Monday, August 3, 2009

The public servant tax

What is in a name?

I was listening to NPR this morning and again hearing about some state or other that is trying to furlough its workers because the legislature refuses to raise taxes on anyone, because as anyone with half an econ brain knows that taxes hurt the economy ... right? But of course, a furlough is really just a surtax on public servants. Sorry for the lack of precision, but I think the story I was half-listening to was talking about 12 days of furlough, presumably spread over the year. That is equivalent to approximately a 5% tax on pay.

And while some particulary uncompassionate out there may take satisfaction in the idea of their DMV workers paying for needed revenue, we are also taxing "good guys" like teachers and firefighters. All of whom can little afford a tax hike of 5%. You may not like the DMV worker, but he or she buys stuff with her pay check, and one way or the other his or her purchasing habits stimulates whatever private sector job the anti-tax folks work at.

This kind of tax is both unfair and a bad idea for the economy.

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