Are Taxes Bloodsucking Parasites?
By Sean Callahan
GoodGovernmentReader.com has many missions: We’re out to show that your taxes aren’t wasted, that government is widely effective, and that elected officials aren’t universally corrupt. We also like to remind people that part of the Constitution’s charter is to “promote the general welfare.” It’s right there in the preamble.
Obviously, I’m a believer in the power of government to make people’s lives better, so it never ceases to flabbergast me when a person attacks our government’s tax structure while ignoring the advantages those very same taxes have provided him.
Such an example is the SkyRoll CEO, a successful entrepreneur who was featured in an article in the Washington Post that ran in May. The title of the article is “For this luggage maker, taxes are a bloodsucking parasite on his business.”
This entrepreneur should be applauded for his entrepreneurship. He has built a profit-generating company in a country built to foster just that sort of business.
But it’s troubling that the CEO is blind to the benefits that what he calls the “bloodsucking parasite” of taxes have provided for him. They have actually gone a long way to enabling his business to flourish and to setting the stage for his own personal success.
The Post story, written by Thomas Heath, cites a host of state and federal taxpayer-funded organizations and initiatives that helped prepare this entrepreneur to be a CEO:
- There’s the University of Florida, where he received his undergraduate degree.
- There’s the University of California-Berkeley (another public institution), where he studied the patent law of the United States, a structure designed by the federal government to protect and foster the rights of entrepreneurs.
- He also imports his goods through the municipal Port of Los Angeles.
- He uses ecommerce to sell his luggage on the Internet, which, of course, was originally developed by ARPANET, a project of the Department of Defense.
- Even Intel, the Silicon Valley giant where the CEO cut his teeth as an engineer, was fostered by far-sighted federal policy supporting the development of semiconductors, as Intel founder Andy Grove never tired of pointing out.
I’ll also stress that federal income taxes, especially in the six-figure bracket where this CEO’s earnings reside, are historically low compared to what they were in the 1950s. The current marginal tax rate for individuals on every dollar they earn more than $413,200 is 39.6%. Compare that to the 91% tax rate that individuals earning more than $200,000 paid under President Dwight Eisenhower, a Republican.
So, in the end, I’d argue that taxes — the taxes that help fund roadways, airports and seaports; educate the workforce; and protect intellectual property — aren’t bloodsucking parasites. Taxes actually are arteries that provide key sources of lifeblood to businesses in the United States.
Photo: Oregon State University