Taxation in the 21st Century
The matter of paying taxes has long been a reluctant subject. An Amendment to the Contitution Article 16 entitled Income Tax Authorized was ratified by 43 of the States in 1913. The indicates a reluctance by the leaders of our national bodies were reluctant to deal with the matter. It probably was a matter of necessity.
Adam Smith (1723-1790) Economist and Philosopher, called the Father of Economics, held to four maxims of taxation. They are: 1. The subject of every state ought to contribute towards the support of the government, as nearly as possible in proportion to their respective abilities, that is in proportion to the revenue they enjoy under the protection of the state. 2. The tax each individual is bound to pay; the means of payment and the quantity to be paid ought to be clear and plain to each contributor and to every other person. 3.Every tax ought to be levied at the same time or in the manner which is most likely to be convnient for the contributor to pay it. 4 Every tax ought to be so contributed as both to take out and keep out of the pockets as little as possible, over and above what it brings into the public treasury of the state. "Adam Smith, Recommendations on Taxation." Nadine Weiner, Google,
Adam Smith recommended two types of taxes, a tax on luxury consumables and a tax on the annual price of land.
I have a question, why is it that taxes is a dirty word? We read the history of our world, governments who tax people are not looked at very kindly. The people of the Bible speak unkindly of tax collectors because they worked for a government that was not theirs. The people who settled the new world were taxed by the English government. A tax on tea caused a a bit of a ruckus, if you remember,The Boston Tea Party. In every election some candidates promise not to raise taxes. A candidate for governor of Illinois says that he is not afraid of saying no to taxes, but promises to take care of our roads, our schools. Further he he wants to keep taxes from destroying our lives.
Churches and service organizations are supported by pledges made by people. Large donations are appreciated, but to my observation the bulk of the money comes in medium sized donations by middle class folks. We don't seem to object to that. Those organizations belong to the people. They are not some sort of a effort put upon us from the outside. I really don't see the difference between that and the effort of government to fund its operation. We elect the people who work in governmental offices. They work for us. They do not raise the funds that helps operate the government. We cannot expect people who work for us and provide the services and the building and roads for us to do anything without our financial support. So again, why is taxes a dirty word? We should not complain about contributing to a body of folks who enable us to travel safely, to educate our children and protect us.
I believe that the misconduct of elected persons to be the result of our attitude toward taxes. We need to put more value on our tax dollars. They are a vital part of our common life, The legislatures budget expenditures beyond income, then money is borrowed to meet the difference. It is obvious that the repayment of that indebtedness will fall upon successive generations. We dare to burden them with our failure to meet our obligations.
The nation cannot declare bankruptcy. Tthe failure to find taxes a necessity in the amounts we need to spend and the obligation to meet the budget first and not increase salaries or hire unnecessary help, needs to be changed to an honorable obligation and not a frivilous act. We need to bring taxation into the 21st century recognizing that Adam Smith was right in that it is an obligation on our part.