Saturday, January 16, 2010

Taxes and Society

So, here's a thought, as I continue to debate my Burkean conservatism with the voices of "Libertarian Populism." As I've mentioned before, Edmund Burke effectively argued that "the revenue of the state is the state." Little or no revenue = weak or non-existent society.

Consider this:

Alabama and Mississippi - and many southern, or red, states - have low tax rates. They also have poor quality education, poor health, poor roads, less industry, less wealth, lower quality of living, higher crime, weaker family structure, fewer college educated people, and they accept the highest levels of federal aid.

Connecticut and Massachusetts have higher tax rates. They have high quality education, better health and health care, better roads, more industry and finance, more wealth, higher quality of life, less crime, less divorce/social problems, more colleges and college educated people, and they pay the most in federal taxes at the same time they accept the least amount of federal aid.

Where would you want to live?


Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

I think your argument is entirely unfair. Where do you think poor people move? Where the cost of living is lower, naturally. It also follows that places with high levels of underclass have higher crime rates, lower college graduation rates, etc.

Try taxing those people. You don't get much. This leads to poorer schools and roads.

The South has a totally different history than the North. It was settled and populated by entirely different people groups whose economies ran on entirely different products (agrarian vs. more industrial).

For all that, I would MUCH rather live in a poor Southern state than Massachusetts. That state has terrible homeschooling laws. They pretty much assume there that the child himself is property of the State, and must be educated as the State sees fit.

Talk about a high tax. Good schools and low divorce rates aren't worth it, friend.

mmazenko said...

Yes, of course - I concede that this is an entirely flimsy dichotomy. Yet, I think its premise is worth discussing when we ask ourselves just what, as a society, we think government is supposed to do and how it should be financed.

mmazenko said...

One other thought though: poor people don't actually move. The poor generally stay where they are because they can't afford to move. Thus, how do they rise above? Certainly, low taxes and unregulated free markets don't necessarily help all boats rise. And, education is generally the key. So, how does social uplift happen in these areas, if it happens at all?

Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

Mr. Mazenko, that is one of the FEW good arguments for "socialized health care." I have disabled children and it takes forever for them to be qualified for any disability services outside the public schools. (Behaviour therapy for autistic children is NOT covered by insurance, nor is it provided by public schools.)

It is somewhat easy to move from county to county, but the paperwork process does NOT follow you from state to state.

We've been pushing papers since last APRIL and not gotten anywhere. It may be another year or so before we do... IF the son I'm applying on behalf of qualifies. Moving out of state would wipe out all the work I've done.

Then again... if I were poor, it would just be a matter of claiming my low income and we would have a higher priority because we would have Medicaid. Kid you not, the system MAJORLY MAJORLY penalizes you for earning "too much."

We have six children, and if my husband earned about $3,000 less we would qualify for the MC plus program. BUT he spent about $8,000 on various medical stuff last year, not to mention the time taken off from work etc.

It really stinks being LOW-low middle class, because we spend so much that poor people on the dole have a higher lifestyle (except for the house! And yes, that is a big exception, but then there is upkeep...) Somehow, like the stereotypical smokers in the lower classes, I still am able to buy the expensive curriculum for my kids even though my income is low. I will admit I just have a different hobby.

I think by now I have more books than I will ever have a chance of reading more than twice in my lifetime. And that has to be expensive to move!! :)