Saturday, November 1, 2008

I'm Not Selfish

On Friday, I just voted myself a nice little tax increase.  Like I said before, I consider it an investment in America.  Some on this blog have intellectually consistent arguments against my intentions.  Others, a knee jerk reaction against sharing their toys. 

From a purely economic perspective, the only economic loss associated with using income taxes to achieve government objectives is the utility associated with the individual spending those dollars.  So, if you take a macroeconomic perspective, the argument against paying higher taxes is purely a selfish one.

The alternatives: voluntary giving, charity, and the like were not sufficient in the past, and simply will not be sufficient in the future.  Recent scholarship in behavioral economics tells us that voluntary participation leads to significant free rider issues and creates incentive paradoxes that thwart even agreed upon objectives.  Compulsorily participation eliminates these economic inefficiencies. 

But look at the issue from another angle.  My father was born in Mexico and moved here as a young child.  When my grandparents brought them to the US, my grandmother told them that they were going to become Americans.  And in order to do that, they needed to go to school, learn English, and pay their taxes.  Those values were instilled in me.  Marissa (another first generation American) feels the same way.  We gladly pay more in taxes because we feel that its our obligation to give back to this country that has treated us so well.  Having benefited so much from living in this country, we have a patriotic duty to give back in greater measure than others.  It's the price of success - one that we will gladly pay because we are grateful to be here.  Many others tend to see their individual success as a byproduct solely of their hard work. While there's no doubt that Marissa and I worked hard (for me, more so in law school), we honestly believe that we would not have had the opportunities for as much upward mobility in any other country. 

1 comment:

Restless Native said...

Ta dang.

Done and done.

Eat it, Hoss.