Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Glenn Richardson, Charles Darwin, taxes and human nature

I'm reading The Origin of Species. Watch me speciously relate it to tax philosophy.

Let's assume, for the purposes of this post, that Speaker of the House Glenn Richardson/famed economist Arthur Laffer's tax plan for Georgia is a fairer system; that it won't significantly raise taxes for the poor or middle class; that it will spur growth (without somehow also exacerbating our water issues) and expand the economy so that everyone's tax burden goes down.

Here's why it still won't pass: It's too much. Instead of lowering property taxes, or doing away with them on people's primary home, or putting in some kind of circuit breaker for people on fixed incomes, or doing away with some of the sales tax exemptions politicians say they hate but keep voting in, or doing any of a hundred other small things, it goes after the whole enchilada.

No more property taxes. A new sales tax on services instead and something between a $8.5 and $10 billion swing in revenue collection. People can't grasp it. There's no way to predict how their tax burden will actually change. It scares the $(*% out of them.

Even the speaker's office can't or won't show the math it's using to say the tax will raise enough money to keep all these local governments running.

What the hell does this have to do with Darwin? I ran across this quote last night. He was talking about why no one would believe in the concept of natural selection, despite the fact that it seemed to make a lot of sense:
The chief cause... is that we are always slow in admitting any great change of which we do not see the intermediate steps. ... The mind cannot possibly grasp the full meaning of the term of a hundred million years; it cannot add up and perceive the full effects of many slight variations, accumulated during an almost infinite number of generations.

My prediction? We'll see some sort of tax reform when the General Assembly convenes next year. But not so sweeping as has been suggested.

Of course, what I don't know could fill a warehouse.


griftdrift said...

Since you are reading Darwin I thought you might be interested in this essay as it seems to relate to the quote you use.

Lucid Idiocy said...

Read a bit of that. But I think I'm going to have to concentrate on it.