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Archive for December 22nd, 2010

What Is Your “Fair Share” of the Federal Tax Burden?

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It’s getting close to that time of the year again when individuals will prepare their tax returns and pay their “fair share” of the Federal tax burden.  But what is a “fair share”?  In the United States we have a progressive tax meaning, essentially, that the more you make the more you pay.  Is that fair?  Why? 

Perhaps one can think of money as a sort of “certificate of societal contribution”.  Society rewards, in the form of monetary compensation, what it needs and what it values.  So, in a sense, and maybe a stretch, the higher the value of an individuals societal contribution the more the monetary compensation paid to them.  So why a progressive penalty (tax) on those people who provide to society the most value or benefit as measured by compensation?

Perhaps it should be the other way around.  If you don’t contribute to society as some expected level (your “fair share of the work”) then you pay a penalty.  How about a reverse progressive tax?  The lower your contribution to society the higher the penalty (tax).

A Sense of Obligation to Society & Human Dignity

When the first pioneers came to America could you be part of a community or settlement and expect to eat but not work?  Back then the expectation was the everyone contributes and that this act of contributing to the work or productivity was part of the lifeblood of community survival. 

But today, is this still true?  Does anyone feel they have an obligation to contribute?  In the Steinbeck novel Grapes of Wrath which is set in the Great Depression of America the Joad family, a poor family of sharecroppers nearly without hope trapped in the Dust Bowl, refused to take “relief” (welfare) – they wanted a job.  To take “relief” , in their eyes, was an insult to human dignity.  Still true today? (“Suppose your only real ambition is not to have to exert yourself to get by... read more )

Today, some people’s highest aspiration is to get on the welfare system.  They spend more time and  effort trying to “work the system” than they would spend trying to find an opportunity to contribute to society.  How times have changed.

Your Fair Share

So who pays what and what is your “fair share” of the federal tax burden?

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Written by frrl

December 22, 2010 at 8:29 pm

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