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Quora Answer : Is taxation essentially a socialist policy?

Aug 10, 2018

This is where the Libertarian tinged right are so wrong it's fucking hilarious.

There's been taxation since before Hammurabi. How do you think the pyramids or all those Roman roads and conquests or the Great Wall of China were funded? It was there in feudal times. It sparked the American war of independence.

The socialists didn't invent taxation. Taxation has been a given since there was any kind of "civilization" at all. All that the socialists did was insist that some of the taxes got spent on services for the poor, rather than that they all got gobbled up by the rich.

And now the rich have managed to convince people to blame taxation on the socialists. And on the poor. (Dude! It's all the fault of the Welfare Queens)

I would be laughing my head off if it wasn't so politically incorrect to mock the mentally afflicted.

Right now the Libertarians are embracing a bunch of super-rich oligarchs who are promising lower taxes. They're waltzing into the "DarkEnlightenment" and calling for a restoration of monarchy. Seriously? Do they have the faintest idea how much money Luis XIV siphoned out of the French economy to pay for Versailles?

So-called Libertarians are en route to hand over power to absolute autocrats who will cut all the welfare services to prove how much they are shrinking the government. (On the grounds that Democracy is incompatible with freedom because the mob always vote to tax the rich and redistribute wealth to themselves, right?)

And then those same oligarchs are going to keep right on taxing, just like every other despot in history, and syphon all the money into their own grandiose projects and luxurious living.

We have over 6000 years of historical precedent to remind us of this.

But "those who ignore history ..." etc. etc.

Quora Answer : What is the moral basis for taxing some incomes at higher rates than others?

Jan 31, 2020

Justice and marginal utility.

Justice says everyone should pay equally.

Marginal utility says that the more money you have, the less each extra dollar is worth to you.

Therefore, to ensure justice, and controlling for the effects of marginal utility, you should tax the wealthy a higher proportion of their extra wealth so that the pain is spread equally across incomes.

OK ... so that was a joke answer.

(Or was it?)

The main moral justification is that gross inequality is bad for society. It's bad because very rich people have a lot of power. And by definition, that means very poor people have their power and freedom commensurately diminished. And the statistics do seem to show that the worse the inequality is, the more the poor suffer from it. (Actually the rich seem to suffer too because of stress and a bunch of other effects)

So to restore freedom and the health of society, there has to be some countervailing force that redistributes wealth away from accumulating in the hands of the very rich, and giving back to everyone else. Obviously, the faster the rate that the very rich are accumulating the wealth, the stronger that counter-measure needs to be.

Quora Answer : Would you support a compulsory scheme whereby every person who earns over £20,000 PA would have to give 0.1% of their salary to charity?

Aug 20, 2017


The justification for the government taking money in the form of taxes is that it's a "management fee" for the government organizing and maintaining the country (including its economy and social welfare.)

That, in turn, is justified because the government is answerable to the people - via democratic elections - and can claim to be acting as the agent of the collective will.

Tax is "the people" as a collective, charging individuals that fee to participate economically, in their society.

In practice, there are flaws in this process, but this is the tower of legitimacy that taxation stands on.

OTOH, government obliging people to hand over their money to other private organizations which aren't democratically elected, and which the government has no control over, seems to dispense with that legitimacy, while keeping the, arguably ugly, fact of coercively taking money.

It's the worst possible option.

Charity should be voluntary. More or less by definition.

Quora Answer : Is it hypocritical to promote socialism and consider yourself left-wing whilst avoiding tax legally?

Mar 13, 2019


To an extent.

Obviously it depends on the fine details of your politics. A left-anarchist or libertarian socialist who doesn't think the state is a suitable vehicle for left-wing policies wouldn't be hypocritical.

Also "legally avoiding tax" sort of blends in to just "not paying taxes I don't owe because I qualify for certain exemptions".

It's one thing to put your money in an ISA and another to put it into a tax haven.

But certainly if you claim to be left-wing and that the state is the right vehicle for that and that people should be paying their taxes, then it is hypocritical to put too much effort into trying to reduce them.

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