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The goal of taxes and economic growth

tejretics
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9/26/2015 5:06:26 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
As far as I know, I'm for a low progressive tax rate because it "benefits the economy." But reading some debates of Romanii's -- and some of Romanii's other comments/opinions, etc. -- have got me thinking: is economy an end in itself? Of course not; it is the *means* to an end. But what do we accomplish when we "benefit the economy?" What does "benefit the economy" mean? It only means generate greater revenue for the government, and to stabilize a position as a powerful economy in front of other nations, to encourage trade. So, ultimately, the *end itself* of economics is to ensure that people have more resources, thus resulting in an easier lifestyle.

Now, applying this to taxes in themselves: why do we pay taxes? To encourage *our own* lifestyle is the sole incentive -- and to encourage lifestyles of others. What are "incentives?" Economics 101 -- humans respond to incentives that help them as individuals. Mandatory taxation helps "everyone," while non-mandatory taxes help the *individual.* This calls into question whether egoism itself is an ethical framework. If one rejects egoism, then mandatory taxes are justified as long as altruism isn't seen as immoral.

Does this apply to a view of (1) preference utilitarianism, and (2) hedonistic utilitarianism? Under those frameworks -- with economic considerations -- which tax is most moral?

Now, per my beliefs, a low progressive tax rate is ideal for the U.S. economy currently (due to a progressive consumption tax being impractical in implementation). I'm not interested in having this challenged; I'm dealing with the morality of taxation specifically here. So -- *assuming* a low progressive tax rate is the best tax rate -- would a progressive tax rate be the best form of taxation under a framework of (1) hedonistic util and (2) preference util?
"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." - Frederick Douglass