Schadenfreude as Tax Policy

The first most important thing about taxes is to have someone else pay them. Sadly, most everyone knows this, and the others are busily setting about making you pay theirs. Hence, you are most unlikely to win this battle.

The fallback option is to remember that if you want more of something subsidize it, but if you want less of something tax it. You will not be able rid yourself of the onerous tax burden, but you might well be able to cast it up on those you dislike.

Nothing like a bit of schadenfreude to brighten the day.

Some argue (legitimately) that taxes should just raise money and do nothing else. While true, that makes an extremely boring story. Besides, though I tend to agree, that horse is long out of the barn.

Think of things that you would like less of and let me know. We will propose to tax them if only to make them go away.

Watch for suggestions in upcoming posts.


4 Responses to “Schadenfreude as Tax Policy”

Njck Gardiner, November 12, 2019 at 10:26 am said:

Dear Haven
I would like to see our citizens identify themselves as American, and not by political party ideology. A major crisis such as an attack on Taiwan by China might accomplish that. A cyber attack on the infrastructure of the US might achieve this as well. Neither is to be wished for, but that’s what it might take. Tariffs on China trade don’t count for a lot. They continue to steal over $300 billion of our technology annually, which threatens national security. DOD knows this, but others don’t. Where is that in the trade talks?


Haven Pell, November 12, 2019 at 12:46 pm said:

I wish the political parties were not working so hard in opposition to your first sentence.


Mac Norton, November 12, 2019 at 12:05 pm said:

Here are some ideas for things to tax that currently avoid taxation: (1) robo-calls, (2) bicycles and scooters on downtown city streets, and (3) junk mail (or, just don’t subsidize it with low postage rates).

Your post raises in my mind an array of tax-related questions, such as what is the difference between for profit and not for profit enterprises, and should it matter; and why should there be any deductions in taxing income (or in other words, why not tax revenue instead). Not sure what my answer is to these questions.


Haven Pell, November 12, 2019 at 12:38 pm said:

Mac, excellent suggestions. Like you I am keen on the non-profit / for-profit distinction and the ease of getting around it, at least economically. Sometimes the answers are less important than raising the questions and starting the discussions.


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