We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Thursday, October 18. 2018
For some reason, New York is upset that it pays 30% more, per capita, in taxes than the average state. Well, I'm from New Jersey and we pay slightly more than New York. New York is upset that it gets back much less than it pays out. Again, I'm from New Jersey and we get even less back.
New York is a big state, and a relatively wealthy one. New Jersey is wealthier. I figure we have more to be upset about.
Long ago a Progressive neighbor had me over to meet a candidate for Congress she was endorsing. She threw a great shindig, good hors d'oeuvres, drinks, etc. Then the candidate spoke, and lamented over and over that we never get the same tax dollars back from Washington that we send down there.
I quickly raised my hand and asked "Isn't it impossible to get more back than we send? Assuming every region got back its fair share of taxes, after you remove operating costs of the federal government, you're left with only a portion of the money you sent down. For us to get even our fair share back, we're still out something."
It's only logical that certain states are always going to be shortchanged by the federal government simply because that's how income redistribution works. But is it any surprise that the states which have the best return from the federal government are among the poorest states? New Mexico, Mississippi, Alabama, West Virginia. Only Virginia stands out as 'wealthy' among the top 5 and for one reason - DC denizens tend to make Virginia their home. Maryland, the other DC residency, is conspicuous at number 6 on 'return of tax dollar'.
When you're financially supporting people, you tend to work harder and be more productive. New Jersey must be one of the hardest working states in the Union. We work so hard, we never took the time to develop large cities. New York and Philadelphia tend to be our 'cities'. So much so, their professional teams are New Jersey's. The only professional team we have is the once-great New Jersey Devils. We had the New Jersey Nets for a while, but they decamped for Brooklyn. Our professional football teams, the Jets and Giants, want that big-city New York association - not New Jersey, even though they play here. We NJ denizens don't complain enough about issues like this, we're busy working to cover the costs of public spending.
As I ponder the possibility of a Universal Basic Income, which several politicians are actually taking seriously (I figure it's illiteracy in economics which leads them to support the UBI), I begin to visualize the 'return of tax dollar' as a permanent losing game - and one which will eventually cause wealthier states to become less wealthy. The assumption you can tax your way to wealth and progress is still a very real belief in Washington. A person can only work so hard, and eventually they tend to get pissed someone is benefiting from their hard work, while putting almost nothing back in - not having a skin in the game. Long ago, being a landowner was considered to be the best qualifier for being allowed to vote. As a student of democracy, I understand the limitations of that belief, though at times it seems logical.
There are politicians who claim that the wealthy among us are the reason others are poor. This wealth came at the expense of the poor, the firms which the wealthy built (improving everyones' lives) presumably make the lives of people worse and only improve the livelihoods of the owners.
The reality is these people are wealthy because whatever they produced improved the life of everyone who purchased the good or service. Wealthy people don't (usually) make other people worse off. They aren't typically wealthy because they are thieves in some way (admittedly, some are, but that's a rarity). They have managed to create a win-win exchange which people have engaged. Poor people, unfortunately, can make other people poorer when they begin to drain value from the system.
As you consider the amount of money you get back from your taxes, remember you'll never get it all back even in the best of circumstances. While I'm a big supporter of charity, I do not view government as a substitute for charitable giving. The more tax dollars that go, with limited consent or knowledge on its use and application, to 'improve the lives of others' the more it is probably wasted. Especially if it's going to Virginia or Maryland.
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The solution to this problem is simple, cut taxes and Federal spending.
I don't see the problem here - why shouldn't we all be able to get more back than we put in? I don't think it's asking too much that here in the richest country in the world everybody should be entitled to an above-average standard of living. We can't individually afford free healthcare, free college, guaranteed jobs and wages and retirement, but surely if we pool all our money together we'll be able to afford more than enough for everybody. It's just simple math, all we need to do is pass a law that 2+2 shall equal 5.
Even after Sandy? I don't know the answer here. Only saw a few news reports looking at the two year anniversary of Sandy, but New Jersey got many billions, no? How does that square up? Seems like people in other states, who could never afford one, paid to repair replace many beach homes, or is that incorrect?
If you have more very rich people, they are taxed at higher rates. So both wealthy and high-inequality states are going to get hit harder.
Corporate tax payments to the government are included in this calculation, so states with profitable corporations and businesses in general get to count these as well as all the payments made by individual taxpayers. Some states have very few big companies.
the hell with getting something back! start electing people that never let the money leave your state. tax repeal now!!!!!!!
I've always wondered what these people think they're getting back from the Federal government that its worth paying 90% of your income tax to while only around 10% of it goes to the state you live in.
Then the Federal government divides it up among the state in the manner best suited to get the senior politicians re-elected.
I always thought it should be the other way around - the majority of your income tax goes to the state and only a little bit to the Feds.
a thought from a resident of Connecticut:
"...Nobody likes 'that guy'. Except me, especially when it's me..."
Nice piece of writing, there. Good writing brings forth that theater of the mind, where the visuals are easily called up by words well-placed.
Yours bring a smile to me, and I raise a cup in salute. Pure American Spirit, that small blurb... and as an American, you - and we - bend the knee to no man, as is our Birthright.
E Pluribus Unum,
NJ is it's own worst enemy. The public spending levels are out of control and the property tax scam to support the permanent voting class of teachers drivers the wealthy and productive out of state.
The sad part is when these NJ residents move to other parts of the country to escape, they tend to bring these problems with them. First thing they want to do is spend more and prohibit others from owing firearms....just like in NJ.
We will never reach a conclusion or agreement when discussing the revenue side of the equation (taxation).
I suggest we analyze the spending side - where there is much waste, fraud and abuse, as the Grace commission noted many years ago.
Stop spending - it is a start, and after time and practice becomes easier. Start with the obvious waste - there are many examples.
Why is this so hard?
I'm for any tax plan the keeps New Jerseyans, New Yorkers et al in place. We sho'nuff don't need anymore of 'em down here.
People who move to my state from their Northern climes are smart enough to do it but stupid enough to vote just like they did "back home".
Rich people who support progressive taxation schedules don't get to bitch about paying more than average.