars towards the middle-class in Australia).

About a third of your taxes in Australia go towards some form of social welfare, plus another 25% towards health & education. A lot of this goes towards middle-class welfare, such as the aged pension or the Family Tax Benefit, or 'luxury' policies such as Commonwealth funded aged care facilities.

In a sense (with our ageing population) it comes off looking like institutionalised hazing: "I spent my working life paying taxes to support people, so when I retire younger working people can support me."

WoWMidas said...

@Carson 63000 - Look at the source of revenues in the US. Power would *NOT* be held by corporations:

Looks to me that if you take payroll taxes and income taxes from the middle class on down, you have a majority of government revenues accounted for.

In practice, though, the proposition is moot, because the very few at the top and corporate interests with organized lobbies always find ways to dramatically reduce or eliminate their tax liability. Which is why only a tiny percentage of corporations (in the US) pay any tax at all, and why the wealthy are able to avoid most taxes.

Power isn't proportional to taxation, power finds ways to avoid taxation.

Anonymous said...

It has been shown many times trhoughout world history. As civilizations get closer to absolute Socialism they eventually fall apart. Socialist ideals make weak people feel better about themselves. "Look at me. I helped them!" It becomes unsustainable and the society collapses.

Even if only workers were allowed to vote, many of them are these weak ones who feel obligated to help the M&S. No net change in the results.

I do not see any reason why any existing society today should be immune. It's just a matter of time until all our current civilizations collapse and new ones are born.

Matt said...

Gevlon, in your rush to praise China you gloss over several issues.

1) They have a very poor human rights records, they're willing to kick people off land with no compensation so rich people can become more wealthy.

2)They're just as addicted to loaning to us as we are to borrowing from them. They need to keep the US dollar relatively higher than their currency to keep their exports more attractive. If they were to stop buying our treasury bills, they'd go bankrupt right along with us.

3) Government corruption is rampant. Officals expect bribes and kick backs and in return they dole out favors to those that pay them.

4) The communist party controls all the wealth in China. If I remember correctly all but 2 millionaires were party members.

You scorn Democracy as a tool for the leeches to steal from the working folk. Would you rather live under a dictatorship instead. Where the government controls the press and censors all dissent. Where one party controls all the wealth and power, whose only major economy is, decades after liberalization still export based to its largest debtor no less?

Anonymous said...

Gevlon, have you ever heard of "public goods" concept? Taxation is not "theft", it is a payment to state for the production of public goods, and yes, there is a "free rider problem", or leaching. There is pretty good article in Wikipaedia describing this concept, which is central to a whole branch of economics science.

Vesoom said...

@Sthenno: You have done an excellent job pointing out the fundamental differences in our views.

"If you have wealth then you receive unequal benefit from these laws... and then you complain that other people receive unequal benefit from tax law?"

I believe in equal opportunity under the law, you believe in equal outcomes. You imply that its unfair that I may have unequal wealth, or that I've received some benefit not available to others. I didn't get my unequal wealth from the government or from some benefit in the laws that others don't have. I have my unequal wealth from starting a business and working 80 hours a week for years. This is a benefit that under the law is available to everyone, and in reality is available to most working age people.

Anonymous said...


Waßash said...

I will assume that money earned leads to taxes paid and taxes paid leads to voting. I will use this construct even though it isn't always true.

I will also assume that the argument doesn't include hours worked or the importance of ones job. These leads to slippery slopes I don't want to explore.

Based on hodge-podge numbers from articles on CNN’s website and elsewhere.

The average American worker makes $33,000* per year. Based on a 2000-hour work year, they make $15 per hour. That is about double minimum wage. The top 1% makes $380,000* + per year. Based on political arguments the middle class ends at $250,000* per year. That is also about the 95th percentile for income. I seem to remember reading the $100,000* dollars a year puts you in the top 20% earners.

That breaks down to

50% makes less then $33,000
30% make from $33,000 to $100,000
15% make from $100,000 to $250,000
4% make $250,000 to $380,000
1% makes $380,000 or more

* I am guessing this is adjusted to the “per household” term which varies in number of earners from zero to 2+ by income bracket and can’t really be compared any other way.

Written another way

50% makes less then 2x min wage
30% make from 2x min wage to 6x min wage
15% make from 6x min wage to 15x min wage
4% make 15x min wage to 24x min wage
1% makes more than 24x min wage

The question (and the comment) is, “what multiple of minimum wage must one achieve to be able to vote?”

Keep in mind that those that earn more theoretically pay more because their tax brackets are higher. This would mean that even at the mean income range you might not be paying your share of taxes.

Also I since I am asking questions, I earn between 2x to 3x min wage. Do I get to vote?

Gevlon said...

@Wassash: everyone who pays taxes should get a vote, guys who pay more just deserve more than 1 vote. I don't say it should be linear though.

Squishalot said...

@ Gevlon: "everyone who pays taxes should get a vote, guys who pay more just deserve more than 1 vote. I don't say it should be linear though."

That's not true. This is what you said in your post:

"Work only as much to pay enough tax to be on 100% tax/vote ratio!"

How is that not linear?

Waßash said...

I didn't really like your answer, but I also decide I didn't ask the correct question. So my new question is, "Do I have a meaningful vote?"

This is from a google search (top one percent income), first search item. BTW two is good too.

"The top-earning 5 percent of taxpayers (AGI over $159,619), however, still paid far more than the bottom 95 percent. The top 5 percent earned 34.7 percent of the nation's adjusted gross income, but paid approximately 58.7 percent of federal individual income taxes"

So to answer my own quest, no I don't seem to have a meaningful vote.

Please note these are people with income. It doesn't count people that don't report any income therefore don't pay taxes. My crude calculation comes out as 140,000,000 reported incomes or roughly 45% of the US population.

Well at least I can say I am in the top 55% by simply having income.

Now the better question, "Gevlon do you still have a vote under your proposed system?"

Anonymous said...

/waits for follow up...

The "thieves" are any politicians who pass any laws whereby money is taken from some citizens and spent disproportionately others.

Tax collection and wealth redistribution are the events that, in this case, should be called theft.

The internal revenue service [sic] agents, the taxation laws, the income audits, the armed seizure of property, and the possible incarceration are tools employed to commit the theft.

Politicians are the actual thieves.

Any voters and/or politicians who support any of this miserable activity are accessories. The voters who give these miserable thieves the power (votes) to steal from society's most productive members are the root cause of the problem.

So I agree that universal enfranchisement is the problem here. As the number of wealth redistribution recipients grows, so does the political pressure for more and more redistribution programs. Hence more and and taxes and/or government debt.

The privilege to cast a vote (at any level) should be based upon:

1. Evidence of any military service. If you're willing to die for your country, you've damn well got a right to vote on how it is governed. National guard -type duty does not necessarily qualify.

2. Evidence of a net positive contribution to the national resources. If you're paying taxes, you can vote how your contribution is spent. If you're not, then you can't.

Anyone who has not served their country in the military, or who receives more money from the government than they "give" them, should live at the mercy of their fellow countrymen and certainly should not have a right to decide on how other people's money is spent.