Freitag, 12. Oktober 2012

Good taxes

(public domain)

Working for the society

People in some jobs do good and important things for society. And people in other jobs clearly don't. Sounds pretty obvious.

I'd like to give some examples of jobs of which I think, that they are good good for society: nurse, teacher, medic, sewerman, fireman, ...

As discussed already in a recent blog post, the amount of money people earn mostly depends on their proximity to the source. The source being the flow of money. People who work in the financial industry can deviate a lot of money into their own pockets, and because they can, they do. Nurses on the other hand---to name a specific example---are far away from the source and thus are not able to deviate money into their pockets. Hence, they have to live of the leftovers trickling down.

I consider this as a problem for society. But there are ways out.

Ways out

IMO, there are basically two solutions to this problem:
  1. Regulate the wages of the people
  2. Regulate the taxes people have to pay

Regulating the wages directly would deprive the employers of the possibility to provide reward those who do good work. Since I think, that rewarding good work is a necessary ingredient to get good work done, I therefor don't like the this option.

The second option is the regulation of taxes. This is already somehow implemented in progressive tax systems where the tax rate rises progressivly with the income. Whilst this provides a redistribution of some of the wealth in the society, it treats the nurse equal to the stock market broker. The broker just earns so much more, that even with a progressive taxation he still goes home with so much more.

What income taxes should depend on

My proposal is, that taxes should not only depend on the income, but as well on the type of job which is done and its value for the society. I imagine different tax rates depending on both, on the income and on the type of job. Maybe it should be even depend on the work the company does as well.

It is of course difficult to set for each type of work the value the society gains, and probably nobody wants to give that power to a small group of politicians. Especially as today's politians don't seem to be too resistant to lobbying or even being bought completely.

But there is one entity in each nation which could have the power. It's the people. I imagine one default progressive tax by for all jobs. But all citizens can then up- and down-vote for the taxes for a specific type of job in a specific salary band. The votes of all the people and those who didn't vote is then taken. The tax for a bankster earning 10 Million Euros a year could then be set to maybe 99% by the people, if they got the feeling, that banksters don't do any good for the society. On the other hand, the fireman who saves lifes or the staff of a retirement home, who earns much less might be awarded with only 10% taxes, or maybe even 0%, who knows what people think is a fair value.

I think, this could be a really fair system. It would provide an incentive for people to work in jobs where they would help the society instead of in jobs which are just there to rip off a large share of money from the financial stream for their own profit. We are the society after all, that's why we should aim for improving our all wellbeing, ... not only mine or yours or his.


Of course, there are some technicalities to be solved, such as which groups of jobs are there and which job belongs to which of the groups. There is as well the issue, that some bankster might try to redefine his job description from "managing a large equity fund and firing people at will" to "cooks food for the poor". Certainly this is not desired and has to be avoided.

Ideally voting would be over the internet, but it has to be ensured, that as well computer illiterate persons can have their say. How should the calculation being done? In what time-spans the tax rate should be held constant after a change; a week, a month, a year, not at all? Hence, there are technicalities, but hey, technicalities have to be solved each and every day. I don't see any reason why such a system couldn't be implemented.


(public domain)

You are very welcome to leave your comments! Let me know what you think.

Creative Commons License
Good taxes by Peter Speckmayer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.