May 7, 2013

Another View: Reducing government spending best way to achieve tax fairness

The highest earners pay a majority of the taxes and receive a tiny fraction of state services.

By Robert H. Smith

I take issue with your stance regarding "dividing the burden fairly" ("Our View: Income tax cuts do not divide the burden fairly," April 28). Missing from this whole debate is the concept of services used versus monies paid.

In the entire spectrum of consumer transactions, the only arena where there seems to be little or no connection between services consumed and services paid for is government. 

If, for example, one visits the supermarket and fills a cart with groceries, at the checkout there is not an examination of your ability to pay. You have $75 worth of groceries, you pay $75. Period. Your income is not related to the fairness of the transaction. And, interestingly, most everyone would agree this is fair and equitable.

Not so with services provided by government.  

Kids in the local school system? No problem -- we'll all pay for their education. Need police or fire services? We'll all pay for it.  Roads need plowing? We'll all pay for it.

And the list goes on, covering the activities of government at all levels.

The point is: Government taxation policies are not vehicles for raising revenue for services rendered. Tax policies are, by nature, instruments used by governing entities to transfer income and wealth from one group to another.

Viewing tax policies, and in particular, income tax policies, through the lens of confiscation, without regard to services used, one clearly sees that the majority of the burden already is being borne by a small minority of taxpayers.

So let us stop the caterwauling about higher-income folks not bearing their fair share. They already pay most of the freight and get darn little in return. Let us eliminate the smokescreen of "dividing the burden fairly" and call taxation what it really is: a taking of money, our hard-earned money.

Then, perhaps, we all will understand that there are limits as to what we collectively can afford.

Robert H. Smith is a resident of Portland.


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