Friday, June 22, 2012

Taxing the poor to benefit the rich

I always hear calls to increase taxes presented as a simple, morally-neutral transfer of money from the rich to the poor. When there are cuts to things like food stamps, public housing or welfare my friends on the left like the juxtapose them with suggestions to tax the rich more.

Morally, we are asked, what's wrong with taking money from the rich to help the poor?

Except, of course, it doesn't really work that way. A lot of the money goes to the usual suspects, agricultural subsidies and other forms of corporate welfare, boondoggles like the Big Dig and bridges to nowhere, frivolous historical and cultural district grants that are treated as free money, stadiums for private sports teams and the occasional war.

There's also programs that give designer goodies to people like you and me, like the Beaon Food Forest in Seattle. Sometimes, tax money goes to projects for people who are doing OK or are even rich.

I thought Social Security set the bar with it's taking of money out of the pocket of poor teens working at a supermarket and giving those same dollars to rich retired doctors living in Florida, but this Bikes-for-Whites program really takes the cake.

I'd be a lot more willing to tolerate tax increases if I thought they were going to go to help the poor or even pay off the deficit. In reality, those new tax dollars will end up in the pockets of the politically powerful, or worse, be treated as free money for every half-baked grant writer to snatch away.


  1. Two things. First, this doesn't even make sense. You start out your post by talking about increased taxes on the wealthy. However, by the end of your post, we find that you've complained that taxes go too much to helping the wealthy. For that reason, you do not support tax increases. Doesn't this even out for the rich while also helping the poor? This is hardly any different than your love of trickle-down economics: Large sums of money go to the top of the chain (the government) and eventually gets spread out in decreasing amounts as it goes down the chain. The big difference, though, is that the benefit seen by the top of a chain in the private sector via trickle-down economics is hugely disparate from the benefit seen by the common worker; with the government, the benefit disparity, if anything, is in the favor of the little guy.

    Second, your rhetoric is transparent. If your goal is to appeal to a left-leaning audience, someone with your positions can't very well go around disparaging things that unduly benefit white people. Everyone sees the wolf in sheep's clothing.

  2. Oh, and it's cute how you mention poorly executed projects like the Big Dig, yet you fail to mention the fact that the federal government spent only about $119 billion on the Interstate System between 1956 and 1996 (

  3. By war I assume you mean stimulus!


  5. I find that article interesting for a number of reasons, I don't think I really need to list them.