Volatility

December 21, 2010

No Taxes On the Non-Rich

Filed under: Reformism Can't Work — Tags: , — Russell Bangs @ 2:26 am

 

We must get over any and all fixations on “good government”. We face a terminal kleptocracy. That means lots of things, including the fact that all the nice-sounding things in the civics textbooks and progressive training primers are no longer valid. They’ve been hijacked.
 
It’ll never happen again that this government will extract taxes and then trickle the money back down in a fair, constructive way. From here on, any taxation will only go down the corporate rathole. Every cent taken from the productive people is stolen. So a basic slogan and absolute demand must be:
 
No Taxes On the Non-Rich.
 
That means no new taxes (e.g. a VAT), no expansion of existing taxes. It means we should seize anything like a payroll tax holiday as a good thing (though of course we shouldn’t be grateful to the criminals who “let us keep” a little extra of the wealth we and only we produced, and did so only under extreme political duress).
 
That doesn’t mean we have to accept social spending cuts. As MMT has demonstrated, the government has no constraints on spending under these economic conditions. As their corporate welfare-laden budgets have proven all along, the elites themselves recognize no such constraints and feel total freedom to print and spend.
 
So when we combine the tax imperative with the austerity imperative:
 
Total Austerity for the Criminals [banks, corporations, the rich], Not One Cent More From the People.
 
No Taxes On the Non-Rich.
 
We see the clear policy platform. We demand full payouts along with no taxes. It turns out the much-maligned tax protestor types were right about that all along. (They were always wrong in their sycophancy and bootlicking for the corporate elites, and they remain wrong. They only have half the picture, No Taxes. They must learn: Total Austerity for the Criminals.)
 
Here’s the facts:
1. There will never again be progressive taxation under this system.
 
2. Even if there were a relatively progressive new tax increment, the revenue extracted will never go to the constructive good of the people. It will go down the corporate rathole, and to build up the police state.
 
3. If the government ever chose to engage in constructive social spending, it can do so at will simply by crediting accounts. It never has to tax to do that.
 
4. So taxation really serves no purpose but to keep us shackled to the dollar economy.
 
For these reasons its a tactical error to be dragged into the argument about progressive vs. regressive taxation. Such distractions exist only in the wonk textbooks. In reality all income and payroll taxes are objectively regressive by now, no matter what their nominal form.
 
There is one constructive way to argue and advocate taxation: We can classify all taxes as being on productive work or on rents. We must demand as close to 100% taxation as possible on all land and interest rents, all large-estate inheritance, and all finance sector transactions. We must demand and support this vector of lessening taxation on productivity, increasing it on parasites. We should represent this as an excise tax, meant to punish parasitism and encourage productivity.
 
In practice this system will almost certainly never shift taxes that way. So, that exception aside, let’s reject all taxes. All new taxes, all tax increases, all taxes. In an earlier post I said “let’s be neo-Norquists.” But unlike those liars, who claim to want small government but really want an extremely big, aggressive government to serve as corporate thug and bagman, we really do want to get rid of corporatism completely. We want the complete end of big corporations and big government.
 
That means, not “we want to drown government in a bathtub”, but we want a tsunami to wash away the whole rotten structure.

18 Comments

  1. Very good. Henry George had pretty much the same idea in 1879. Instead, we got the progressive agenda: the income tax plus the fed. This says everything you need to know about progressives.

    Comment by jake chase — December 21, 2010 @ 4:06 pm

    • What’s up, Jake.

      Yes, this agenda is a proven failure, along with trickle-down “representative” pseudo-democracy itself.

      Comment by Russ — December 21, 2010 @ 4:27 pm

      • Russ, Hi. Any new take on the ‘net-neutrality’ decision?

        Comment by tawal — December 21, 2010 @ 6:39 pm

  2. Hi, tawal. The last I saw (a few days ago) they’re maybe finally going to have a vote, but on a sham policy along the lines of the Google-Verizon Pact, incorporating the weak elements of the FCC’s proposed net neutrality rules.

    That will mean:

    1. No rules at all for wireless Internet (even though there’s absolutely zero reason to treat it differently from fixed wire).

    2. “Net neutrality” rules will be enshrined for the fixed wire Internet. But they’ll allow “paid prioritization”, a VIP lane (which directly contradicts the net neutrality concept), and an intentionally vague “reasonable network management” discrimination loophole, which will also subvert the concept.

    So it’s a fraudulent “net neutrality” enshrinement, posing as real net neutrality.

    Two of the five commissioners have always wanted to vote for full net neutrality. Two are just criminals. So once the comment process and the rest of the process were finished by last spring, Genachowski could at any time have held a vote to enshrine full net neutrality, the moment he was willing to vote for it. Obama could at any time have ordered him to hold that vote, if Obama really supported net neutrality the way he’s always claimed.

    So we have proof that Obama was always lying, while I think Genachowski caved in once he saw how Obama had left him hanging.

    So we can expect the gutting of net neutrality in the near future. Along with Gated Community 2.0 and the intensifying calls and action for direct government censorship, this is one of the three severe blows Internet democracy is now sustaining. It’s hard to see how it’ll survive.

    Glad you asked?

    Comment by Russ — December 22, 2010 @ 5:38 am

    • Update – they did hold the vote yesterday.

      Comment by Russ — December 22, 2010 @ 6:12 am

      • Thanks so much Russ. It seems to me that the outcome of yesterday’s vote was pretty much as you described above. Any new subtle nuances that you have read or heard from this decision that could further hamper freedom of expression in the internet sphere?

        Comment by tawal — December 22, 2010 @ 12:58 pm

      • No, nothing special. It looks like the sham net neutrality people feared.

        Of course, if everyone (regulators, telecoms, and big information providers) is telling the truth about his intentions, then it wouldn’t be too bad. But we have to assume they’re all lying.

        Comment by Russ — December 22, 2010 @ 2:56 pm

  3. i agree with your premise, russ, but i’d like to see you put a number on “non-rich”…it would make it easier to advocate…

    Comment by geaugailluminati — December 22, 2010 @ 8:22 am

    • I don’t know if having specific numbers regarding who’s elite and who’s not makes for better advocacy. Anyone on Wall Street, any corporate executive, anyone in high office, etc. counts; anyone who actually works for a living doesn’t. If there’s a messy middle ground, it’s tactically better to leave that unquantified.

      In principle, there have been lots of measures for what the maximum reasonable income should be for the highest-paid vs. the lowest. 3-1 or 4-1 is probably the maximum which could ever be justified rationally and morally. (Not that I’m saying it shouldn’t be more equal than that; that’s just a guideline for the upper boundary.)

      I would like to shift the discussion of taxation away from the progrssive vs. regressive frame, which I think is unproductive. I said above I think all taxes on productive labor are regressive. I don’t mean get rid of the income tax on higher earners; but that won’t come up in our policy debates because it’s completely outside the question for this system. That’s why I say it’s pointless discussing the progressivity vs. the regressivity of the tax code. Certainly, demand always that it be made more progressive. But it’s better to refuse to argue in detail inside that frame, as opposed to insisting on the frame of taxation on productivity vs. parasitic rents.

      Instead, I want to shift the discussion, and in a perfect world the policy, from taxation on labor to taxation on parasitism: land and capital rents. Certainly I’d put a lower income bound (e.g. $50,000 or something like that? just a guess – I’m not a numbers guy) on that. I don’t want confiscatory taxes on normal bank accounts and existing pension funds.

      If you have a good idea for some really effective number, let me know. But all I’m saying is: Reject all (federal) taxes on the non-rich. That means almost all taxes on almost everyone. I guess my concept is that I know what each thing is as I see it. But tying our hands with specific numbers and such just plays into the hands of these master manipulators.

      Comment by Russ — December 22, 2010 @ 9:31 am

      • i dug up the numbers when the catfood commission was all the rage, and some libertarians were advocating the “fair tax”
        here’s what i wrote then:
        “… the fair tax proposes across the board sales taxes of 23%, eliminating the income tax altogether…according to wage stats for 2009 from the SSA, 66% of all Americans made less than $40,000, while half actually made less than $26,261…these are the people who live paycheck to paycheck, who spend all they earn, so rather than being fair, such a tax system would be diminish the standard of living most people could afford after paying those taxes; & thus the so-called “fair tax” would effectively put 1/2 the population below the federal poverty threshold…”

        here’s the supporting link on wages: http://www.ssa.gov/cgi-bin/netcomp.cgi?year=2009

        i would think it would be easy to argue that all those whose income is less than twice the poverty level should not pay any tax; there is such a table here:

        http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2010/12/21/chart-of-the-day-the-working-poor/

        Comment by geaugailluminati — December 22, 2010 @ 10:09 am

      • Thanks, geaugailluminati (alright if I call you geauga for short?).

        (Sorry your comments got caught in my spam filter. With two or more links, it should go into moderation, but sometimes it just goes into spam. I don’t know why.)

        Exemption up to twice the poverty level sounds like a good start to me. I see no reason the working poor should pay anything in taxes to a system which does them no good and only afflicts them. Although by now I’d say the affliction goes beyond just the working poor.

        I totally reject any federal sales tax (or VAT, the darling of the corporate liberal wonks). That’s one big reason the scam “fair tax” is so unfair. (I don’t know offhand, but I’ll assume that even as it wants to hit the poor for 23% of their necessary expenditures, it also exempts “capital gains” and such, the very parasite flows we want to eradicate.)

        Comment by Russ — December 22, 2010 @ 3:16 pm

      • well russ, you can see from your spam that i went crazy trying to post that…i even went to naked capitalism to try to reply, and that failed too; maybe yves has the same filter?

        i’ve had you on my google reader, so ive already forwarded this with my suggestions…i know where you’re coming from with your objections, but you have to lay something on the table that people with limited vision can see…

        the fair tax from the “Americans For Fair Taxation” has a following even among those who’d get hit the hardest:
        http://www.fairtax.org/site/PageServer

        & btw, you can call me by my blogger ID, rjs…i just happened to be signed into wordpress & went with it…

        Comment by geaugailluminati — December 22, 2010 @ 3:59 pm

      • Yeah, that must have been frustrating. I get that sometimes as NC as well.

        I hear what you’re saying. That’s one reason I don’t bother calling for higher taxes on the rich. I support that, of course. But since there’s no prospect of it, I figure it’s more a more elegant and promising tactic to just stress No Taxes for the Non-Rich for starters. Then, once we found broad agreement on that, suggest that where there has to be taxation at all, the unproductive rentier is clearly the moral and rational subject.

        Perhaps we can write up our own Fair Tax. Simple to use, too, for the average person. It’s long been obvious to me that a tax doesn’t have to be flat to fit on a postcard. It can be flat and low (or nonexistent) for lower income levels, and just extremely steep at higher ones. Postcard city, for all productive people.

        That’s just one example.

        Comment by Russ — December 23, 2010 @ 1:33 am

  4. […] telling the truth for once. This is a poll tax. It’s a radically regressive tax. By now, all taxes on the non-rich are by definition regressive, since all such extractions are conveyed to corporate interests. We know that government does not […]

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  5. […] which is, as I said, one of the ways the kleptocracy keeps us in thrall.   . Here’s an earlier post on the same subject. Leave a Comment LikeBe the first to like this post.Leave a Comment […]

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  6. […] any better with the diminishing money we have.   (Previous posts on my No Taxes position include No Taxes on the Non-Rich and End All Taxation.)   There’s no point fearing that without taxation the criminals will […]

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  7. […] any better with the diminishing money we have. (Previous posts on my No Taxes position include No Taxes on the Non-Rich and End All Taxation.) There’s no point fearing that without taxation the criminals will have a […]

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  8. […]   **I’m ready to agree with some of these people on another point. Not long ago I wrote, No Taxes on the Non-Rich. Reading the Rothbard passage linked above helped convince me once and for all of the conclusion […]

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