No Man is an island – we need progressive taxation.

No man is an island. We are all part of a society comprising hundreds of millions of people. In order for that many people to coexist there has to be structure and compromise. That means taxes.

There is a balance between complete freedom and existing as part of this society.

I’m in the UK. I reckon we’ve got it about right. I have freedom to say what I like, believe what I like, vote for who I like, go where I like. I have fair laws and a good standard of living. I might rail against many things that I don’t like – the inequality for example – but it is still pretty good.

No man can be completely free when he lives in among other people.

Without laws there is chaos and everyone suffers.

Without taxes we do not have the things society requires in order to prosper.

Without compassion we have selfishness and greed.

26 thoughts on “No Man is an island – we need progressive taxation.

  1. How is it “greed” for someone who works hard to want to keep more of what that person earns and yet it is not “greed” to want to take that money by force to give it to somebody else? I don’t understand that logic.

    1. Ragnar – three people own as much wealth as the bottom half of American society. This gross inequality is not about the honest work of individuals; it is about a system that is crooked. They did not amass huge fortunes by hard graft. There is a system that is unfair. Millions living in poverty are working their arses off but cannot make headway. There are tax loopholes which are exploited by the rich so that they do not pay tax. It is optional for many!!.
      A society requires infrastructure, good education, good health, defence and facilities that come from taxation. A caring society looks after its weakest through welfare.
      A fair, graduated taxation system reduces this gross inequality, provides excellent services and infrastructure for all, and creates a better environment for all.
      The present rabid capitalism is based on pure greed. A society should be there for all its citizens – not just the rich few.
      I believe in fairness. The superrich do not get their wealth from hard work – they get it from a loaded system. They should contribute a lot more. That is fairness.

  2. There is nothing fair about a graduated taxation system. Saying otherwise is absurd. People on the Left should stop bitching about the rich not paying their fair share in taxes.

    1. There is nothing fair about a system that gives privilege to those at the top so that they earn ridiculous sums and pay very little tax on it. Inequality has become obscene. These people run the system. They pay for the politicians in order to gain the laws they want. They pay lawyers to avoid justice. They use their money to create a system that runs for them and nobody else. It was set up by them to deliver for them – and it does.
      The USA is extremely prosperous but the wealth is all increasingly siphoned off by the wealthy.
      Do you think this is fair and just?
      Do you think it is right that just three people own as much wealth as the bottom 50%? I certainly don’t.
      Do you think these people have accumulated this vast wealth by fair means? Or have they been exploiting people? Avoiding taxes? Using criminal means? Flouting rules and regulations? Causing immense environmental damage?
      Do you think they run things for themselves? I do.
      There’s nothing fair about it.
      The political parties are funded by the wealthy for the wealthy. It’s a billionaires country.
      The bankers, through greed, caused the economy to crash. How many went to jail? The ones who caused it are still getting their ridiculous pay and obscene bonuses (and still avoiding paying taxes). The people who picked up the bill the ordinary, hardworking people. They pensions were hit, their pay went down and they struggled.
      Block the tax loopholes and bring in a graduated tax to create a fairer more caring society!
      I believe most of society ills come about from this gross inequality – gang crime being the worst.

      1. Rag – that’s fine. We don’t have to agree on everything. In my experience things are never black and white. It seems that people are getting pushed into extremes when in reality it is probably somewhere in the middle.
        Whatever, dialogue is always good and argument is fine too.

  3. Opher, “fairness” would require that we all contribute something. Your idea of what is “fair” is incompatible with the Dictionary’s definition. You omit the fact that these people also save and invest money, which results in them having more money in the long run.

    1. I do not mind a degree of inequality. People need fair reward for their effort, ability and risk (investment).
      But we are all part of a society and, in my opinion, all members of the society need caring for. The question is how much is fair?
      I think the privilege, rewards and benefits are out of proportion. The bankers, executives and celebrities are being ‘rewarded’ at a level that is obscene. We have created a tiered system where the top tier makes the rules and loads the dice. The country is run for the benefit of those at the top and at the expense of everybody else.
      There is nothing fair about it.
      Yes I agree that it would be fair for all people to contribute – or at least those that can. I believe that those on welfare should not receive handouts but should be doing something constructive – unless they are so severely disabled that they cannot contribute (then they should be cared for). But I also believe that most people do not skive – they contribute.
      The country (The US or UK) is extremely prosperous. The unfairness is that all this wealth is presently accumulated in a very small number of people. They are corrupt. They avoid taxes, they bribe and buy off politicians and create the laws that favour them.

      1. Yes it does. But it means that the ones who are being paid exorbitantly get to keep huge amounts of money and not contribute proportionately.
        As AI progresses and there is no need for ‘workers’ I can see the wealth accumulating in fewer and fewer pockets. Unless there is a way of spreading it around more evenly we will end up with even more inequality where the bulk of the population live in abject poverty and the elite are living on grotesque levels of income. It is already happening. It will get worse.
        I believe everyone benefits from a fairer society with a better, more even, distribution of wealth. Extreme poverty creates a plethora of problems from teenage pregnancy to gang crime and violence. It is a travesty to have such poor ghettos with homelessness, gangs and crime in the midst of so much wealth. There is more than enough to go around. And the distribution is not due to hard work, ability or risk – it is maintained by privilege and wealth.
        Everyone benefits from the products of taxation – infrastructure, education, policing, defence, health and welfare. So many with ability are held back by lack of opportunity of lack of the means to access opportunity.

  4. Opher, I am not necessarily advocating a flat tax, however, look at the prosperity levels of countries that have them. Then you can get back to me with your thoughts.

    1. Ragnar – I believe in a fair progressive tax. What has happened with inequality is ridiculous. We have to create a system that addresses this without providing disincentive. I think we can use the tax system to encourage investment.

      1. Ragnar – things are not as simple as that. Millions of people working together can be far more effective that people working alone.
        As we know, privatised institutions work to provide dividends for the shareholders and not service for the people. They run things for profit and the profit goes to rich investors.
        Governments can plough all profits back into the institution.
        This is why the US healthcare is so much more expensive and inefficient than our NHS.
        Our taxes can provide much more efficient institutions.

  5. Opher, I asked you who can spend your money better-you or a government bureaucrat. In what areas can you spend your money better? What are areas in which the government can spend the money better in your opinion?

    1. The government is far more effective at providing:
      Education
      Health
      Infrastructure (roads, bridges)
      Policing
      Defence
      Welfare
      Social services
      Power
      Postal services
      The services can be centralised. There is economy of scale. All profits can be ploughed back into the system without have to cream off a percentage for rich investors.

      If these things are run privately they have to give a good amount of profit to wealthy shareholders which pus the price up. They are splintered into smaller units and so lose economy of scale and cost more.

      Central control is efficient and can tailor provision to needs.

      All that is required is sufficient funding and good modern management.

  6. Opher, you still have not answered my curiosity as to the areas where you feel you can probably spend your money better. It is obviously none of my business what you spend your money on. Having said that, between you and a bureaucrat, who do you believe can manage your money better?

    1. Well I told you where I think government performs best and why. The rest is for me to decide:
      what goods I purchase
      Where I travel
      What services I purchase

      Some things are best left to experts – the content of education.

      1. Opher, even though it can be argued that progressive tax codes may be healthy for the economies of countries, that have them, it is also true (and proven many times throughout history) that governments also have a tendency to mismanage money. As to your point about education, there are some things that people with teacher certificates can teach children very well and some things that parents can teach their children even better. Just my thoughts.

      2. Yes it is true that sometimes governments mismanage money – but the gross inequality present today is testament to the way private enterprise exploits people. Given the choice I go for the government.
        While some parents may well be capable of teaching some things well to their children I believe that no household can come close to providing the full range, depth and social interaction of a good school education experience.

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