Friday, October 24, 2008

Tax & Spend, Work & Rest

A commenter writes:
"don't highly progressive taxes discourage work? why work harder if its going to be taxed at ~45%? (fed,state, muni, soc. sec.) this is at the root of why so many upper-middle class folks feel so poor, they are paid better, and many of them work much harder to earn this higher wage, but come april 15th much of this is taken away. after you consider all the extra time/effort they spent earning the money, they may have been better off not working to earn that extra marginal dollar."

The recent performance of European economies shows that with a robust social safety net, people will pay higher taxes and be productive too.

And actually, I'm in favor of upper middle class and richer Americans working fewer hours, buying less stupid crap, and emitting fewer carbon emissions. We need a new paradigm of productivity that involves the concept of ENOUGH.


Anonymous said...

I had a friend comment on these same differences when she was living in the EU last year. She also said that racism runs rampant (the class warfare that is charged with racial sentiments and the feelings of entitlement born of oppression don't exist in the EU as they do here). Additionally, if you're not a citizen and don't have insurance (like most tourists would) then you're basically screwed as far as health care goes.

Furthermore, it's been my experience that many of the children in the worst school districts have a parent(s) who work the fewest hours possible - barring prostitution, drug abuse, and collecting government transfer payments being called work.

I could get on board with socialized health care provided anyone who receives or has a dependent who receives services provide a validated copy of their prior year's tax returns.

I realize this is very stereotypical and not exactly a kosher view to profess... but the point is not to make someone agree with the view that I have as much as it is to highlight the significant differences between cultures. It's rather naive to thing that culture was the progeny of policy. It's also naive to thing that a change in policy to a more European system (in work-life balance or in social programs) would yield the same result in a country whose culture, challenges, and population are completely different than their counterparts on the other side of the pond.

Oh, and you're basing this off of a 3 year old article. I think there's probably been a number of externalities since then that may change some of the conclusions you could draw from this research.

William Walter said...

Dear Ms Kamenetz,

Your book "Generation Debt" was most interesting and had some intriguing statistics.

I am very keen to try to generate some equivalent statistics for the UK.

Could you possibly give me some advice on how to copy your statistic quoted on page 158 regaqrding the spending pwoers of different age groups?

I'd be most greatful for any help that you might be able to provide me with.

Kind Regards,

Yours Sincerely,

William Walter.