Trickle Down Taxes

     I recently read an article about France imposing a “Digital Tax” of 3% on the largest online marketplaces.  Their reasons, according to the government, was to ensure that large online corporations pay their fair share of taxes.  Apparently a small town bakery ends up paying more taxes than many of the giant online marketplaces, and the government wanted to fix it (or so they say).

     So how did the online marketplaces respond?  They raised their seller fees 3%, naturally!  The sellers, though not explicitly stated in the article, will no doubt raise their prices 3%.  So in the end, the “Digital Tax” is really just another tax on consumers.  The government gets their 3%, it’s a washout for everyone in the middle, and the consumer pays 3% more.

     And guess what?  This is how it works every time government thinks up a new tax.  The largest corporations either wiggle out of the new tax through tax loopholes or they pass it down until, eventually, it trickles down to the everyday working people of the world.

     Government knows this.  They know that they would have to close tax loopholes if they really want to make the corporations pay more taxes, but they can’t do that because:

  1. The corporations may move to another country
  2. The government may be closing tax loopholes that they (the politicians) as individuals benefit from
  3. The corporations wouldn’t finance the politician’s election/reelection.

     So the next time you hear that government wants to find a new tax to impose on corporations or “rich people,” get ready to open up your wallet, because you’ll be the one paying it!


Pointless Rioting

     I heard a conversation today between two guys talking about some rioting that’s been happening in France.  I haven’t been following the situation closely, but apparently the everyday people are feeling cheated in one way or another by the government due to a decline in living standards and the introduction of even more taxes.  (As one of the most socialist countries in the world, France already has some of the highest tax rates of any country.)

     In any case, the one guy on the bus said that he thought the protesters were doing a good job so far by burning and destroying luxury cars to draw attention to their movement.

     I don’t think that burning and destroying luxury cars is a good thing!  What does that solve?  All that it shows to me is that the protesters don’t stand for much at all if they’re going to take their frustrations out on wealthier people’s property with random acts of destruction.

     To really get things done people need to follow the examples of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.  Government knows how to deal with violence—simply strike back with more violence.  Non-violence is harder for them to justify the use of force.

     But government has gotten smarter over the years.  They now have a technique of infiltrating non-violent groups with their own government agents who impersonate actual nonviolent protesters and whose real job is to incite violence, thereby giving government an excuse to crush them.

     One thing government can’t fight against very well is a good old-fashioned boycott or strike.  Gandhi was able to bring the entire nation of India to a standstill by declaring days of “prayer and fasting.”  On these days, no one would go to work, businesses started losing money, and that brought about results against their overlords, Great Brittan.

     That’s why the “Occupy Wall Street” protests not too long ago were a joke.  They had no organized message and no plans for boycotts or strikes.

     Anyways, it probably matters very little.  Most Americans are far too comfortably numb to care about protests, boycotts, and strikes.  Sadly, these movements usually only happen after people have nothing left to lose.

Excerpted from Them and Us: A Philosophy of Freedom by Adam Soto