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Continuing on with our short miniseries, let me ask a simple question for your reflection. First, recall the meme:
the reason the rich should pay more in taxes is that they were only able to earn their income by hiring people that went to (taxpayer funded) public schools, employ people who drove on (taxpayer funded) public roads and otherwise could not do what they do were it not for the awesome goodness of the government – they used more public services and therefore they should pay more for them too
Who really benefits more from the provision of the mountains of public goods that are supposedly being bestowed on us? Is it not likely that “the non-rich” (hey, it’s OK to group folks together, after all, that’s what we do with the rich) gain far more, proportionally more, from the provision of public goods than the rich do? After all, without public schools, isn’t it the case (we are told) that the masses would be dumb and illiterate and never be able to acquire marketable skills. Isn’t it the case that by completing 12 years of government schooling and another 4 of government college a person is in an incredibly better financial position than they otherwise be in? Isn’t it also true that said students pay only a fraction of the costs of this provision over their lifetimes? Isn’t it true that the “non-rich” benefit proportionately more by accessing the roads “we” provided to them. How would they ever get to work!!! I don’t have a darn clue how anyone would measure it or test the claim, but ought not the idea that the non-rich gain as much from, if not more than, the public sector be front and center here? Again, to be consistent, it would have to be the case that the rich gain more, gain proportionally more, and gain even more than proportionately more from the provision of public goods than the non-rich. Keep your eye on that ball.
Here are the past entries in the series:

3 Responses to “Weekend Thought on the Tax the Rich More Meme”

  1. Harry says:

    When octomom drove on the freeway to the delivery room, didn’t she use up enough public good credits for a whole city of rich people? When Fernando the LA cop arrests Hector and his stable of hoes, and piles up the legal expenses, court costs, public defender fees, plus the friction to reposses Hector’s BMW, plus the cost of the Narcs to police Hector’s $500/day cocaine habit, another problem which causes a thousand-mile fence being built from Brownsville to San Diego, well, there you have it — Freakonomics.

  2. We know from simple facts that the rich pay disproportionately more taxes. (Who else? Can’t tax the poor: they don’t have any money.) But we also know that the rich control the government. (Darn those fat cats.) So, how do you explain those two facts?

    One easy answer is that the wealthy accept the doctrine of noblesse oblige and are one heck of a nice bunch of folks for carrying our burdens for us. Let’s hope that Atlas does not shrug.

  3. […] Who really benefits more from the provision of public services and goods? […]

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