Those Who Collect Our Taxes Tax Us More Than Once
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan
Those Who Collect Our Taxes Tax Us More Than Once
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan
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It’s tax season!

Normally April 15th is the dreaded deadline by which Americans have to file their income taxes.  Incidentally, April 16th is when Tax Freedom Day fell this year.  That represented how long we had to work from the start of the year solely to wet Uncle Sam’s beak.

Like last year however, the due date has been pushed out, albeit not as far; May 17th.  This happens to fall around the last day Texans have to protest their property taxes. 

It’s a glorious time to be paying “the price of living in a civilized society!”

In all seriousness, these two governmental takings have been intertwined for over a century

As we all know, we can deduct property taxes from the calculation of our income taxes.  This endured largely intact until the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, when the deduction was capped at $10,000.

Recently I’ve been attempting to inform voters that there are things beyond our local control that artificially inflate the market value of housing.  Easy money is primary amongst them. 

Whether it’s because the left wants to “help” the poor by simply printing more greenbacks, or the right erroneously conveys that a weak currency confers an international trade advantage, a devalued dollar usually results in the same things.

The real value of our wages is diminished.  Since it trades in dollars, the price of energy rises.  Gold also rises as a store of value, as do our homes. 

Which brings me to an interesting idea put forth recently by an astute voter.  He wondered why taxation of our homes isn’t relegated solely to when we sell them, much like capital gains on the sale of stocks and bonds.

Upfront, our homes are not assets in the same sense.  Unless they’re used to produce a marketable good or service, they’re no less a simple expense than our cars are. 

To say otherwise is a verbal smoke screen that officials employ to cover for their poor policy choices, much like attempting to snooker us into believing that it’s a “refund” we get after filing our taxes.

However, the point remains.

To be clear, the ideal form of taxation is that on luxuries, of which a roof over our head is not.  But the voter’s idea is better than what we have now, and would therefore represent progress. 

That probably explains why democrats, the hapless bunch that they are, want to go in the other direction nationally, and flip things on their head.

They want to mimic local authorities by taxing capitals gains on investments as they appreciate, before they’re officially realized/sold.  It’s the wealth tax we read about.

One is left to wonder if politicians are really as vapid about these things as they appear. 

Taxing the product of diligent savings impedes prosperity.  Investment grows successful businesses, which grows the need for physical and human capital, which grows wages, etc. 

This is as clear as the image they see in the mirror.  So dense are they however, that they penalize these seeds more than once.

And how perverse that a municipality would seek to incur more debt to finance affordable housing, when some of its eventual tenants could be those who, perhaps on a fixed-income, would no longer be able to afford the property taxes on a house they’ve paid off?

Abolish the odious property tax, and not only would that be less likely to happen, but the effect of the debt on the city balance sheet wouldn’t be as burdensome, since those resources would remain in more efficient hands.

Maybe these politicians don’t see a reflection in that mirror, and are essentially just ruthless bloodsuckers.  They don’t care that government programs are typically counterproductive and wasteful.  “The rich must pay their fair share!”

There really are no other choices here.

Given their good intentions, I tend to give them the benefit of the doubt that they just don’t know any better.  Discerning citizens however, might understandably disagree. 

Christopher E. Baecker manages fixed assets at Pioneer Energy Services, teaches economics at Northwest Vista College, is a board member of the Institute of Objective Policy Assessment, and is a member of the San Antonio Business & Economics Society.  He can be reached via email or Facebook

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