Stories tagged taxes

Apr
15
2009

Rare species: Joe the Plumber belongs to a sub-species of humans who don't like to pay taxes.
Rare species: Joe the Plumber belongs to a sub-species of humans who don't like to pay taxes.Courtesy Rona Proudfoot
Today – April 15 and its federal tax deadline –may be a miserable day for Joe the Plumber, that vocal opponent of the redistribution of wealth through public taxation. But he’ll likely not find too many sympathizers among the animal kingdom.

While much of our humankind political debate revolves around if and how much wealth should be redistributed through public taxation, the issue is a given among most other animal species. Follow this link to a complete rundown by the New York Times. In essence, many animals have a culture of helping each other out and making sure the minimum needs of all are met. And sometimes they get real serious about it.

Don't beat me up....I've paid my taxes: Rhesus monkeys have a culture that encourages the sharing of food – a redistribution of wealth – that penalizes those who don't contribute to the good of all monkeys.
Don't beat me up....I've paid my taxes: Rhesus monkeys have a culture that encourages the sharing of food – a redistribution of wealth – that penalizes those who don't contribute to the good of all monkeys.Courtesy J.M.Garg
I found especially interesting the practices of the rhesus monkey. When out hunting, if a single monkey finds a huge load of food, he/she is compelled by the species’ culture to notify others to come and enjoy the bounty. If it’s discovered he/she was hording the treasure and not sharing, a dominant male will unleash and harsh, stern physical penalty (without any preliminary audit like the IRS).

Vampire bats will actually do an “audit” of the stomachs of their comrades. If a particular bat appears to be bloated, they will “vigorously encourage” the glutton to regurgitate the excess food it had consumed to share among other bats in the group.

So if you’re having a hard time coughing up that dough to the IRS today, just be glad you’re not a rhesus monkey, vampire bat or some other tough taxing creature of the animal world. The means of taxation could be a whole lot more painful.

Feb
26
2007

The Congressional Budget Office has released its biannual report on budget options – 374 riveting pages of proposed changes to tax law and spending priorities. Fortunately, we have bloggers interested in this kind of stuff. Greg Mankiw notes that revenue option #48 calls for a $1 per gallon increase in gasoline tax, and, at the same time, a 2% decrease in income tax and other taxes. The net effect would be about even – what you spend in higher gas taxes you'd get back in lower income taxes.

Other bloggers think this is a cool idea. Governments have long used taxes to discourage people from spending money on things that have a negative impact on society. Making gasoline more expensive may boost energy conservation. People who drive less, or buy more efficient cars, could see some real savings.

What do you think? Should the government use taxes to encourage conservation? Leave a message.