Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Budget special

As it's budget day here in London I will make a rare concession to things that are happening now, rather than the late thirteenth century.  Philosopher Stephen Law, whose debate with William Lane Craig I discussed in a few posts last year, has an excellent and entertaining rant about taxation and the rich on his blog here.  The comments section is especially funny.  Law's premiss is that the Conservative government has a lot of rich mates and that their entire policy is designed to make them richer, and the poor poorer.

This is presumably why today's budget will include a rise in the 'personal allowance', namely the bit you substract from your taxable income, and which therefore isn't taxed at all.  The rise will take some people out of the tax net entirely.  And presumably why the London Times today has a headline saying 'Super rich to pay for Osborne's tax cuts'.

I could make a whole post and more about the logic of taxation, but not today.  Perhaps later.  (Actually our friend Anthony who occasionally posts here knows something about this, but he has been a bit quiet lately. Where are you, Anthony?)


Anthony said...

>> Where are you, Anthony?

I was doing taxes, I'm sure.

As for "the logic of taxation", I mostly restrict my thoughts on this matter to figuring out what the laws actually say. (*) Trying to optimize the intended and unintended consequences is foolish, because the fundamental principle (taxing people based how much barter of services they've engaged in) is absurd.

(*) One thing you might find interesting is the existence of "paradoxes", such as the (now-fixed) "qualifying child paradox".

[quote]Twin nineteen-year old brothers live together in their home and attend school full-time. Their parents are deceased. The brothers do not provide more than half of their own support. Although they have part time jobs and earn about $5,000 annually, their principal support comes from their aunts and uncles who together contribute about $25,000 per brother towards their household and college expenses. The aunts and uncles do not live with the brothers. Each brother meets the definition of a qualifying child with respect to the other. Putting the dependency rules together with this, if each twin is able to claim the other as a dependent, it means that the other one cannot because a dependent cannot have dependents. However, since neither can be claimed, it means they can have dependents. This loop continues endlessly – we now have the qualifying child paradox[/quote]

Edward Ockham said...

Better late than never. Where is this paradox to be found? I like it.

Why is the fundamental principle of taxation absurd? Do we even have a definition of 'absurdity'?