So, yeah. Taxes. No one really likes paying them, but that's the price you have to pay for living in society right? People need government programs funded with tax money of some sort don't they? Some would say we need to keep the roads paved and the bridges maintained, others would say we need to fund the military and police to protect ourselves and our interests, some would agree we need some kind of welfare system. So yeah, governments and taxes are pretty damn important right?
Except it's not that clear cut. First of all there is very little accountability or real choice in what exactly happens with their money and who ends up benefiting from it. Regardless of who pays and who benefits, taxes are not the best way of funding programs or systems. For every good thing government programs do, and they do tons of good things, there is at least one thing they do. The endless maze of bureaucracy and red tape involved insures they waste more and more resources and are subject to the whims of the powerful. Remember how all around the world (except Iceland) governments spent huge amounts of tax money to bail out irresponsible banks? Does the phrase 'too big to fail' ring any bells? How exactly will abuses on wall street stop or bad social programs reform if there is no accountability?
Secondly no one likes the idea of someone demanding money by force in the first place. This isn't simply a matter of the 1% vs the 99%, this is true for everyone regardless of how rich they are or how big of a burden they have to shoulder. Taking about people needing to paying their 'fair share' is a flawed argument. The old maxim of 'the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few' sounds great if you are one of the many, often not so much if you are one of the few. Ethically I tend to think the best course is one that maximizes freedom of choice for all. I understand that that is harder then it sounds because of how some people can choose to block choice for others, but I am still pretty sure the tax system is not that.
The thing is, I basically live off taxes. I don't work, and honestly not only am I not sure if I really can at this point, but I am not even sure if I am really inclined to try. But I don't think of myself as 'entitled' exactly I think. I may ask for money but I won't demand it or get angry if it's not given to me. I much rather if people did it was because they cared about me and wanted to, not because they were forced to. I am not I could survive without a welfare system, but that's no one's problem but mine. Well, okay, if I died in a ditch somewhere I am sure you would all regret interacting with such a charming and intelligent wonderful person like me, but I am sure you could say that about anyone.
I wonder though. If people weren't forced all the time to buy in to this huge crazy system, would there be any soup kitchens and homeless shelters? Would there be programs to help people like me who just don't, by choice or otherwise, fit in to the normal job market? I think there might be. Because people care, and also more possible workers or thinkers is good for everybody. Could organizations that do this be crowd funded with all the money people save on taxes? Would more people be more willing to give if they don't have taxes hanging over them? I am not sure. But getting social programs out of government's bankroll is probably going to be more and more necessary if Trump's tax cuts go through anyway.
Another thing to think about is corporations. So far I have mostly been talking about individual people, should just corporations and businesses be taxed instead? They aren't people, legal status or not. What if they were run by AI instead of humans someday? Not that far fetched. AI tech is getting bigger and bigger while more and more machines replace humans in most jobs. Factory and manufacturing jobs are not coming back no matter what middle America and Trump hopes, and soon more cognitive jobs may vanish. Could the world evolve into a place where all the businesses are run by computers? If humans set up the protocol and laws right could that mean a future where most humans live off universal basic income provided by machine-run organizations? some people have implied as much. But if that was the case, would we need money at all?