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"Why don't you just write a check to the IRS?"

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fountainhead posted on Tue, Nov 13 2012 8:19 PM

In your typical "soak the rich" debate with people like Warren Buffett, someone will almost always ask those rich who say they should be paying more taxes why they don't simply write a check to the IRS with their voluntary contribution. The usual response is that a handful of voluntary donations to the IRS wouldn't solve the problem they're trying to address by calling for higher taxes on the rich. ALL rich would need to pay more in order to put a meaningful dent in the deficit.

Just curious how you guys would respond to this? From what I've seen, even taking all the wealth of the so-called "1%" would barely dent the deficit. But, playing devil's advocate here, wouldn't it 'help' with the deficit at least? Personally, I find the write-a-check-to-the-IRS argument to be a weak one on this issue.

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h.k. replied on Thu, Nov 15 2012 6:51 AM


Don't forget about diminishing returns. When you take capital out of the private sector, assuming all things are equal, it shrinks. So, that leads to less revenue in absolute terms. A static analysis does not accurately represent economic reality.

However, raising taxes never reduces the deficit. Cutting spending is free and costs no one anything. Why aren't politicians pushing for that? wink



This is a very effective argument in my opinion. In real terms the economy generates less output. Not to mention rich people will just move. :]

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"I find the write-a-check-to-the-IRS argument to be a weak one on this issue."


I like this.  Normally, someone like you, fountainhead, can only be found on a democraticunderground messageboard.  in which case, noone would be allowed to debate you without being banned.  I like having an open free forum where you are allowed to debate ideas like yours.

To me, its not a weak argument.  I think the whole point of the argument is, when a rich man says "tax me more", he really doesn't mean it.  Like people suggest, he could just cut a check to the US treasury.  But he won't.  What he really wants to happen is to have the government steal more of other people's money.

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