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Citizens and Taxpayers

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4 Responses

  1. John says:

    Good point. I wonder, is there any easy way to determine the average state/local tax payments per year by these same folks? That would no doubt present a much fuller picture of the situation.

  2. amused says:

    “Not having skin in the game” does not mean being politically inactive. It means not being required to pay for state’s spending and therefore being less sensitive to tradeoffs that spending always creates.

    “Representation without taxation” is just a flip side of “taxation without representation”. When one group is represented without being taxed, another group inevitably ends up being taxed without having a corresponding amount of representation. When the gap between taxation and representation is small, it’s tolerable. When it’s huge, bad things happen.

  3. Neil H. Buchanan says:

    “It means not being required to pay for state’s spending and therefore being less sensitive to tradeoffs that spending always creates.”

    If I’m the recipient of a state’s spending, then I have every reason to be especially sensitive to the tradeoffs that spending creates. It’s precisely those tradeoffs that would put the spending that benefits me at risk.

    This whole way of framing the issue is meaningless. I respect (but disagree with) people who say that there should be less redistributive taxation. It’s not, however, meaningful to say that being taxed less than another group (or receiving net benefits that still leave you worse off than those who are paying net taxes) makes you an insensitive citizen.

  4. amused says:

    If the government could commit to make no changes in the total size of spending, then, recipients of government aid (as a group) would have skin in the game, because they would know that the costs of every new program will come out of their own pockets. But we all know that’s not how the government works. The costs of new programs routinely come out of taxpayers’ pockets and have no effect whatsoever on the size of the current recipients’ handouts. Thus, current recipients face few, if any, tradeoffs. They are voting to spend someone else’s money — what’s not to like? As a side benefit, increases in the total government spending increase the numbers of identifiable beneficiaries, which increases political clout of current recipients.

    (As a side note, you’ve just substituted “recipients of government aid” for “non-taxables.” The two groups don’t overlap neatly, and the substitution is not entirely helpful for our purposes, but I am willing to overlook this wrinkle for now and go on with your substitution).

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