(Video) The Sixth Deadly Sin and our tax code

Posted by: Phineas on September 10, 2012 at 1:01 pm

**Posted by Phineas

The sixth of the Seven Deadly Sins is Envy, that insatiable desire to possess something that another person has and the resentment of those who have something you don’t.

In today’s Firewall, Bill Whittle sees our progressive tax code, which takes a greater portion of your income as you make more, for what it is: envy disguised as “fairness.”

I’ve long been a supporter of either a flat tax (one rate and very few deductions for all) or the elimination of the income tax altogether and its replacement by a national sales tax — taxing what you spend, not what you earn and save. (1)

My one quibble is with Bill’s flat tax example: Though the guy earning $100,000 and the guy earning $10,000 are paying the same rate, it’s much harder to get by on $8,300 than it is $83,000. Rather than tax the higher earner more, however, I’d like to see the first $5,000 (for example) of income to be declared non-taxable, and then the tax rate is applied to the remainder. Everyone is still treated equally, everyone still pays (and thus has a stake in the system), but the person making less and, perhaps, struggling gets some help. I think Goldwater had a similar idea.

But that’s just a quibble. Bill’s point is spot on: the heart of our tax code is envy, and progressives rely on that envy to gain and retain power.

1) But only if the 16th amendment, which allows income taxes, is repealed. Otherwise those pirates in Congress will find a way to tax income and spending, sure as the sun rises in the east.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

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3 Responses to “(Video) The Sixth Deadly Sin and our tax code”


  1. Total agreement on the best and most direct path to fixing the broken code: repeal the 16th and move to a consumption tax. Income taxes are actually more regressive in a very important way – the truly rich don’t really earn measurable “income” in the labor market. But at the point of consumption sale, nobody cares where the money came from.

    I also have a soft spot for a niche proposal out there that is known as the “neutral tax.” I like it because it would move aggressively back to federalist principles – by letting each individual state decide how to raise its proportional share of federal revenue.

  2. He hints at two others on the list of sins, sloth and gluttony. Those on public assistance programs (welfare, food stamps, etc.) lay on their dead as*es winding up with less and becoming envious in the process. People are lazy. Imagine if the lotto jackpot were $50 million and you hit it along with nine others. More people than not would be pis*ed about winning “just $5 million”.

  3. Carlos says:

    I live in Oregon, one of just two states without a sales tax. They have tried 9 times to institute a sales tax, but that has been voted down by at least 60% every time. And I voted against it every time.

    Why? For exactly the same reason you point out in your footnote, Phineas. If there were a way to declare the state income tax void before instituting a sales tax, I would be somewhat more amenable to the sales tax, but would still have reservations because once instituted because what would protect me from the state raising the tax rate at will?

    Unfortunately, more and more of your fellow Californicators are moving to this sate and building pressure to have that tax, but more and more of them that have been here for a while are beginning to see the wisdom of one, but not both, of those taxes.

    In the meantime, the federal tax system is so broken but so protected by special interests (not the least of which is congresscritters themselves) that it will probably never be fixed. We need to elect legislators whose primary purpose is to rid this country of the cancer that is the IRS and the income tax, and institute a system where everyone really does pay their fair share, including the 49.7% who pay no taxes at all at this time (also known as a “solid Democrat voting block”).