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Money just circulates. Any dollar/euro/yuan or whatever has probably been taxed countless times. "It's already been taxed" is just an appeal to emotive reactinons. Yes it has, and it is completely irrelevant.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Fri Jan 20th, 2012 at 12:19:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It doesn't work like that.

Taxation is about power redistribution, not about money as a conserved object.

When the Inland Revenue in the UK let Goldman Sachs off a sizeable tax bill while bankrupting small business owners for relatively tiny amounts due, that's very much a live political issue.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Jan 20th, 2012 at 12:28:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I never disputed that. Just pointing out that the "money should not be taxed twice" argument is merely a self-serving fallacy.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Fri Jan 20th, 2012 at 01:32:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well, that is very philosophical, like many comments above. But seriously, I earn money, pay tax, save that money and then buy a home. Why should the value of that home be taxed again?
by crankykarsten (cranky (where?) gmx dot organisation) on Fri Jan 20th, 2012 at 01:09:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And why shouldn't it be?
We can ask the "why should A be taxed?" question on anything we don't want to see taxed. It doesn't make it decisive.

There must be taxation (or rental of the commons) as long as we want to have a government (and the alternative is Somalia, not Ayn Rand fantasy). There is no a priori reason to tax A rather than B. Ideally, we'd like to tax negative things more than positive things -and so wealth more than income since it has more negative consequences. But, of course, externalities even more so.

Besides, any tax on the value of houses would be priced in so only a sudden major hike after buying would have a significant negative effect.

Also besides, there is nothing inherently virtuous in saving

Also also besides, refusing taxes on wealth is the ultimate fait accompli policy. All you need is a few years of conservative governments, those in position of power make out like bandits (think Russian oligarchs) and thereafter maintain a huge position while the plebs who need to work for a living suffer through years, nay decades of adjustment. Rinse, wash, repeat.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Fri Jan 20th, 2012 at 01:43:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We can always tax your wealth away through inflation.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jan 20th, 2012 at 05:03:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, we've been avoiding that for the last thirty years by running a low-employment economy.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Jan 20th, 2012 at 05:16:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And that's why stealth tax by inflation won't be enough. Too late for that. We need to do more against really obscene wealth in order to eliminate extreme inequality.
by Katrin on Fri Jan 20th, 2012 at 05:20:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe a job guarantee programme run by the public authorities would work.

Instead, we're hearing noises about Merkozy wanting to shift gear to "growth and jobs" at the January 30 summit, but the proposals will be along the lines of "active employment policies" which is EUspeak for blaming the unemployed for the lack of job offers.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jan 20th, 2012 at 05:27:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, a job guarantee is what I am dreaming of. There is enough work that ought to be done, but we are told there is no money for that. Well connected people advocated tax cuts expropriating the rest of us 30 years ago. There is the money. We must get the billions back. And then we need a minimum wage that is a living wage and the state can guarantee a job for everyone.
by Katrin on Fri Jan 20th, 2012 at 05:48:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Job guarantee and guaranteed living income. If only!

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jan 20th, 2012 at 07:01:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So you can't fire anyone? Or can only just shift them around?

Old Soviet Union joke:

They pretend to pay us, and we pretend to work.

I think the concept needs work.

Align culture with our nature. Ot else!

by ormondotvos (ormond.otvosnospamgmialcon) on Sat Jan 21st, 2012 at 12:09:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Job guarantee means that if you want to work X hours a week at the minimum wage, the employment office guarantees you a placement. Which isn't the case today.

Guaranteed living income means that everyone receives Y% of median income.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jan 21st, 2012 at 04:59:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. And that would enable us to get work done that is not profitable in monetary terms, but that makes our lives better. The things that are too expensive in the care for the old, and the like.
by Katrin on Sat Jan 21st, 2012 at 08:25:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Only if your wealth is in things like non inflation protected bonds. Won't do much to those whose fortune is in land, or company ownership.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Sat Jan 21st, 2012 at 02:31:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Inflation-indexed bonds count as bonds in foreign currency and there's no reason for the government to issue them or the central bank to discount them. Do the math.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jan 21st, 2012 at 05:00:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Errr, so?
Whether or not there is a reason to issue them, they do exist.
Even if they suddenly disappeared, my point remains -inflation would only eat away wealth that is in bank acocunts or non-inflation protected bonds (all bonds in that hypothesis). Direct ownership of productive assets, land, claims over future production would not be affected.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Sat Jan 21st, 2012 at 06:23:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If there is no state guarantee of inflation indexed bonds, issuers of such bonds can be driven bankrupt by inflation, and people who put their wealth in them would lose out.

The problem currently is not that they do exist, but that governments (such as the French) do issue them.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jan 21st, 2012 at 11:08:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nobody ever got wealthy by declaring their income, not dodging any tax, and declaring all their wealth. Well, maybe Warren Buffett...

Now seriously, why is this funny?

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jan 20th, 2012 at 05:08:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why should the value of that home be taxed again?

It should be taxed because ownership of that home is supported and protected by most of the expensive services provided by government from fire and police to the title registration in the county registrar of taxes. Sure, it is the representation of accumulated wealth, but it is the holder of that wealth who benefits disproportionately from the services of the society that protect that wealth. "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich and the poor alike to sleep under bridges,...". It lowers property values.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Jan 20th, 2012 at 10:58:52 PM EST
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