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So why not advocate the elimination of taxes altogether, precisely in order to work around these psychological biases? Isn't taxation as it stands something of an artifact of the long-irrelevant material constraints of coining money? I'm continuously puzzled why almost no progressive thinkers, including the MMT crowd, advocate the elimination of per-person taxation and its replacement by government's spending money into the economy as required. The bureaucratic overhead, like in a single-payer health system, would be greatly reduced, and the anti-tax propagandists on the right would be silenced.
Increasingly I believe that modern taxation has two primary functions, 1) to promote impoverishment and 2) to alienate individuals from the government. I think that the second function might actually be much more critical. After all, it makes little sense for a government that can issue its own currency directly to demand that currency indirectly individual-by-individual. This is one of the silent scandals, I think, of the modern era. The decision post-gold-standard era to retain traditional taxation is a neoliberal strategy based on real-political understanding of human psychology (cognitive biases and otherwise.) The strategy, basically? Use macro-economic policy to strain household budgets. Use traditional taxation both to strain further those budgets and to create a negative association between government and one's personal well-being. Then propose a deal: eliminate elements of personal taxation in exchange for eliminating social programs. Characterize the government as a 'strained household' (the old 'switcheroo') that has been 'spending outside of its means,' etc. etc.
Toggle Commented Jan 16, 2013 on Ideology as cognitive bias at Stumbling and Mumbling
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Jan 16, 2013