Saturday, July 09, 2011


A Selfish View of Taxes

How often have you heard the phrase: "California gets back only 70 cents from the federal government for every dollar in federal tax collected in the State?"  This is a generally held opinion.  People are willing to pay taxes for things that benefit them.  Here are some examples of tax expenditures that benefit me personally:
  1. Building and repairing roads and highways that I use.
  2. Maintaining and improving airports that I use: BUR (Burbank) and LAX (Los Angeles).
  3. Repairing the sidewalks in my neighborhood.
  4. Catching and incarcerating criminals that operate in my neighborhood.
  5. Keeping records of land ownership so that there will never be any question about my ownership of the house where I live.
  6. Maintaining a stable money supply so that my savings accounts will not vanish in inflation.
  7. Maintaining the public library that I use.
  8. Maintaining a good quality of public education in my neighborhood so that I will not be bothered by uneducated and unschooled teen-agers begging and stealing money.
There is one thing common to all of these tax-supported activities: they are supported by State or local taxes except item #6.  Maintaining a stable money supply is a responsibility of the federal government.

Here are some activities, mostly federal, that do not benefit me directly:
  1. Repairing homes destroyed by tornados in Missouri and Alabama.
  2. Fighting a war in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya.
  3. Building high speed rail lines in New York, Florida, etc., or anywhere except a line between Los Angeles and Seattle (so I can ride a bullet train to visit my children who live near Berkeley and Seattle).
  4. Giving money to banks.  Banks have enough money already.
  5. Spending billions of dollars a year to put and keep people in prison for growing and using pot.  People who use booze are not touched.
  6. Providing social security pensions for lay-abouts other than myself, especially if it requires some of my tax money.
These and other ideas are extensions of the principle that the government does not have the right to tax me and give the money to someone else.  The government does not have the right to redistribute income or wealth.  This right is mentioned nowhere in the Constitution but it is advocated by certain writers, notably the late Ayn Rand.  Ayn Rand left the Soviet Union with a fundamental hatred of any form of socialism.  If altruism is a consequence of socialism, altruism is also unacceptable.

How many of you agree, at least in part, with Ayn Rand?


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