Thursday, May 17, 2007

you wear nothing, but you wear it so well

Things that irritate me #4627:

"Tax cuts will act as incentive for people to work more"

This is one of the those supposedly intuitive ideas that I could never for the life of me understand. If you cut taxes, workers have more incentives to work as they receive more money in the hand, since less of it is going to our fat, old, nanny-cow of a government. Or something.

But it's ridiculous.

The majority of workers in this country have bugger-all control of how many hours they work. Or they're on a fixed salary, and get nothing if they work harder except a limp handshake and maybe a couple of movie tickets.

Who the hell, except economists and the OCD, sits down and works out how much tax they're going to pay if they do overtime this week (christ, does overtime even exist anymore??)? Who turns down a promotion because they'll suddenly be earning 39c for every dollar over $60,000? Personally half the reason for my job moves during my career has been about 60% money and 40% pride/prestige. Reducing all human activities to money is the greatest failure of economic theory, if you ask me, which you don't, and that quite frankly is why you have so many damn problems.

Hell, let's argue the other way - if you raise taxes people will work harder, because now that I have less money in the hand, I need to earn more to pay for my house, that LCD tv and the second helipad I've been meaning to build. With the government taking 50% of my income, I'll need to work 15 more hours a week! Instant growth!

Sweet zombie jesus, I'm a fiscal genius.

I'm actually agnostic about whether tax cuts in general stimulate long-term sustainable growth (as opposed to short term spending splurges. Arguably the best time to cut taxes will be straight after the next real estate crash). Show me some pretty graphs and long-term research and I could fall either way. I respect (even if I disagree) with the idea that you should cut taxes and government spending purely because people are a better judge of what their money should be spent on. But feed me up with stupid arguments and I'll just be inclined to think you're just a blithering moron.

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