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20 July 2005

Quote of the day

Mr.Burns: Quick Smithers. Bring the mind eraser device!
Smithers:You mean the revolver, sir?
Mr.Burns: Precisely.

- The Simpsons


Ciao Svën

Ace ozblogger Steve Edwards has quit.

Bummer. Have fun dude.


This week's commies

Some bit's n' pieces From the new Communist Party of Australia newsletter:

"Detention of Cubans in US illegal"

Yeah? How about the detention of the entire Cuban population in Cuba? I guess our Stalinist friends aren't too concened about that.

"CAPITALIST HOG OF THE WEEK: is Warren Mundine. An appointee to the Howard government's National Indigenous Council, a rubber stamp for the government's racist policies, Mundine is a proponent of the individualism promoted by capitalism, including individual home ownership in Aboriginal communities."

That racist bastard: promoting individual rights and home ownership!!

"The struggle for the maintenance of democratic rights in Australia is becoming yet another major issue confronting all progressive organisations. The steady slide to dictatorship which is being step by step pushed by the Howard government must be stopped before all means to resist it have been taken away."

And these people praise Joseph Stalin and Fidel castro as great, visionary leaders.

Is there anything in the world more disgusting than a communist?


Tax evasion and morality

Some opinions that have come in re. yesterday's question:

From Michael S.

Tax evasion under our current situation is not morally wrong. Because something is law
does not make it right. 'Right' is simply something that offers the most benefit to
society, and can be shown to offer the most benefit to society through due process of
reason. High taxation does not meet this criteria. Some people would argue that no
taxation meets this criteria, and I don't know, but I am sure the current level of
taxation is not conducive to maximising the benefit to society as a whole (and 'society
as a whole' means on average maximum benefit to the individuals in that society).
Another way of putting this is that 'right' is maximising the benefits of individuals
coming together as a society while minimising the negative effects, such that all
individuals feel that they are better off participating in society than not, hence they
don't want to resist society's intervention in their lives, and we have a harmonious
society with maximum happiness and prosperity. Excessive taxation, such as our current
circumstances, does not permit this to happen.

On the other hand, Robert G. argues....

Yes. It's morally wrong.

There seem to me to be three basic arguments "for", which are:

a) tax rates are oppressively high
b) completely disagree with income tax as a policy (for moral or economic reasons)
c) (current) govt. wastes incredible amounts of money/is inefficient

If 'b', well, you're free to form your own old-school Libertarian party, run for office and get rid of it. Good luck. You can't opt out of government programs. I may disagree with the running of the education system, but I won't get a reduction in my property taxes 'cos of it. I can't opt out of certain parts of the legal system on account of disagreeing with many of the statutes. If "moral" stands can be taken in one way, they can be taken in others. System falls apart, end of civilization as we know it, etc., sayeth Sir Humphrey Appleby.

If 'c': the problem here is that it's always going to be a question of degree (I'm Canadian--we probably have a high tolerance of govt. waste beaten into us from an early age). How wasteful is too wasteful? And what right does one citizen have to decide and act upon his decision in this way? If one thinks that Government or the current "system" is intrinsically inefficient, then you're back to 'b' and can do something about it at the polls.

If 'a', and you hear this argument most often in my part of the world, then again, you're dealing in degree. At what point does personal income tax become an infringement on liberty, or whatever? 5%? 10%? Again, I don't see how the individual has the right to decide and act.

Of course, I assume we're talking stable democracy here. I could foresee reasons for evading as a protest in extreme circumstances, but the threshold for that would have to be pretty extreme.

Paul Bickford says....

tax evasion is legal, tax avoidance isn't- that's in the definitions of the Fiscal Fiend. I think it's every taxpayer's responsibility to avoid as much tax as legally possible, as Kerry Packer said to federal parliament "anyone who doesn't avoid whatever tax they can is a fool". It keeps the ATO fully staffed and provides lots of tax lawyers and accountants with lucrative income streams, thus contributing to the nation's employment.

Really, anyone who doesn't get out of any taxes and charges they can is a bit of a fuckwit- does anyone really think they get value for money from the system?
Morals have bugger-all to do with it; it's legalised extortion, and since when is not paying extortionists immoral?

I'd like to see it made voluntary with the exception of a base charge for defense, security and national interest items that can't be privately funded, or failing that, fully simplified to reduce the avoidance clauses and loopholes, and rates slashed accordingly.
Income tax was, after all, brought in as a temporary measure in WW2 to assist the war effort- I reckon we've probably paid for those B24s by now.

Anyone else want to chip in? How about you, Jason?


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