Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Pay More Taxes

A couple of years ago, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine. To protect his identity, lets call him Tom. Tom was a Democrat, and a supporter of Obama.  Tom and I had many conversation about politics and the world. Despite our differences we were friends. Both of us are reasonable people, and we could have discussions without resorting to yelling, name calling or violence.

Discussing the potential of a second term of Obama, the topic came up of taxes. Clearly, and I make no secret that I think I pay more in taxes than I should. Mostly because I don't think it is being used in a way that is representative of me.  His response was shocking.

"I wouldn't mind paying more taxes." Tom said. "I can afford it."

I was shocked, but that didn't stop me from replying. "There is nothing to stop you."  I said. "Adjust your tax form and don't take any exemptions. And if that is not enough, on the same form you can request more to be withheld from your paycheck."

Well he didn't want to do that. And as far as I can tell he hasn't made these changes. And I doubt he will. Not because he is a bad person, indeed I think he is a great guy. But he won't do this because when he says, "I wouldn't mind paying more taxes." and "I can afford it" the "I" is not "I, Tom." but is a collective "I" that represents all Americans.

Democrats and Liberals believe that individuals are not really individual people. But they are collective individuals. The unconscious collective individualism is one of those examples of cognitive dissonance that C.S. Lewis talks of in the Screwtape Letters. Its the ability of people to hold two or more conflicting ideas in their mind at the same time.

When I suggested that Tom pay more taxes than he was assessed, or than he owed, he was confused by the suggestion. Why should he do that? No one would want to do that, it didn't make sense. The statement moments earlier that he could afford it didn't actually relate to Tom, but just people like Tom.

Well, the Supreme Court has agreed with the Justice Department that our Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is a tax. And now many people like Tom are getting the chance to pay more taxes. I think Tom may have been thinking that he could afford $50 a month, or maybe even $100.  But thanks to the new tax, many people are paying an additional $1000 a month.

Congratulations. We are now paying more taxes.  But I don't think its what Tom was expecting.