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Old 13.08.2011, 22:22
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Voluntary taxation, for those who *really care*

Some of us want to make the world a better place by taxing the rich and building hospitals and libraries with their cash, while some of us would rather decide for ourselves what happens to our money - whether that be on hospitals and libraries or oysters and loose women.

Could this irreconcilable difference be solved by voluntary taxation?

There would be a standard income tax rate which would be very low, to cover the basic running of a country. In addition to that, citizens would be given the opportunity to pay more tax, if they believe that the government has the right (or the obligation) to spend their money on their behalf.

One might think of it as a "really caring" tax. Those who prefer to support charities and good works (or ale houses and bookmakers) with their own money can do so, whereas those who would like to see the government build a better future for all can also do so by voluntarily distributing their own wealth. The first group would no longer complain about unfair taxation, while the second group would enjoy the warm glow of 'doing their bit' for the good of the nation.

I understand that some of you chaps are quite good at economics and finance and suchlike - what do you think of this idea? Would it work? What objections could there be?

Is it really possible to please all the people all the time?
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Old 13.08.2011, 23:21
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Re: Voluntary taxation, for those who *really care*

I refer you to the first suggestion in 'Similar Threads', below: Question for those who know Sweden....

Too much sauce this evening, DB?
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Old 13.08.2011, 23:54
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Re: Voluntary taxation, for those who *really care*

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Could this irreconcilable difference be solved by voluntary taxation?
I don't believe in voluntary taxation. I think that -if given the opportunity- people spend their money on things they need/enjoy rather than paying for the required construction of a highway. Taxes are necessary for services that everyone can use and benefit from and that's why the load should be equally distributed over the population.
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Old 14.08.2011, 08:40
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Re: Voluntary taxation, for those who *really care*

I think that's what we have now, isn't it, both here and in the UK?

Whether the basic tax we pay is minimum or not is debatable, but we need to pay "voluntary tax" here for eg REGA and Paraplegie etc etc, in the UK, we pay for MRI scanners, and childrens books, and for crumbling churches through collections, bakes and sponsored this and that.

In my view - these things should all be paid by government central tax - but they aren't and so there is a "top up tax" for those that really care

Last edited by Caviarchips; 14.08.2011 at 12:53.
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Old 14.08.2011, 11:58
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Re: Voluntary taxation, for those who *really care*

Well, here in the Heart Of Darkness we have what is in essence what you describe - but without the government middleman.

SZ has a very low tax rate, funding a decent level of public services - but not perhaps quite the range of social services and public programs - or boondoggles, depending on one's worldview - that other higher tax cantons do. It's a trade-off, one that the good Stimmburgers have voted for again and again.

However, there is a great deal of private giving going on. Those who can, and who wish to, do seem to be very generous in support many a worthy cause - both in canton and beyond.

Are all Congoese gazillionaires altruistic philanthropists? No, I'd guess that the percentage of hard-hearted barstewards is the same as anywhere else. But many, many people - gazillionaires and normal folk alike - do see it as an honor and duty to support the causes and projects they believe in. The low tax rate means that one has more disposable income to do so; Schwyzers seem to prefer the direct route when possible.

Do all programs get funded equally this way? No, not by a long shot. But should they? How should the funding-worthiness of a project be measured?

Many people would rather decide for themselves which groups and projects to support, and I would guess that when giving from the heart many folk offer support well beyond what they might have paid in higher taxes.

I'm most emphatically not of libertarian ilk. In fact, politically and philosophically I'm far closer to the pointy-headed liberal camp. But I have come to appreciate the practical and effective Schwyzer approach.

---


DB, a form of what you describe was proposed a few years ago; there was a feeling that it was 'unfair' that only members of the official churches paid the church tax, as the (debatable) idea was that that revenue went not only to building funds but also to (church sponsored) social programs. The proposal was that those who do not pay church tax should pay an additional 'caring' tax to help fund those social programs.

The idea was not well received - again, because I'd guess that people prefer to give as conscience dictates.
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Old 15.08.2011, 16:32
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Re: Voluntary taxation, for those who *really care*

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... The first group would no longer complain about unfair taxation, while the second group would enjoy the warm glow of 'doing their bit' for the good of the nation...
Those who don't want to pay much tax tend to live in ridiculously boring places, probably to complement their boring lifestyles which they then fill with product / stuff / Botox in an attempt to avoid confronting the hollow, crushing pain of their existence and the lack of decent bars.

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Old 15.08.2011, 16:53
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Re: Voluntary taxation, for those who *really care*

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Those who don't want to pay much tax tend to live in ridiculously boring places, probably to complement their boring lifestyles which they then fill with product / stuff / Botox in an attempt to avoid confronting the hollow, crushing pain of their existence and the lack of decent bars.
That would be Wollerau, then?
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