I’m not offended by the fact that people are rich

I’m not offended by the fact that the Romney’s have money, just as I wasn’t offended that the Kerrys did. I also don’t find it offensive that the President is of the opinion that the marginal tax rates should be different from what they are.

That a tax system allows someone to claim a $77,000 writeoff (over TWICE the median income in the US) for a horse, and then publicly justify said animal as “therapy”, when that person is also opposed to providing taxpayer-funded healthcare to those who can’t afford it?

THAT, I find offensive.

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7 thoughts on “I’m not offended by the fact that people are rich

      • Damn, I should have seen that question coming…
        So, first off: On principle, I find any compulsory tax system offensive, but I gather that’s not what you’re talking about.
        Now, if you still care about my opinion: Taking as given that we have a tax system that forces people to pay tax depending on their income, and that allows them to deduct therapeutical expenses, I don’t find it offensive if they do, and that opinion does not in the slightest depend on whether they support or oppose tax-funded healthcare systems. I might even consider it slightly more consistent if they oppose such a system.
        So I bet you think I’m an ass now, which would probably end this discussion, but if you don’t, I’d be interested in your explanation for your opinion.

  1. We do have a basic disagreement on principle here which may make the rest of the discussion trickier: I obviously agree with the principles of a taxation system, as a way to pay for the basic infrastructure and services for the society that levies them. I can agree with the overall principle of this setup even while disagreeing with specific taxes or uses of tax money.

    On your second point: the $77,000 was actually not credited as a medical/therapeutic expense, it was a business expense (technically a “passive activity”: a business they don’t actively participate in running). My issue is with the rationalization for the horse’s use as therapy, which was the excuse trotted out (HA!) to the public to justify the expense as unassailable. I find it offensively hypocritical to appeal to the public on that basis, when you are actively waging a campaign that will reduce similar options available to taxpayers in lower income brackets. If it’s a business expense, it’s a business expense. If it’s a medical expense, then claim it as one: the problem is that in this case the IRS probably would not allow it, since it’s not medically indicated or required (the basic requirement for therapy deductions).

    But they shouldn’t claim it as one type of expense to the IRS and justify it as another to the public, by playing on the sympathy that they themselves somehow don’t feel towards everyone else who has medical bills to pay. That’s where the hypocrisy lies.

    I do find it darkly amusing that there is probably some number in the thousands out of that $77k that was used to provide health care for the horse. I’d wonder how you feel about someone who argues against using taxpayer money for covering basic health care needs for people, but seems to be OK with using your taxpayer money to pay for his horse’s healthcare.

    And no, I don’t think you’re an ass for having different opinions than mine: I assume some people do. As long as they can express them coherently and with respect (as you have), the discussion is always welcome. After all, it’s the only way we can change each others’ minds.

    • I don’t know if the disagreement has to make our discussion trickier as a whole. As I implied: We can just take our tax system as a given, we don’t need to debate my wacky voluntarist ethics.
      I do think there’s another fundamental disagreement that’s more problematic: I see a very, very big difference between taking money from other people (like receiving healthcare paid by taxes) and giving less money to other people (like making a tax deduction, especially if it’s legal, which I obviously can’t judge in this case).
      You seem to see those two situations as more or less equivalent.
      Romney didn’t use my money, he used his own. A person who receives funds from taxes does not. That person uses other peoples’ money. (For simplicity’s sake, I’ll ignore the fact that I’m German, so that’s a different tax pool anyway.)
      I see absolutely no contradiction in using one’s own money for a horse’s healthcare while being opposed to compulsory healthcare paid for by money that has been taken away from other people by force.
      Come to think of it: Maybe that does derive from our different perspective on income tax.
      We can, at least, agree on the fact that the two different justifications do seem hypocritical.

      • I do understand the difference between taking money from other people and giving less money to other people, but you also need to acknowledge that the line gets blurred when it comes to taxation. If I manipulate the system to pay less taxes, then other people will have to pay more. If you pay less taxes to cover roads or bridges (or, yes, healthcare), then everyone else will have to pay more to make up the difference. If the deductions are acceptable and legal, there is usually no legal or moral issue with this, but when you say Romney “uses his own money” for this you obscure the fact that if he just used his money and paid for what he wants, I would be perfectly OK with him spending it however he wants. But when he claims it on his taxes, he is now contributing less to the common pool that we all have an obligation (under our current tax system) to pay in to. Which in effect, ultimately does take money away from me.

        If we assume that taxpayer funded healthcare is part of the set of services and infrastructure that we have agreed to pay for with our taxes (which we have, regardless of one’s actual opinion of the efficacy, need or fairness of the Affordable Care Act), then he is removing money from that pool, which then needs to be made up by other people in the pool. So your distinction between taking money from people and giving less money to other people is less relevant, since by giving less, you force others to give more.

        Again, if the deduction is legal and moral I have no problem with that, since we all (in theory) have similar access to ways to reduce our taxes. In reality and under our current tax system those with a lot more money seem to have a lot more ways to do that, but that’s a different discussion.

        But my issue was never with them having taken a deduction: it was with the justification, which as you agreed with in your last statement, is hypocritical.

      • Thanks for explaining. I guess, when assessing the difference between paying less tax and receiving money, the outcome does depend a lot on whether you accept the moral justification of the tax system (which I don’t), so from your point of view (which is, of course, glaringly and unforgivably wrong), you’re right.
        Seems like we’re done now.

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