Sunday, February 5, 2012

Taxes and Government

So far this book isn't too bad. The first chapter of course was over many different ideas that will be discussed in later chapters but the ending thoughts were ones that I hope Frank expands on. Sure he is a rebel and doesn't really go for the invisible hand and makes it relatively clear that Adam Smith even had doubts, the part that caught my attention most is when he brought up taxes and government. Making the idea that government and taxes go hand in hand that is clear but when it comes on how well the government operates with low taxes is an interesting notion.
My thoughts so far were sort of eccentric towards his ideas and I began to think about how well our government, and our fellow citizens think our government works. Let's face it, most bills passed rarely go unnoticed by citizens and is it our fault for being so busy? What about SOPA, PIPA, or ACTA? I would like to take a poll at the next meeting to see who actually can correctly recall what bills these were and which one belongs to the United States. I believe that it is of great importance for citizens to take time out of their lives to ensure themselves that government is not only running itself, but correctly. Besides that small sidetrack of ideas let's get back on the topic of taxes.
Quite Frankly, Frank I believe is correct on most issues (thus far). Obviously you cannot have government with mandatory taxation in our modern state, mostly for the benefit of the common people for things like a police force, food stamps, etc. Yet with this deficit looming over our heads each day it is a little more difficult for government to 'reign in spending'. I'm sure there are a few relatively small government programs you can get rid off without making too much of a fuss but why not try to cut military spending. We spend more money than any country in the world combined with our military. (
I know that this might not be popular among military individuals but let's face it, we do not need a budget this big. So that is one way to handle deficit, the other is with taxes. But taxes are a little more difficult to deal with sometimes. If a politician is for raising taxes to allow for a future program that will benefit a sample of millions, the population of millions might not be willing to pocket out an extra 20 dollars or so and the politician does not get re-elected or even get into office. Although one could argue that the percentage of GDP growth and relative average income have as of the last 10 years slumped causing the middle class to be separated further from the wealthy 1%.
Regardless of what government or what we do one thing is for certain, it will be unpopular among the majority of Americans. But lately i'm concerned whether or not our government can even function anymore with all of these election campaigns. Seems like for the past few years government has done little, although it probably wouldn't help much, even to as much pass anything that would be useful and less of a hinderance. So with that I think this book will be quite interesting, when I finished the chapter I was left with a bunch of ideas clashing in my head and only so little time to sort them all out. Looking forward to the next chapters.

1 comment:

  1. The last couple paragraphs of this post you are pointing out what I feel are some of the problems with a democratic representative government like the United States. There are a lot of incentive structures that are not aligned for the benefit of society.

    As you point out, getting spending under control is nearly impossible as politicians get elected based on promises to secure funding for their constituents. Additionally, politicians tend to be short-sighted as they are looking to relection rather than the long term benefit of the country. This leads them to be willing to spend a lot of money now and let their predecessors have to deal with the consequences.

    So the question I would raise is can these incentive structures be realigned to allow democratic government to function the way it "should"? If so, how? I don't expect anyone to have all the answers but am curious if you have any thoughts on that, Casey.