‘Fair Taxes’ Actually Are Unfair to All — Today’s Outrage

This article was written with Chris Markowski, the Watchdog on Wall Street. It's part of a series of articles developed under an agreement with thestreet.com to work with a variety of contributors and assist them in delivering actionable investment ideas each week.

David Evanson and Chris Markowski

Thestreet.com, Spring, 2012

What do Hollywood actors, the seemingly unbridled passion of law school coeds and Warren Buffett have to do with one another? Quite a bit. Let me explain.

The presidential election is grinding away on a single issue: What constitutes a fair tax burden for the support of our great country and way of life. The Democrats say the wealthy should pay more. To wit, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithnerzzs comment that the most fortunate should pay more for the privilege of being an American. Predictably, the Republicans say this is tantamount to wringing the neck of the Golden Goose.

The conflict has an ugly veneer, fresh off the Occupy Wall Street movement where the 99% were pitted against the 1%.

I canzzt enter the ring on class warfare, because I canzzt win. In fact, when it comes to making taxes fair and equitable, none of us can win. And this brings me to Hollywood celebrities, some of whom live beyond their means after years of scraping by as waiters. Do you think they have a revenue problem or a spending problem?

Itzzs the same with our government. With 2011 revenue of $2.3 trillion, we donzzt have a revenue problem. Wezzve got a lot citizens and activists whose first word wasnzzt “mama.” It was “entitlement.”

Letzzs see. Wezzre mollifying human rights activists with a $750,000 soccer field for Guantanamo detainees; wezzve got law school coeds — on “public interest scholarships,” no less — arguing for insurance coverage of contraception (as ObamaCare is phased in); wezzve got schools serving breakfast, lunch and dinner following the enactment of the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.

Milton Friedman nailed it when he said: In the long run, government will spend whatever the tax system will raise, plus as much as it can get away with. Thus, in my mind, at this point, “tax fairness” is all about giving the government more that it can get away with. Thatzzs why itzzs unfair to all, because in the long run, it hurts us all.

So New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was spot on when he told Warren Buffett to shut up and write a check. Hey, if hezzs got the money to let the government spend what it can get away with, have at it. But for the rest of us, please, no more about tax fairness. Things are unfair enough already.

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