Taxation's Influence on the Poor
edited: Tuesday, July 31, 2007
By Martin T Ingham
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Tuesday, July 31, 2007
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An argument for why poor people shouldn't pay income tax.
I’ve heard it said that forcing the impoverished to pay taxes is beneficial to recruiting anti-taxation crusaders, and lowering our future tax burden. It’s been argued that having poor people pay a token sum of their earnings in income taxes in some way makes them more fiscally responsible and conscientious. It’s supposed to make them care about how their tax money is spent, and make them want to fight against increases and government waste.
Unfortunately, from my personal observation and experience, this is not the general impact of taxing the impoverished. In fact, taxing low income earners seems to worsen the problem. Making the poor pay taxes in fact causes them to demand more government services. They feel they’re entitled to the government services they receive, and think they deserve more because they’re kicking in their “fair share,” never mind that what they pay in taxes doesn’t come anywhere close to covering the cost of the services they receive. They think paying taxes means the government owes them.
As someone who has lived in poverty, I have seen this attitude in many an impoverished worker, yet I do not share the mindset. I recognize that excessive taxation is evil, and greater government services are the root cause of taxation. I understand the economic impact of higher taxes, and understand how harmful they are to all businesses and every wage earner.
Taxes also keep many low income earners from getting ahead. In many cases, the government makes people dependent. There are many people earning near the poverty level who would have enough to get by on their own, if the government didn’t come along and steal a hunk of their earnings every year. Instead of letting people pay for their own services, the government takes tax money from them, and gives it back in the form of handouts.
Now there’s one motive behind the tangled web of government taxation. The bureaucracy needs people to need it. If more lower-income workers didn’t need government services, we wouldn’t need so many paper pushers in government offices. Government jobs would be eliminated, saving taxpayer dollars, and reducing the size and scope of government. Thus, we would have lower taxes, because we wouldn’t be paying so many government employees to redistribute our wealth.
Therefore, it is my conclusion that anyone who earns near or below the poverty level should be exempt from filing federal and state income taxes. It would be a net gain in the long run for us all. It could help many poor people drag themselves up by their bootstraps, and eliminate the entitlement mindset. All that, and our tax burden would decrease. It is only logical.