Current Observations Home Current Observations Home Current Observations Home

But What is Your Fair Share?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I was reading a post at South Puget Sound Libertarian about raising taxes [again] to pay for Washington's education system. The gist of Mark's post was about the push to remove the supermajority required by voters to raise property taxes for school levies, bonds, etc. They, being anyone connected to education (surprise!), want to change the State's constitution to allow a simple majority the ability to take tax you.
Libertarian, a regular on Mark's blog, left a comment about another post he read at, in which they're considering a state income tax to help pay for education. Let me go on record as stating that I am opposed to a state income tax. The state will just as easily squander revenue they receive from an income tax as they do from our current tax structure--they'll just have more of it to waist.
I followed Libertarian's link back to the aforementioned post to read Goldy's post, "WASL math: education is all about the money". Goldy wants to impose an income tax to pay for education, plain and simple. He cites the State's constitution where it says, "It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for ... education..." (Article IX, Section 1) and further supports his case by stating Democrats are unable to spend "amply" because there simply isn't enough money.
Keep in mind that I'm not familiar with Goldy's politics, but judging from the company he keeps at, I'd have to conclude that he's of the liberal mindset. So to hear a liberal railing for an income tax comes as no great surprise to me. Goldy finishes his post by making a plea to local editorial pages to take up the fight for--or at least begin to discuss--a state income tax.
But that's not really why I've drug you down here. The real reason is the comments left by his readers. Some, like a person calling himself Roger Rabbit, seem to be professional commenters. Of the 66 post registered at the time of this writing, he had 29. Either he is Goldy, or he thrives on arguing.
But, again, not why we're here. Roger Rabbit, in responding to a comment left by Libertarian, said:
You’ll have to find a better red herring than this one, Lib. It doesn’t ring true. It doesn’t have the feel of authenticity. It’s as transparent as glass. Why don’t you be honest and just admit that (a) you’re afraid of a tax increase, and/or (b) you don’t want to pay your fair share and like the current system that puts the burden on those least able to pay.
Ignoring most of what he says, I want you to focus on the concept of "paying your fair share." He's not the only one who put this forward as justification for taxing you. Wally the talking Badger also tried to twist Libertarian's words around when Libertarian said, "Libertarians are Democrats who believe in individual responsibility. Libertarians are Republicans who believe in individual rights." Wally the talking Badger asked, "Are Libertarians in favor of being individually responsible for paying their fair share of taxes?" I presume he meant to belittle Libertarian's argument that libertarians believe in being responsible for themselves by showing that paying one's taxes is a form of self-responsibility.
He obviously doesn't understand that individual responsibility means not standing in front of government with your hand out looking for taxpayer-funded freebees. Libertarians aren't opposed to paying taxes; they only want to pay for the services they use. And what they do pay over they want used in the most efficient way possible. Remember: small government=good; no government=better.
We still haven't arrived at my question: what is your fair share when it comes to paying taxes? How much is fair? Who decides what amount is fair? Can one look in a code book for a definition of "fair share"? Would it read, "Up to this point shall be considered fair. Anything more shall be considered excessive." The "Fair Share" argument seems to be trotted out whenever someone who's aim is to take from you wants to guilt you into letting him. How do you argue against ambiguity? Is a 10 percent tax on your income fair? Would 11 percent also be fair? How about 12? Or would that cross some imaginary excessive line?
Seriously, if anyone can define what "fair share" means, let me know. As it stands right now, this is what I envision "fair share" would mean to Roger Rabbit and Wally the talking Badger. You have property. In this case, its money. We need money for our education program to operate, so we're going to "ask" you to contribute. If you resist, we'll force you to pay. We've determined through a mathematical formula that your fair share will be 10 percent of your property. Now, pay up! (Never mind that you may not have children.)
Now, here's my idea of fair share. Let's say you have a child that needs an education. You open up a phonebook and look under schools in the yellow pages. Finding a listing, you dial their number. After talking to the sales staff, you agree on a price, and arrange to send your child to their school. Did you see how that process worked? If you decided the school's price for tuition was acceptable, then you've paid over a fair share. If, however, you didn't, you're free to move on to the next listing. Those schools asking too high a price for tuition will either lower their prices to stay competitive or go out of business. In the end, the consumer controls the education market, not some government bearucracy. That, to me, is fair.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Powered by Blogger |



Who Links