Friday, June 09, 2006

So I popped into the Tribune's web forums for a little look see. Somebody asked a general "what should we do about the estate tax?" kind of question, and there were about thirty different flavors of "TAX BAD!" in response. I thought I'd pop up to dissent and sort of got smacked down. Sort of, in that they flamed me, and I don't see the point of arguing. I mean, when somebody asks, "How would you feel if they took thirty percent of your money away?" How are you supposed to argue? If I'm dead, I won't care.

But the fact is that the government does take about thirty percent of my money every year, and I'm more or less cool with it. That money goes to maintain the kickass parks in my neighborhood, the streets I drive on, the interstate highways that can get me into Kansas City in under two hours, the scenic riverways I dearly love, keeps up our economic system, provides for relative peace and security, secures that I won't be eating monkey chow in retirement, etc., etc., etc. If the federal government hadn't created and nurtured the Internet, my career as it currently exists, well, wouldn't.

I walked away. I have better things to do than get into a flame war with people who have no interest in reason, economics, or anything more complex than "what's mine is mine."

So why do I have this knot in my gut? Why am I surprised after all the flame wars I've seen to see once again this style of conversation that is really just screaming across a divide inpenetrable to argument? I suppose I expect better from my hometown. I can console myself, though, that the people with time to post repeated screeds to a web forum are, by nature, not the folks running things.

Unlike, you know, bloggers. That's completely different. Ahem.


Anonymous said...

You are wise Mike, just because you can't support your arguments doesn't mean they're not right. Tell those 3o % oafs this;
1.) The estate tax doesn't even start until we're talking about over 2million dollars. Do they have that much?
2.) All those stories about losing the family farm etc. because of the estate tax are being dredged up from god knows where, the majaority of estate taxes are being paid by people leaving millions and millions of dollars.
3.) They can just bite the bullet and have their heirs pay the taxes, or donate the majority of their assets to their favorite charities before they expire. Let's face it, you can't take it with you, but you can still decide who gets it. And in the end, if the government gets 30% it goes to shoring up the infrastructure that those super wealthy people used to the hilt during their time on earth.

Peace out, bro.

mariaelena de la Selva

Mike said...

Um, thanks?

Look, it's not that I can't support my arguments. It's that talking about diminishing marginal utility to a group that would cheerfully return us to an 18th century economy isn't my idea of a good time.