In comparison to the United States, Western Europe is a socialist society. People generally pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than we do. Countries have highly developed social safety nets and welfare systems.
Based on what I’ve just told you, jobs should be disappearing and investors should be fleeing Europe in droves. That‘s what I’d expect to hear from the analyst/ideologues at the Mackinac Center.
They seem to think that virtually all taxes are bad and any form of public investment in society is clearly the work of the devil. But nobody is running away from Frankfort or Berlin or Dublin or Paris.
Instead, people are flocking to these cities. When you drive around them, you don’t see pothole-pitted streets. Nor do you see many homeless, or folks begging to wash your windshield.
What you see are attractive places to live.
Now here’s something funny. I know some educated and cultured conservatives, and when they want to get away for an interesting weekend, they generally don’t go to rural Alabama.
They go to high-tax places like New York City or Los Angeles or Boston. Those places do have higher taxes and a higher cost of living. They also have a vibrant quality of life.
Lou Glazer, the founding guru of Michigan’s Future, demonstrates that the idea that low taxes mean automatic prosperity is dead wrong.
Now this doesn’t mean that all taxes are automatically good and tax cuts always bad. Yes, you can drive business away and beggar your economy with crippling tax rates. That’s what many a European monarch did to his people in the bad old days.
Taxes aimed at investment or high-tech industries would be suicidal right now. Tax cuts that would make it attractive for Microsoft to open a plant here might well make sense. But cutting taxes to the point where higher education suffers and the infrastructure is falling apart is just as bad as raising them too high.
What all of us want is the best quality of life we can get for ourselves, and a better world to hand over to our kids.
Nobody likes paying taxes. Over the weekend I figured out mine. Turns out I owe about $400 dollars. For a moment I was dismayed. But deep down I know I should pay more. I think I have a solution to all this silliness. Repeal immediately the word taxes. From now on, what we have are user fees.
Would you pay higher user fees for better roads? If a user fee might help your daughter’s school, would you pay it? I thought so.
We all know that you get what you pay for. The truth is, there can be no progress without taxes. And truth in packaging would be a very good thing.