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Aug 26, 2008

Ma government to lower lots of taxes

Or that's the plan, anyway. I heard some details on ICRT this morning and can't recall the numbers, but they involved reducing the corporate income tax, tax paid by foreigners working here, reducing and eliminating the inheritance and gift tax in some cases.

Now the Milton Friedman Foundation has been running an ad like crazy for a few weeks now about how lowering taxes will improve Taiwan's economy. That ad has not gone over well universally, but I think it will probably have a powerful effect on how people think about this issue. I mean, taxes are never popular.

I myself find these issues really, really complex and don't like to make blanket statements on them. Except, of course, for the fact that taxes are in effect legalized robbery. But putting aside my dreams of a non-coercive, stateless society, the government is going to have to make its money somehow ...

6 comments:

STOP Ma said...

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With a responsible government (maintained through proper checks and balances), taxes are essential to maintaining a healthy and vibrant society. I disagree completlely with the blanket statement that "taxes are robbery". Taiwan's reasonably efficient and relatively universal health-care is made possible through taxes, afterall. And I think the world has had quite enough of the disastrous results of the Milton Friedman school of economics.
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阿牛 said...

Allow me to defend the statement. Theft is defined thus by the Texas penal code (I'm sure it's similar everywhere):

§ 31.03. THEFT.
(a) A person commits an offense if he unlawfully appropriates property with intent to deprive the owner
of property.
(b) Appropriation of property is unlawful if:
(1) it is without the owner's effective consent;
(2) the property is stolen and the actor appropriates the property knowing it was stolen by another; or (3) property in the custody of any law enforcement agency was explicitly represented by any law enforcement agent to the actor as being stolen and the actor appropriates the property believing it was stolen by another.

So by this definition, taxes, which are appropriated "without the owner's effective consent," are strictly speaking, theft. The only difference is that the State has a monopoly on crime, so they can do it.

STOP Ma said...

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Nonsense. I can only speak to the Canadian tax system (of which I believe I pay too much tax), but tax in Canada is not "theft" -- it is part of Canadian law. This law was written by elected representatives. You may want to call them thieves (and sometimes that would be quite accurate), but that is a blanket statement that ignores the fact that this social contract with the electorate means that taxes are not meant to be taken and never seen again. Taxes are meant to be used to improve society in a number of different ways.

Note that your definition does not include this defining aspect of taxes as part of a social contract. And so, by definition, tax is decidedly NOT theft in any meaningful way if not pocketed by corrupt politicians. When there is such a break in this social contract with corrupt politicians, then, in Canada, the law can penalize these certain individuals with due process.
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阿牛 said...

The social contract theory is nonsense, because it too is entirely involuntary. I didn't sign it, I can't withdraw from it, and if I don't abide by it I can be sent to jail. That's not cool.

阿牛 said...

btw, it is on the same basis I consider capitalism theft: all land, much of the labor that worked it and the factories that were eventually built on it, were stolen. The very basis of the entire economic system is committing theft because "the actor appropriates the property knowing it was stolen by another," even if they do so honestly and in good faith, as most capitalists do today.

Miguel said...

I wonder how they will keep their promises of infrastructure investment by reducing their income?

Definitely, this is just another scam to the people, made only for the ones who Ma has to respond, and those are not the 7M who voted for him, but the few thousands who have interests on him.

Next thing will be to increase the VAT to 20%, but not make any checks on VAT fraud - for sure it will increase the local consumption as the VAT carousel goes on (indirectly, there is a lot of money involved, so to clean this money, investments in real estate and luxury consumption are made, which by itself makes the economy grow). Look at the example of Spain, since it is needed to explain from where the money comes to buy a house, the real estate business has gone down the drain.

I still have some more imaginative ideas on how to make the rich richer, if any of Ma's aides want to talk with me....