The Ethics of Taxation

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Science Fan
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Re: The Ethics of Taxation

Post by Science Fan » Mon Jun 05, 2017 4:03 pm

It most definitely does not measure any person's desire for money --- it only tells us, at most, how willing a person is in doing a specific activity. You can't refute my argument by such a claim. It's irrational to state because someone prefers doing a specific activity over another, that they then magically enjoy money more than another person. How does that logically follow? It doesn't. It could in an imaginary world where the only way to earn money was to engage in that unique activity, but that is not the case. It's a fallacy to claim that we can measure a person's happiness in possessing money by asking them about their willingness to do a specific activity. There is no logical reason to believe this to be true, and no empirical evidence to support the claim either. There couldn't be. You are merely repeating the same fallacy the author engaged in, while hoping no one notices that you are over-generalizing from a specific case to a case involving money. Nice try, but it doesn't get you any where.

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Re: The Ethics of Taxation

Post by Science Fan » Mon Jun 05, 2017 4:08 pm

I wonder why there are some immature people on here who believe that childish comments and insults are a substitute for reasoned debate. Two such people have shown up here, and neither offered an argument for how we can hook up an objective happiness meter to person A when we take some money from person A, which will measure objectively his diminished happiness, and how that same meter can tell us how much increase in happiness person B obtains from receiving person A's money. This is because there is no such method, and the idea that some imaginary utility curve can be identified and it will tell us that there will be an increase in overall happiness by taking money from some people and giving it to others is a fallacy. The reasoning and arguments underlying such a claim are not good arguments at all and they do engage in fallacies. Like the fallacy of the false comparison. Like the fallacy of the hasty generalization. I will continue to point out the fallacies in this argument until some one can come up with an argument that shows I am wrong, which is a valid and sound one. So far, that has yet to occur. At least one person here has been trying to offer such an argument, as opposed to engaging in personal, childish insults. As far as the other two are concerned, there are now two people on this forum that I will never respond to again.
Last edited by Science Fan on Mon Jun 05, 2017 7:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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vegetariantaxidermy
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Re: The Ethics of Taxation

Post by vegetariantaxidermy » Mon Jun 05, 2017 4:18 pm

FlashDangerpants wrote:
Sun Jun 04, 2017 8:30 pm
Nice try. But I used standing around at Walmart opening doors as my example because it is something that I doubt anyone enjoys much, but pretty much anyone can do. Unlike cage fighting and abseiling into sieges while blasting terrorists with an uzi and any other extreme scenario you care to bring into things just to escape the basic 'all other things being equal' rule really ought to go without saying. Which was your sleight of hand.

It does indeed measure how much a person enjoys, or is otherwise willing to carry out a task. It does so against the yardstick of a fixed sum of money that is more tempting to the person who has less money than it is to the other person for obvious reasons. It also really is neither here nor there which goods and services our candidates are likely to spend their money on. One can afford more, and a more expensive set of them than the other can which is why the poorer person is to be expected to place a greater utility on the smaller sum with which to purchase those things, so I see no point in trying it on with the abstract nature of money.

I never made any sort of claim about who values money more "per se" than the other. It may well be that overall the rich person places a far greater value on wealth than the poor person does on the whole, indeed all other things being equal we might even assume as much. But he must be an incredible miser to the point of psychological instability if he values a single $10 bill more than a hungry man with empty pockets would.
Ever noticed how stingy rich people often are? Probably how they got rich in the first place. And how they are always whining about taxes and how their precious dollars are being 'stolen' from them? Their favourite topic is money. It's all they seem to talk about. Jean Paul Getty famously had a pay phone installed in his house. His treatment of his own family was beyond despicable.
''At age 99, in 2013, Getty's fifth wife, Louise—now known as Teddy Getty Gaston—published a memoir reporting how Getty had scolded her for spending money too freely in the 1950s on the treatment of their six-year-old son, Timmy, who'd become blind from a brain tumor. Timmy died at age 12, and Getty, living in England apart from his wife and son back in the U.S., did not attend the funeral. Teddy divorced him that year.''
He allowed his sixteen year old grandson to be mutilated rather than pay what was to him a meagre ransom, ending up paying exactly the maximum amount that was tax deductible. His grandson was so traumatised that he was a mental and physical wreck for the rest of his short life.

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Re: The Ethics of Taxation

Post by FlashDangerpants » Mon Jun 05, 2017 11:00 pm

Science Fan wrote:
Mon Jun 05, 2017 4:03 pm
It's a fallacy to claim that we can measure a person's happiness in possessing money by asking them about their willingness to do a specific activity.
You are committing what is called a straw man fallacy. I gave you examples for illustrative purposes. I did not, nor is there any viable excuse for supposing that I did, claim that some specific activity was the focus of my point. So by misrepresenting me in such a way as to give yourself an easy but lazy riposte to my point, you done made a fallacy you naughty boy. Poor people do work for small sums of money (work is not a specific activity) and rich people will not do the same work for such small sums of money, nor in many cases will they do the same work for themselves in order to save that money. Every time a rich person pays a poor person to do something for them, which is pretty fucking often, my point is being made for me by the simple fact that one person is paying another person for stuff they don't want to do and that the other person would not do for free.

Others have pointed out to you, and they are not wrong, that you are wildly excessive with your accusations of fallacy. There's really no value in that sort of thing if the information doesn't help you spot fallacies in your own work.

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Arising_uk
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Re: The Ethics of Taxation

Post by Arising_uk » Tue Jun 06, 2017 10:16 am

I'm a bit puzzled? I thought the general aim of taxation was to pay for things for the common good that individuals could not pay for by themselves. What's all this 'giving to others' stuff?

(Since SF appears not to be a subscriber to the PN magazine I'll try to find the article and repost it in the relevant section and then maybe the mods could move this thread to there.)
p.s.
Found it and have reposted it. And wonders of wonders it's by Richard Baron who used to post here quite regularly. :D

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Re: The Ethics of Taxation

Post by Science Fan » Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:09 pm

Taxation has a number of different goals ---- among them to ensure that a currency that is issued by a central bank is used by people, to encourage some behaviors and discourage others, to redistribute wealth and prevent inequality (see estate and inheritance taxes), and to distribute resources that may be used to promote the public good. Regardless of these different goals, the issue was whether transferring wealth from wealthy people to poorer people results in an increase in overall happiness. Thus, the issue is distinct from the underlying purposes of taxation. Therefore, it is not a criticism of my argument that I mentioned giving something to someone by taking from another -- especially since wealth-redistribution does show up as a goal of taxation.

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henry quirk
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Post by henry quirk » Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:24 pm

The only 'ethic' that should be involved in taxing is 'pay for what you use'.

For example: I bein' a bigger user of the roads than many, ought to pay more for the upkeep of roads than the old crone who doesn't drive.

Instead, we got all this nonsense about encouraging/discouraging, redistribution, and 'fairness'.

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Re:

Post by Philosophy Explorer » Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:29 pm

henry quirk wrote:
Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:24 pm
The only 'ethic' that should be involved in taxing is 'pay for what you use'.

For example: I bein' a bigger user of the roads than many, ought to pay more for the upkeep of roads than the old crone who doesn't drive.

Instead, we got all this nonsense about encouraging/discouraging, redistribution, and 'fairness'.
How about when you indirectly benefit from a service such as the fire department? Shouldn't you be taxed then?

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henry quirk
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Post by henry quirk » Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:41 pm

If I live in-town, then fire protection is insurance, and I got no problem with (sensible) insurance.

But, if I live out of town, then my house burnin' diwn to the foundation is my problem and no one else's. In such a circumstance I can't see why I should have to pay diddly-squat....unless I want to, of course...but, that would be stupid cuz the fire truck would never make it to me in time to save anything.

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Re:

Post by Philosophy Explorer » Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:52 pm

henry quirk wrote:
Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:41 pm
If I live in-town, then fire protection is insurance, and I got no problem with (sensible) insurance.

But, if I live out of town, then my house burnin' diwn to the foundation is my problem and no one else's. In such a circumstance I can't see why I should have to pay diddly-squat....unless I want to, of course...but, that would be stupid cuz the fire truck would never make it to me in time to save anything.
I'm not talking about insurance HQ. And it really doesn't matter where you live. You need a FD to put out the fire. And if you live in a row home and your neighbor's house is on fire or vice-versa (so it wouldn't be just your problem). And a helicopter can make it to you in time to put out the fire (or possibly drones).

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henry quirk
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Post by henry quirk » Tue Jun 06, 2017 6:42 pm

We don't call the fire dept. 'insurance' but most certainly that's what it is...we pay for sumthin' we hope we'll never need.

Again, in-town, particularly a dense area, paying for the fire dept is sensible...joe's house down the block goes up, the whole neighborhood is threatened...me, bein' sensible, pay for the fire protection cuz I don't want joe's problem becoming mine.

Out ot town, it's different...my nearest neighbor maybe a mile away...the nearest station house might be fifty miles...my house will burn but it's unlikely my problem will become another's, so payin' for the fire dept may not be high on my list of 'must-do'.

And: helicopters and drones are fine ideas...unfortunately, right now, in Acadia Parish such things are in not in place.

Finally, this... "You need a FD to put out the fire." ...disturbs me. Stinks of 'you need another to deal with a problem'.

Not always, no.

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Re: Re:

Post by FlashDangerpants » Tue Jun 06, 2017 10:57 pm

Philosophy Explorer wrote:
Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:52 pm
I'm not talking about insurance HQ.
It's generally ok to call a fire department insurance. Insurance is the pooling of risk that prevents individuals from losing something they cannot afford to in an event that could effect any of them. So in Britain, most of don't have an actual health insurance policy like you guys tend to. But we all pay towards the upkeep of a health service which sorts us out if we are unfortunate and get cancer or need a spare heart. So we also all have health insurance, which not all of you guys do.

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Re: The Ethics of Taxation

Post by Science Fan » Fri Jun 23, 2017 5:19 pm

A fire department is not insurance. Insurance has two features --- risk shifting and pooling. So, if I have a fire-insurance policy, I shift the risk of my house burning down to the insurance carrier, which also pools this risk by selling insurance policies to a great many home-owners. No home owner shifts the risk of losing their home to a fire department. A fire department is not providing insurance, of any kind, merely a public service, just like police, judges, and other public employees do.

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Re: The Ethics of Taxation

Post by Science Fan » Fri Jun 23, 2017 5:22 pm

Why should the only ethic in taxation be to pay what you use? That would eliminate some of the economic efficiencies that government can provide us with, for example, social insurance systems, like social security disability. Not to mention, how does one assess taxes for the military based on this principle? What if someone owns more property than another taxpayer, but the other taxpayer has more children? How do you apportion taxes for military defense between these two different taxpayers based on the single principle of only taxing them for what they use?

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