Friday, March 6, 2009

Taxpayers in Revolt, Chapter 2

Taxpayers in Revolt, David T Beito
Blog: Chapter 2, part 2

So the Chicago Tax Racket continues. Operating costs for real estate owners (remember, they "provided" 80% of the tax revenue) increased, about 2% between 1927 and 1932. Not bad, but income fell 70% for the same time period. That's a problem, in case you didn't go to business school.

With that dilemma in mind, here's a shocking revelation from the book. A 1933 study of apartment buildings in Chicago found that "taxes made up the single largest portion of all operating expenses, including heat, repairs, water, light, and management." Think about that for a minute. What would happen if taxes were taken out of the equation? Either the greedy capitalist landlord would raise the rent in order to make even more profit, or he would leave it as is and have more money to spend on other budget items (better paint, nicer carpet, energy efficient windows?), or he could decrease rent to compete with other building owners who decreased their rent due to their lower costs. So who loses? Gubmint. Who wins? Everyone else.

I think a tax that constitutes the largest portion of a budget could be labeled as grievous. Hey Mormons, remember King Noah? The big gripe against him was his wickedness, and in order to support that wickedness he set up a tax (part of which his henchmen/priests got to keep, kind of like a bribe) that was so grievous that the people had to "labor exceedingly to support iniquity." What would we describe as a grievous tax today? I mean, besides people like me who think any is too much. I'm talking about reasonable people, like Bill O'Reilly (sarcasm alert). Remember his big interview when he made friends with Obama (go to about 6:30)? They dickered about the capital gains tax for a minute and came up with 20% as an OK number. Taxes are neighborly! Huzzah! O-ba-ma! O-ba-ma! How much did Noah tax the people to the point that they had to "labor exceedingly?" Verse 3 says "he laid a tax of one fifth part of all they possessed, a fifth part of their gold and of their silver, and a fifth part of their ziff, and of their copper, and of their brass and their iron; and a fifth part of their fatlings; and also a fifth part of all their grain." Again, non-business school people should be aware that a fifth is the same as 20%. So if 20% was so terrible then, where are we at now?

This might be a good time to break out That Which Is Seen and That Which Is Unseen. What would you do with the money that gets taken from you? The list is as endless and varied as the people who make the list, which gets at the reason to keep what is yours—you know what you would like done with it. What if your employer didn't have to pay half of your Social Insecurity taxes, or payroll taxes, or whatever-else-there-is-in-the-world taxes? Would "rich" people buy more stuff if they kept more of their money? Keep thinking about how that moves down the line, and where you fit in, because I'm going to sleep. But here's one last thought: would you rather have your money confiscated to buy things you didn't choose to buy (big guns, new helicopters, salaries for Congress-weasels, abortions for Africa, new buildings for bureacrats, fuel to make corn into fuel, a nose job for Joan Rivers, etc etc ad infinitum), or would you rather keep it and spend it (or not) how you decide?

1 comment:

NaDell said...

I love the comparison to King Noah!
So true. At least they did something about it. Maybe it was easier to do something about it when you actually had to take him 2 out of every 10 cows you had (or the equivalent). Too bad you can't be paid in cash, right?