Fortune on Taxes:

Posted in Fortune Magazine by DCroy on 7 November 2008

The Area of Agreement

The Area of Agreement

Here we are, in the middle of the thirties, depression raging. What does the preëminent organ of capitalism have to say about taxes? Here are some highlights:

  • II. It (taxation) is an obligation of citizenship that should fall more heavily on the wealthy than on the poor.

Filthy socialist radicals! You just can’t trust conservative midwestern manufacturers, progressive New England manufacturers, southern businessmen, labor leaders, the old-money rich, tax experts, Swedish economists, or, well, okay, Socialists.

  • IV. If we are to maintain the capitalist system, taxes must be imposed so as to place the least hindrance upon economic progress.

This is a fantastic reminder of what the turmoil must’ve been like (especially to a non-historian). That “If.” Wow. It makes the already ridiculous talk of any public component of the economy as “socialist” just that much more ridiculous. The current administration has done the single most socialist action in memory by re-nationalizing the banks, basically an admission of the failure of laissez-faire policies of self-regulation. So, like, today, Socialism is saving, in a sense, Capitalism. I wonder what these guys would’ve made of this all.

I gotta say I’m a little dubious though about easing the burden on the wealthy (VI.1 seems at odds with II) and putting it on the middle class (VI.4). If they did it, it didn’t work. We only got out of it with massive governmental programs, whether the alphabet soup, or the even larger one of WWII production.

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4 Responses

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  1. Alec said, on 7 November 2008 at 2:13 pm

    This is absolutely priceless. At what point did it become a radical idea that those who have benefitted the most from this country’s bounty might have just the tiniest, itsiest bitsiest obligation to repay their glorious nation for providing that opportunity?

    I can’t help but think of all the private equity and hedge fund guys rushing down to Washington last year screaming that they would lose all incentive, shut their doors and deny us all the sweet nectar of their capital if they were to be taxed at the same rate as the guy who empties the trash cans in their sumptuous Greenwich, CT offices.

  2. David Croy said, on 7 November 2008 at 5:48 pm

    Yeah. I mean we plebes could probably figure out (albeit a smaller scale) capitalism without the hedge fund guys. But – especially now – I can’t see them really figuring out the logistics of garbage removal. Why should they get the breaks?

  3. Milton said, on 12 November 2008 at 12:16 am

    Erm, may I suggest you stick to typography? You suck at economics.

  4. David Croy said, on 12 November 2008 at 12:28 am

    Fortunately, so does everyone else. I figure I can’t be that much stupider than the banks, Treasury secretary, chairman of the Fed, or mortgage lenders. At least I haven’t destroyed the economy (yet). So I got that going for me.

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