Taxes are low right now.

This is beautiful, and it’s getting used in lots of political discussions by me from now on.

When even Ben Stein is saying it’s time to raise taxes on the wealthy, that should tell you something.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Glodson




  • Charlie

    Any time that I discuss taxes with someone that is vehemently opposed to any sort of increase I like to mention the idea of how revenue over income tax rate % functions.

    It is a pretty easy idea, but not a lot of people think of it this way. So imagine the x,y with revenues over income tax rate percentage. At 0%, there are 0 revenues, at 100%, there are 0 revenues (because “why work?”). So we have a curve that hits 0 at the beginning and the end, somewhere in the middle there is an optimum and there is only one. There exists a rate at which revenues are maximized, it moves and changes, but the real question is in regards to where we are relative to that peak.

    In reality it is way more complicated than this, but it demonstrates a general principle and helps to break Ditto-Head mantras. It isn’t a matter of ideology, it is a matter of math.

  • Compuholic

    I think I will never get the obsession with high taxes. I don’t mind if taxes are high provided that I get the overall impression that my tax money is used reasonably. Taxes and expenses for social services here in Germany can even approach 50% if you are living on the salary of an average middle-class person.

    But hardly anybody (including me) complains. Because we all have profited from the system in one way or another. Investments in infrastructure and education almost always pay off in the long run. The only thing that really pisses me off are politicians who blow tax money on prestige projects which are of little use to anybody (like the Elbe Philharmonic Hall disaster).

  • smrnda

    An even more useful comparison might be Obama or Reagan as compared to Eisenhower. I don’t have a link, but I think I recall that under Eisenhower, taxes were higher, particularly the marginal tax rate on high earners.

    • Compuholic

      If my memory serves me right (and I am fairly certain it does), top income tax rates under Eisenhower were in the area of 90%. However that might not mean much since I have no idea how much you had to earn to fall into this category. And a direct comparison between the Eisenhower era and today is not really possible. 100,000$ back then surely were worth a lot more that 100,000$ today.

  • Bubba Maximus

    Why would levels of taxation be a concern to an atheist blog?

    I’ve felt for a long time that tying atheism to these types of political concerns is a losing proposition in the long run. Atheism is defined by our freedom of thought and our freedom to live our lives free of interference from those who shackle themselves with superstitious concerns. Period. One’s views on taxes is a personal matter, not to be held to some made up political orthodoxy.

    Culturally mandated moral frameworks are a social construct that should be of no concern to the free atheist mind. “Right” and “wrong” are utilitarian concerns that are relative to one’s own needs and preferences. Inasmuch as I cannot infringe upon your right to believe and exist as you wish, so to can you not infringe upon mine. Taxation is an extension of this concept, as what get taxed and what doesn’t is an extension of one person (or group’s) “values” on another.

    Higher taxes, then, by their very nature, are an imposition of values upon me and my right to do as I will with that which I earn. Just as I reject the theist concept of “tithing” to a “god” who does not exist, so to do I reject the idea that taxation for the sake of taxation, ie, higher taxes, is wrong.

    As much as Barak Obama is a friend to the freethinker by helping to peel the theist off of our backs with their imposed values, I am not a fan of his obsession with taxation as a means of mandatory obendiance to his will.