[FoRK] Most companies paid no taxes during the boom

Russell Turpin deafbox at hotmail.com
Mon Apr 12 07:57:42 PDT 2004


Gregory Alan Bolcer:
>It's all about the volume and velocity of money in the economy.  Large 
>corporations, while people may complain
>that they didn't pay any taxes, can be a loss-making-entity but still spend 
>hundreds of millions of dollars into the
>economy.  Why would you want to restrict the machinery
>even more with some artificial governors? ..

Wherever you tax, it ultimately burdens *people*. If
you tax individuals, they have less money to spend
as consumers, which hurts corporations. If you tax
corporations, that hurts employees and shareholders.

My own political views are largely libertarian. So I
think it is more important to protect people's
personal lives than a business's inner workings.
Corporations already practice accounting, not just
for tax purposes. Income tax is perverse, because
it causes everyone to work around defining what is
income or not. But simpler taxes, on sales or revenue
or more general transactions, falls straight out of
books that corporations keep anyway. Any such
tax applied to individuals requires them to do a form
of accounting that most people don't anyway do,
and requires them to expose to the government
personal information that they shouldn't have to
expose. In my view, there is a large civil liberties
difference between an IRS agent wanting to
look over a corporation's books, which after all
is a business working under US law in a variety
of ways, and an IRS agent wanting to look over
an individual's books, which then necessarily becomes
a matter of intruding into that individual's life.

Or to put it simply, an income tax applied to
individuals is a civil liberties issue.

I'm under no illusion that taxing businesses rather
than individuals will make us richer as individuals.
We're all employees, shareholders, or owners of
businesses. Tax is grit, whether it's under the
left gear or the right gear. But taxing businesses
rather than individuals (a) might make us somewhat
freer in our personal lives, and less subject to
government inspection, and (b) will certainly
free us from forms of accounting that we
otherwise wouldn't practice.

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