In the first part of this series, I talked about the gutting of our surroundings for a few extra bucks by the poor and desperate around us. In the second part of this series, I talk about the gutting of our government via “privatization.” Now I’m going to talk about some of the outcomes of this “privatization.”
More to the point, I’m going to talk about how taxes become shifted from the rich to the poor by simple dint of the rich being the government. While in a reasonably representative government (whether it be via votes or via dictatorship) the rich take on a larger percentage of their income as taxes; whereas in a feudal society the poor are taxed at a higher rate than the rich.
The reason is obvious: Since the rich end up being involved directly in the governance, it makes sense that they would be given less of a tax burden. And the rulers, of course, would have little or no tax since they themselves would be the government.
Look at the Middle Ages. What you have is a group of serfs whose purpose is to feed themselves and everyone else. Everything they made was subject to taxation, and if things got really bad they suffered the brunt of the pain. Above them were the landlords. They (of course) had the responsibility of defense and warmaking AND of making sure their serfs made it through the summer to the harvest, as such they had a lighter taxation to the Kings. Kings, of course, had to concern themselves with other kings; they paid a lesser portion of their taxes to governments.
And the people on top? The Clergy. They lived tax free, service free and complete with monopolies in knowledge and the ways to heaven.
So how does that fit what’s going on in the United States? Sure, churches are still untaxed, but they’re hardly seen as the all-powerful forces they are, with the power of life and death over people. That has been handed over to our corporations. Needless to say, the special rules that have been passed so that they have lower tax rates and higher levels of benefits than actual people.
Then there’s “Captial Gains.” At high enough levels, the rich can claim their income is actually “Captial Gains,” which comes at a rate of 15%. This is about what the lower levels of income tax is at.
Mind you, at this point of time the tax rate is still mildly “progressive.” There’s plenty of items here that could easily push it to true regressive (the poor paying a greater percentage than the rich).
Such as the Social Security tax, which is a steady percentage on both Employee and Employer up to $93,000, at which it stops. There’s plenty of fees for stuff (which, when done for government-run stuff, actually stands as a form of taxation). Then there’s the payday loan stores and check-cashing places, which act as de facto taxes on the poor even though they go to private corporations. Various tickets rachet up rapidly on people who are unable to pay for their tickets immediately; mainly the poor. And, of course, we have selective prosecution of various laws set up to punish the poor for the criminal activity of being poor.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see and development in this country of a “value-added tax” with these three items going on:
- Social Security still taxed off people’s checks (complete with the $93,000 limit)
- Food taxed at the same rate as everything else (yes, the rich pay more for their food. Fact is, they can afford to. Good food is amazingly expensive in the United States, while the bad stuff is still cheap and strangely getting cheaper.
- “unearned income” (dividends, capital gains) is untaxed. That’s right, the money gotten from watching other people putting their noses to the grindstone is considered more sacred than the money earned from putting one’s nose to the grindstone.
And through this set of circumstances we have a legal, fully effective regressive tax.
And at that point the proper words to say would be “Welcome to Feudal America. Your Job: enjoy your serfdom, feed the rich.”