I was complaining to Don Quixote today about the huge amount Mr. Bookworm and I pay in taxes, an amount that will only increase come January, when the Bush tax cuts expire. I have, of course, a principled opposition to these high taxes.
I firmly believe that government does better when it skims a small amount off of a wealthy economy, than when it gouges an increasingly poor economy. Nor can I be convinced that Keynsian economics are such that high taxes simply mean that it’s the government, rather than the marketplace, that redistributes wealth for everyone’s benefit.
Robbing Peter to pay Paul, and then having Paul hand some of that same money back to Peter (at great cost, mind you, because of the complicated procedures involved in both these transactions) is a closed system. Add to that government’s inherent inefficiencies, the corruption that always arises from concentrating too much wealth in one place, and the lack of competition, and you have an economic sink hole, temporarily floated by my money.
Anyway, I was complaining to DQ, and I mentioned that I ended up paying something like 50% of my net income in taxes every year. DQ thought that was very high, until we figured out that, unlike him, I was including the 15% self-employment withholding I’m forced to hand over to Social Security in my 50% calculation. Said DQ, “That’s not a tax.” I disagreed with him.
While I know that he’s technically correct that Social Security withholding is not a tax but is, instead, our beneficent government’s ostensibly holding my money for me to protect me in my old age, I don’t believe I’ll ever see the money again. Social Security is not a lock box. Instead, it’s just another government-managed Ponzi scheme and, worse, the government has raided it.
This money won’t come back to me. As with all my taxes, it just vanishes into the government’s greedy, inefficient maw.
Oh, and by the way, I’m not the only one who sees SS withholding as yet another tax, as opposed to just another savings account over which, coincidentally, I have absolutely no control.
UPDATE: Much as I’m doing a complicated little dance in my brain, desperately trying to find an excuse for such a great misunderstanding, I can’t. I just somehow took what DQ said and put my own gloss on it. This is what DQ said:
Wow! Much as I dearly love Bookworm, and as many wonderful conversations as we’ve had over the years, we can still miscommunicate in stunning fashion! I would never, ever say that Social Security is not a tax. Of course it is! What I asked was whether Bookworm was including in her 50% the other expenses taken from her paycheck, such as PRIVATE retirement funds (IRAs & the like) and health insurance. She assured me she was not. I’m very sorry I did not make myself clearer.
Sometimes (too often for my liking) I can be a dope. On the other hand, I love the discussion my misunderstanding sparked. And while there’s no doubt that DQ is too smart to make the mistake I attributed to him, others certainly do.