"Only the poor pay taxes"... This was one of the most interesting expressions in a comic movie I saw years before. It was about the prime-minister of the Spanish king, who was a greedy man stripping all possible from the poor in favor of the aristocracy. And when this minister was replaced by the king, the new one established taxes on the rich and collected much gold in king's treasury. But before the replacement the old minister was saying: "Only the poor pay taxes..."
There is much wisdom in this thesis. If fact this is proved by all human
history. There is no government that succeeded in taking the money from the
rich. There were much attempts, but no success.
What is the reason for this?
The answer is very simple. The rich have no money...
It sounds absurdly. But in fact most of the money are distributed among the mass
people. The rich men may be very rich, but they are a small share of entire
population. And even in we place a 100% tax and take all their property, the
result for the treasury will be symbolic.
There is a reason more for the rich not to pay taxes. The reason is the same as
with the poor. Both the rich and the poor like to avoid taxes and hide their
income. No one likes paying taxes, but some succeed more in avoiding taxes.
Generally the rich are more clever in tax issues than the poor. That's why they
avoid more taxes. The rich have the advantage of using a professional help in
anti-tax battle. They can hire lawyers and accountants that can find every
possible way for saving the money from IRS. And usually these professionals are
better educated and experienced than the IRS-officers. Their job is more
attractive and highly paid. In fact, some of these consultants are former IRS
officers, that know perfectly the system and how to elude the law.
So in fact no ruler in history succeeded in taxing the rich. Nor Obama will succeed
with his "Buffet" amendment. This idea of increasing the taxes of
rich is populism that will not work. It has always been a populism. Obama in neither
the first and nor will be the last who decides to attract voters by attacking
the rich and the greedy. It is just a matter of words, of useless talking, and
not a matter of real policy. The lawyers and accountants are already 10 steps
before the government and have ready schemes to avoid the new law.
But there is one more factor that must not be forget when talking about taxes.
It is the motivation of the one that creates the income. If theoretically we
build a tax-system that cannot be avoided, this does not mean money in
treasury. This is so because of the possibility of the creator to stop working.
If he is to work only or mostly for paying taxes and can't hide the income,
then he has the choice of entirely cancelling the work. And even 100% tax on
zero income, means zero in treasury.
There are such examples. For instance the Islam based Ottoman empire had
periods of very effective administration, combined with high and unavoidable
taxes. The system was cruel and ruthless. And the result was... a complete
destruction of the Ottoman economy. People worked only for having food and
nothing more. No business, no money, no taxes...
So even if we assume Obama will pass the "Buffet" rule through The
Congress, and assume also that the administration will be better and more
clever than the tax-consultants, even then the money are not guaranteed for
treasury. It is possible much businesses to be closed or moved in other
countries. Some high-paid professionals can move to live in low-tax heavens. And
of course - hated by all bankers and financial geniuses can simply go to Hong
Kong or China and trade from there... As a whole it is absolutely real the
money in treasury even to be less, than without the "Buffet" rule.
Generally as preferable the poor pay taxes it is more fair to have lower taxes.
This way the poor will be better. The poor will not become better with virtual
anti-rich policies with zero effect.
The taxing is an art. The taxing is not a battle. Taxing is an art of
motivating the people to work and make money and after that - to pay taxes.
Money is not a mountain of notes, hidden somewhere that is waiting a good hero
to find it and make all people rich. The same is with the view that the government
must repress someone to take his money. This just don't work. It is not a
matter of heroism or violence. It's a matter of work.
Money is created every day with work. And every type of tax-violence against
the creator of the money is stupid and useless. It just makes him not to make
the money. At the moment the thinking in Washington is violence-inspired. They
believe that a new law-machine must be created to force the rich to pay. But it
is not the way...
The best way is for government to lower taxes and find the optimum between the
tax-rate and the motivation to work. The optimum where the product created is
maximal and taxes upon it does not lower it. At the moment, even before the
"Buffet" rule, the all tax-system is too heavy and far away from the
optimum. And the new populist ideas will just make the situation worse.
And at the end - the opposite instance. In past few years some Eastern members
of EU (Estonia, Bulgaria) experimented with lowering the income tax and
implementing so called "flat tax" (replacing the progressive scale).
The result was... more money in treasury.
It is so simple - the taxes are always paid mostly by the mid-class, where most
of the wealth is. So if you are good with the mid-class (low taxes), it will be
good with you (full treasury)...