Wednesday, September 17, 2003
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Must-read for the day
What's brilliant about this piece is that Levy points out that the argument that the tax burden should be shared broadly is of a piece with arguments that the left is far more comfortable advancing -- reviving the draft, opposing school vouchers, and keeping Social Security as a universal benefit.
Read the whole thing.posted by Dan on 09.17.03 at 12:59 PM
Jacob Levy makes a good point that social democrats and others have always stressed the importance of universalist benefits and programs. However, they have also generally stressed the use of payroll taxes, not income taxes, to finance these programs. Someone who makes $12,000 still pays those taxes, even if he/she may pay not much in income taxes. Thus, lack of loyalty to these programs is not really at stake.
ps. As a fellow untenured political scientist I much enjoy your blog.posted by: Erik on 09.17.03 at 12:59 PM [permalink]
Raising taxes on the poor = broadening the tax burden
Raising taxes on the rich = class warfare
:Dposted by: snore on 09.17.03 at 12:59 PM [permalink]
It really is an excellent piece--and as he said over at Volokh, his most contrarian to date. My only problem with it is philosophical; his use of "exploitation" as a way to communicate the commonality between all these collective enterprises masks the (I think) legitimate communitarian difference between enlisting individuals in a program where both the means and the ends can be expressed in terms of wholes (i.e., national service), and enlisting individuals in schemes which, by their nature, cannot be wholly equalized (i.e., a tax arrangement which addresses inequities in income). More on my blog here: http://philosophenweg.blogspot.com/2003_09_01_philosophenweg_archive.html#106382098782365121posted by: Russell Arben Fox on 09.17.03 at 12:59 PM [permalink]
Huh? The left is arguing for reviving the draft?!?
What's the weather like on your planet, Dan?posted by: uh_clem on 09.17.03 at 12:59 PM [permalink]
Dear Clem,posted by: Dan on 09.17.03 at 12:59 PM [permalink]
Sadly, Jacob completely missed the point. Aside from the snarkiness that liberals aimed at the Journal's idiotic wording, the substantive criticism was that the poor *already* pay plenty of taxes. They just don't pay a lot of income tax, and this is the only thing that prevents our overall tax system from being completely regressive.
Taken as a whole, our tax system is very nearly flat today, and the poorest quintile pays roughly 17% of its income in state, local, and payroll taxes. Does Jacob, like the Journal, truly think they ought to be paying even more?posted by: Kevin Drum on 09.17.03 at 12:59 PM [permalink]
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