The question of whether it should be easy or hard for people to pay their taxes is, to an extent most people don’t realize, an ideological one. Dating back to John Stuart Mill’s 1848 Principles of Political Economy, there has been an understanding that a less visible tax system may have a tendency to fuel the growth of government. The less the goose feels the plucking, after all, the more feathers the pluckers can collect.Government officials know this quite well. In 1942, discussing proposed changes to how the federal government collected taxes at a Senate hearing, treasury official Randolph Paul wondered aloud, regarding income tax withholding, whether “if we cut down the squawking under this method we could raise the individual tax rates?” Withholding was instituted, the squawking was cut down, and taxes indeed have risen as a share of GDP.The article even describes how toll booths that collect fees easier collect more fees. The more painful paying taxes is, the more we are willing to pay. There is even a good argument for moving election day closer to tax day; since it's currently as far away as it can get.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Good Thing Paying Taxes is a Pain
I just got done filing my taxes for the year. It was more painful than I remember. Apparently, that's not a bad thing: