When discussing taxes this past week with a co-worker, I had voiced my opinion that everyone ought to have some skin in the game. Namely, that everyone should bear some tax burden regardless of their income, even if it were only a hundred bucks a year. As it stands people whose income is not effected negatively by tax increases get to effect my wallet with their vote.
This co-worker, “Mike”, thought it was perfectly reasonable for the wealthiest Americans to shoulder the heavily lopsided tax burden they do–and even more–since “they can afford it”. I have heard this before, and I still find it wanting as a defense for soaking the wealthy with all the taxes.
Whether they can afford it is irrelevant to whether it is justifiable. After all, the wealthy could probably afford to pay $10 or $11 a gallon for gasoline; or $6 for a loaf of bread. But we don’t suggest we charge people based on their income just because their bank account can bear it.
Of course, Mike understands this point. And admittedly the tax burden scenario is a bit different. But It’s really only different for selfish reasons. For example, the poor don’t financially benefit from the wealthy paying $6 for bread. But they do substantially benefit from the wealthy paying as much of the tax burden as they possibly can. That’s where the money for the social programs come from.
Although, if the poor did somehow benefit from income-ratio pricing for commodities, I’d bet all the money I could borrow that you’d hear that the wealthy aren’t paying their fair share for bread.