"Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on
a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching
the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time."
"We live in a world where most of man's work is ugly and where ugliness quite obviously does not hurt most men. To be a person who suffers from this and who cannot settle down in surroundings which have no grace or charm and who needs a daily dose of beauty as a sick man needs his medicine, is simply to be at a great disadvantage in the modern world. It is to be in an uncomprehended minority, which makes for snobbery and preciousness and all sorts of vices. It means voting for and paying taxes to a system which will certainly never give you the things which seem to you to be the breath of life. It makes your citizenship worth less to you than it should be worth."
Stella Bowen in her novel 'Drawn from Life'
TaxesFair and square...
Estonia, a small European country on the Baltic Sea with a population of 1.3 million, has one of the most transparent and efficient tax systems in the world.
Personal and corporate income tax are paid at a flat rate of 20%. Corporate tax is paid only when the company distributes dividends, meaning that as long as profits are ploughed back into the business no tax is due. Loopholes are practically non-existent.
And as businesses are only taxed on paid-out profits they do not need a separate, complex system for tax accounting.
The whole process is cheap, not only for businesses. It costs the country €0.40 for every €100 collected. That is half the average for the 34 countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Could this well be not only the simplest, most transparent and efficient tax system but also the fairest?
The argument for progressive taxation originally rested on the perception that the achievements of individuals, including their financial rewards, were always dependent on the collective operation of society. Whether that was in the form of infrastructure, the public order and legal system or of shared knowledge, cultural resources and moral attitudes. It did not just involve the assertion that those who have more can spare more. By progressive taxation society was to reclaim some of what it had created.
However right or wrong or well intended that might have been it does not take into account that we humans are naturally extremely loss averse. We hate it if we first get 2 coins only for one to be taken away again.
Governments worldwide have largely by-passed this problem by deducting the tax before our wages reach our bank account. Now, we just never get to hold the full 2 coins we earned.
The rich, however, who make their money in all kinds of ways, do get to hold their 2 coins and like any of us they don't like it very much that they have to give one back again. So, they look for the loopholes, have the money to find them and eventually don't have to give that one coin back making the whole progressive taxation system redundant.
"But that isn't fair!" society shouts.
But instead of realising that progressive taxation goes against human nature and will therefore never work the way it was meant to be, more and more time and money is spent on trying to make it work. And who will pay for that?
It is not only the financial burden society has to carry. It is also an emotional burden as with all these attempts a lot of negativity drifts into the society giving all kind of bad feelings and forces free reign under a banner of fairness and justice. This has the potential to undermine all that is good within a society and could even lead to a collapse of its sophistication and civilisation. And that then would only be fair.
Do you know...
...that hospital patients with green views go home sooner after surgery, and that having more trees and shrubs nearby is related to a reduction in crime in public housing by as much as 50 per cent.
Food for Thought
"I think... if it is true that
there are as many minds as there are heads,
then there are as many kinds of love
as there are hearts."
Quote for the Quarter
"Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of truth"
Art Exhibition 'Human Faces'by Jef Franssen
(Due to popular demand the exhibition has been extendend.)
The countenance is the portrait of the soul,
and the eyes mark its intentions.
No CommentSilent Tales
Drawings of Today's World by Jef Franssen