[FoRK] Bush's tanking approval ratings

Stephen D. Williams sdw at lig.net
Tue Apr 12 12:43:13 PDT 2005

I didn't say it was THE correct solution for all time, but I was 
pointing out A) that it doesn't seem overly inefficient compared to what 
I fear would happen with full "user fee" models (see also the relative 
income tax of EU countries), B) it is important to look at taxation 
"fairness" not only from an economic strata point of view but also from 
a population lifecycle angle.  I'm definitely not arguing for a general 
socialist "pay according to ability to pay", but some kind of "pay it 
forward" method seems rational.  Certainly we do this with education: we 
invest in our children before they can pay a "user fee" for what they 
are getting.  I was just indicating that it's possible to architect more 
subtle versions of this.

The way to solve this is to establish baselines that are minimal and be 
gradually more merit based beyond that.  Western societies already do 
this to some extent.  Similarly, I'm fine with user fees as long as they 
are strictly low overhead and are less of a burden for those struggling 
than alternative strategies.  If done correctly, user fees can be a boon 
to making progress where it is most needed.  The toll road I mentioned 
earlier was able to add an extra lane fairly easily without competing 
with other road probjects because they are self-funded.


Justin Mason wrote:

>Hash: SHA1
>Stephen D. Williams writes:
>>To some extent you can look at the lifecycle of a person relative to 
>>infrastructure and say that it is ok for those making less to pay less 
>>(say while they are young) because they'll pay more (in taxes) when they 
>>are older (generally).  If you were to charge the same user fees to a 
>>starting-out 19 year old, they would be stifled compared to 40 year old 
>>mid-career professional.  That is one kind of regressive pattern, even 
>>if it lets lifetime low wage earners off the hook in some sense.
>Dude -- did I hear you just make an argument for funding this stuff from
>income tax? ;) Seriously, that's the canonical left-wing point of view of
>taxation w.r.t. user fees, iirc -- pay according to ability to pay.
>One reason these "user fee" forms of taxation have been creeping in is
>because raising the income tax rate is now far from popular.
>A couple of years ago, the Fabian Society (a UK leftie think tank)
>proposed hypothecated tax -- splitting income tax into normal income tax
>(unpopular) and a new "health tax", funding the NHS (popular).  Both would
>come from what is now income tax.
>  http://www.progressives.org.uk/magazine/default.asp?action=magazine&articleid=266
>PS: on another part of the thread, it was noted that one reason people say
>they buy SUVs is because they're "safer for the children".  Possibly,
>except when they increase the number of kids being reversed over by their
>own parents, due to their high ground clearance and larger blind spot.
>  http://www.sundayherald.com/print38681
>  http://www.kidsandcars.org/statistics/statistics.html
>Other good stats in that article, btw:
>- - '4.5% of pedestrians struck by a car died, the figure rose to 7.8% when
>  they were hit by a small SUV, and 11.5% when hit by a large one.'
>- - 'That off-road vehicles also pose a danger to pedestrians in Europe is
>  confirmed by safety tests performed on behalf of the UK and four other
>  European governments. The European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro
>  NCAP) rates vehicles on the damage they would inflict on pedestrians in
>  a 25 mph crash by giving them up to four stars for safety. Of the nine
>  large off-road vehicles so far tested, one is so bad it earns no stars,
>  seven earn one star, and one earns two stars ... Their designs are
>  variously condemned as offering 'poor' or 'dire' protection to
>  pedestrians.'
>- --j.
>Version: GnuPG v1.2.5 (GNU/Linux)
>Comment: Exmh CVS

swilliams at hpti.com http://www.hpti.com Per: sdw at lig.net http://sdw.st
Stephen D. Williams 703-724-0118W 703-995-0407Fax 20147-4622 AIM: sdw

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