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2003-05-28 01:00:58.619101+00 by ebradway 7 comments

Some interesting graphs from the Office of Management and Budget:

Hmmm... Corporations have been getting HUGE tax breaks. It appears to me that corporations are bigger than ever (especially transnationals!) but they are paying proportionally much less in taxes. Of course, you could argue the taxation-without-representation and say that corporations need direct representation in Congress if taxed like an individual - but I think their lobbies are much more powerful than a handful of votes...

And in 2003 the Government will spend $81B on "Education, training, employment, and social services." In otherwords, we spent almost as much this year fight a war in some desert as we will trying to educate our citizens and "provide for the common welfare." But if we paid off our national debt, we'd be able to fight a war like Iraq II and more than double this lineitem with no tax increases! Heck, we could even throw in a small tax cut too!

Maybe I need to reread my Alexander Hamilton, but this national debt thing doesn't really make sense to me...

[ related topics: Politics History moron Education ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2003-05-28 02:07:49.513434+00 by: Larry Burton [edit history]

Personally, I believe that instead of getting rid of the tax on dividends from stocks the corporate income tax should have been removed.

Eric, if you consider that a good portion of the national debt is owed to individual citizens then you'll see that paying off the debt will cause a lot of folks to have to find someplace less stable to invest their money. A good many of those are retirees.

Of course if they had to invest that money elsewhere then look at all the economic growth that influx of capital could cause and the amount of tax revenue that would generate.

#Comment made: 2003-05-28 03:25:29.575248+00 by: Dan Lyke

I'd actually be cool with 100% of the federal budget spent on defense, but that's in a Utopian world, and not one that'll be practical in my lifetime, if ever.

And I'm not sure where I stand on the whole dividends versus corporate income tax thing. Corporations are fictional entities that largely have the same standing as a person, and as such I'd like to see them taxed as a person, but I understand the appeal of moving that tax off to the people that comprise the corporation.

Now if you broke that down by income so that we can see who it's benefitting, I think then you'll have the story that I'm more interested in, that current tax and business policies are increasing economic striation and decreasing economic mobility, and we're going to see the effects of that in motivation in our economy soon, just as Japan did in the last decade.

#Comment made: 2003-05-28 05:31:57.64697+00 by: ebradway

I'd actually be cool with 100% of the federal budget spent on defense...

Can you better explain that? I'm sure there is some kind of reasoning behind that statement but I can't at all see it. Are you implying that national defense should be the only Federal expenditure? Or are you saying the that industrial-war-complex provides a better way to distribute tax dollars?

#Comment made: 2003-05-28 16:29:09.812353+00 by: Dan Lyke

It's a Utopian ideal, but moving dollars all the way up to the government level then back down through the states, especially for things like education, just does two things:

  1. It evens out income disparities between states.
  2. It provides yet another layer of bureaucracy.

#1 is fine, I understand the needs to take from the richer states to pay for education in the poorer states. In practice, though, this means that pooling this money means that nobody feels terribly responsible for how it's spent, and everyone wants a piece of it, so it leads to a lot of wasteful mismanagement.

#2 is... well... If I don't trust my school board to mandate well, and I don't trust my state to monitor my school board, then having the feds monitor the state to monitor the school board seems like we're fixing things at the wrong levels.

So the only real reason to put the feds in education is so that I can use them to mandate using my own agenda in teaching. Unfortunately, it seems like the Kansas creationists have as powerful a lobby as I do, so in order to maintain local control I'd rather cut myself out of the national process, thereby doing the same to them.

But it really boils down to: The function of the federal government is to protect the states from outside aggression, and to find solutions to conflicts between the states. That seems like national defense, some sort of interstate commerce regulation, and coordination of police forces across state boundaries to me.

#Comment made: 2003-05-28 16:41:01.328749+00 by: petronius

I presume this chart is Federal expenditures. According to this chart , in the education area alone, overall state expenditures are 6 times higher than Federal funds, since most education in the US is controlled and funded by local or state bodies. Our country does spend a lot on educating its citizens; we just don't do it on the national level.

#Comment made: 2003-05-28 18:26:47.451379+00 by: ebradway

Thanks petronius. That chart really does give a better picture of how things are working. And it appears that we are closer to the utopia Dan wants. States spent $678B on education in 2001 - about nine times the contribution of the Feds. And in principle, I'd have to agree with Dan. The idea of a streamlined Federal government is both appealing and pretty much utopian. There's too much money out there to get it really pared back.

Of course if I were left with a really strong state government and no fed, I'd defnitely get the heck out of Tennessee (which I should do anyhow...).

#Comment made: 2003-05-28 20:13:47.02177+00 by: petronius

Of course if I were left with a really strong state government and no fed, I'd defnitely get the heck out of Tennessee

I think they tried that one already, back around 1860....