Friday, December 18, 2009

Profit Margin on Slaves versus New York Tax Payers' Burden

I am not expert on economic history but I have a niggling feeling. The net profit margin on American slaves after deductions for their amortized cost and maintenance costs (food, rent, etc.) may have been less than New Yorkers' tax burden. The government gets a bigger percentage of your income than slave holders got as return from their investments in slaves. In New York, to be free from imprisonment and other forms of government violence you must ante up about half and for many more than half of your income in taxes to "the man." These include a large property tax burden that all homeowners regardless of income must pay and so falls hard on retirees; sales tax of about 8-9%; state income tax; city income tax if you live in Big Apple; and of course federal income tax. Did I leave out inflation, which is a wealth transfer device, premium taxes, capital gains taxes and death taxes? Of course, the New York Times owners, the Ochs Sulzbergers, have managed to dodge the last for five generations while advocating them for the middle class. And alas, dear reader, you can probably think of some additional ones, such as gasoline taxes.

Slavery existed from pre-historic times and many historians speculate that it was an economic and incidentally moral improvement over the earlier method of handling conquered tribes, namely, massacring them. Slavery is a horrific institution well beyond economic considerations. Nevertheless, it might be interesting to know whether federal, state and local government exploits its citizens economically to the same degree that slaves were exploited. Naturally, there are some government services that benefit citizens, such as defense, social security, roads and police. But a large share of government budgets is pure waste, pandering to special interests, support of inefficient and failed programs, make work jobs for powerful unions like the Service Employees International Union and pure corruption.

In conclusion, let us recall this 1966 Beatles' song from their Revolver album:

>Let me tell you how it will be;
There's one for you, nineteen for me.
'Cause I'm the taxman,
Yeah, I'm the taxman.

Should five per cent appear too small,
Be thankful I don't take it all.
'Cause I'm the taxman,
Yeah, I'm the taxman.
if you drive a car - I'll tax the street;
if you try to sit - I'll tax your seat;
if you get too cold - I'll tax the heat;
if you take a walk - I'll tax your feet.

'Cause I'm the taxman,
Yeah, I'm the taxman.

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