Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Money-Free Taxation

Put in your percentage firsthand
  (+1, -8)(+1, -8)
(+1, -8)
  [vote for,

You've all heard that you work something like half the year to pay taxes before you start earning money for yourself. An alternative could be just to do that work for government directly instead.

You work (XX) percent of the week or month, 8 hrs a day, for the government doing what you're best suited to do for no money.

The advantage is that every last citizen can see firsthand and identify the waste, inefficiency, and needlessness of the sector they occupy. It'd be an enlightening glimpse into what your elected representives *say* is so important. And, since you have no vested interest in maintaining this income-free work, you'd be very inventive in ways to cut the fat, so you could spend more time making money at your regular job.

Oh, and you don't need H&R Block, either.

lumpy, Feb 26 2002

Sublimate http://www.dictiona.../search?q=sublimate
[angel, Feb 28 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Feudal Institutions http://www.ucalgary...dmiddle/feudal.html
Historic feudal institutions and obligations. [Aristotle, Oct 04 2004]


       I fear there's nowhere in the government to hide … my phone would still ring.
reensure, Feb 27 2002

       Really, Peter? I must admit I wasn't aware that there are countries where you don't pay your taxes with money.   

       Which ones and when?
lumpy, Feb 27 2002

       lumpy, H & R Block is a joke & 'Civil Servants' have extraordinary leeway in being able to do as bad a job as possible without being terminated.
thumbwax, Feb 27 2002

       // Which ones and when?

It used to be done in feudal societies to the landlord and to the church. Most people were too poor to pay taxes, so their dues were extracted in the form of work for the landlord, work for the church, or as military service. So yes - very baked.
mcscotland, Feb 27 2002

       And then it was realised that this unquantifiable labour exchange was simply a tool for oppression and sublimation of the poor so we got all democratic and allowed everyone to try to get a job which they could then find ways of avoiding paying their proper required amount of tax (which is possibly oppression/sublimation of the stupid who can't work out how to do that but who cares) and if you can't get a job we pay you anyway and if you're not stupid you can find lots of ways to get much more than you're entitled to. So basically the stupid always lose out. Anyone got a problem with that?
sappho, Feb 27 2002

       Depends on what you mean by stupid. I work fifty hours a week and end up paying 40% of my salary in income tax. The idle sit on their asses all day and not only pay nothing, but are paid (by me) to do it. I often wonder who the stupid ones are.
(Incidentally, I would have less of a problem with income tax if it were being used for the purpose for which it was introduced, namely waging war against France.)
angel, Feb 27 2002

       How do people who already work for the government benefit from this? Put in overtime?   

       Do you have any idea how many government jobs would need to be created to allow "every last citizen" to work off their taxes? We'd need a huge increase in taxation just to pay them.   

       Besides, the idea of taxation is to generate revenue for the government to spend/waste on whatever needs are due. Your solution takes away government revenue and leaves the coffers empty. Well, there's the solution to your jobs quandry - and the answer to how government workers benefit. They don't because they lose their jobs anyway.
waugsqueke, Feb 27 2002

       Waug, there would be no paid gov't workers. No vested interests. If you want to make money, you have to work in the private sector as well.   

       Perhaps some harder/riskier jobs would require less time, based on supply and demand.   

       Depending on the job, it might be better to work a percentage of 5 years, 1 year, 6mo, 1 mo, or 1 week, etc.   

       The thing I'm trying to figure out is how to do without money in every little gov't function. It's like they'd almost need their own little government society, which I'm not entirely sure would be the most efficient, but it ain't that efficient now, draining half the nations GDP.
lumpy, Feb 27 2002

       Sounds a bit like deprivatizing charities after they've collected their money. It's a phase most organizations go through, ¯lumpy. Churches and landlords were mentioned, as were menial labor corps (but not unions or pension funds) and governments generally. Look around and you'll see movement in this direction from local governments (you may not be able to take the money and run much longer) and electronic commerce heavyweights (sign up, and sign up often). I don't want to pay my taxes, thank you, but like ¯angel was saying, I don't want another job to help slick asses not pay theirs.
reensure, Feb 27 2002

       Reensure-- I don't understand your statements. I got a little lost with Sappho, too.
lumpy, Feb 27 2002

       Same here, [lumpy]. What I meant, [reensure], is that I object to paying a huge proportion of my *earned* income to subsidize people who not only don't work at all but have no intention of doing so.
angel, Feb 27 2002

       Pottedstu, I agree, as I annotated earlier, it's the trickiest part and would indeed require gov't to have a self-sufficient little society that gets raw materials if that's what it needs to build, for example, items of defense or roads.   

       Whatever it takes to keep the influence of money out of it. I don't know if there are any truly efficient alternatives.   

       Oh, also, no "moaning" was intended.
lumpy, Feb 27 2002

       Or sometimes less: UK VAT is currently charged at 17.5%.
calum, Feb 27 2002

       Yes, Peter, that may make this idea a WIBNI. Once gov't gets its tentacles in something, they never let go.   

       This idea would probably only be feasible in a brand new country, with constitutional mandates of such firsthand work for taxation exclusively.
lumpy, Feb 27 2002

       Two certainities as we all know. At least we have the option of how and when to paythe taxes. Of course you can avoid the taxes by not working or earning, but then the second certainity comes into play from lack of food.
rbl, Feb 28 2002

       Not in UK, [rbl]. As I mentioned, non-working people are subsidized by working people. Why do you think we have so many "asylum seekers"? It's because we also have a fail-safe social security system.
angel, Feb 28 2002

       //non-working people are subsidized by working people

Not all non-working people angel. I've been unemployed twice, and neither time (to my considerable surprise) have I been eligable for the dole.
mcscotland, Feb 28 2002

       //You work (XX) percent of the week or month, 8 hrs a day, for the government//

If only the government spent as much time working for me, I'd be quite happy to pay tax. As things stand at the moment though, tax is just thinly disguised protection money. Under the current system at least I can choose (within limits) how and where to spend my time whilst I earn enough to pay the tax bill. If this idea were to be implemented then even my time would not be my own. Big, smelly fish carcass for you, I'm afraid, lumpy.
DrBob, Feb 28 2002

       //sublimation of the poor// (from sappho's anno) - What, the poor pass directly from a solid to a gaseous state? Or did you mean subjugation?
hippo, Feb 28 2002

       [hippo]: (linky) (But also amusing.)
angel, Feb 28 2002

       Yep, Dr. Bob, that is a definite disadvantage. Although, as I mentioned in an annotation, perhaps a gov't job market, much like a stock market, could be established, allowing you to choose different work for either an increase or decrease in your tax percentage, so at least in that way, some choice would exist.
lumpy, Feb 28 2002

       ooh sorry, I meant subjugate, of course. And for whoever got confused, and for use of the word stupid - sorry too. I don't really know what I was going on about [never (yet) having been unemployed for more than a week and never (yet) having earned enough to pay tax, only N.I.] so I should just shut up and count my blessings I suppose. For what it's worth, in principle I would be very happy to go to a Swedish structure of tax. My dad says "that's what they all say until they have to pay their 50%"
sappho, Feb 28 2002

       As a collegiate, I read a bit of research on the economics of government (or, the relative advantage that government offers its constituents over their collective efforts) and was surprised to find that government does not offer an economic advantage over either free enterprise or your individual effort. Read as written, the chief stipulation of the research is that (all else being equal) government spending is without peer in wastefulness. The characteristics of regulatory encumberment, oversight/review, bid outs, and inefficient application of time make a government-run effort a more costly undertaking than one conceived of and implemented by those expecting to directly benefit from the outcome.   

       I'm sure this is too narrow a topic to find a good link, so I'll not bother. If you're interested in implementing what you're speaking of, ¯lumpy, run for office and send your salary to decrease the national debt. That one individual choice, made 1000 times by some US government officials, would probably eliminate the cost of a study to find enough elasticity in the DC payroll for a government service provider's excise tax.
reensure, Feb 28 2002

       Effectively baked also in (some) ancient Greek poleis, as well. The N richest citizens of the city would be tapped to perform the functions of government, with the functions assigned at random (but IIRC they could trade them around or hire them out entirely if they wanted). For example, one year you might end up in charge of the navy. You would be responsible for the whole thing --- buying ships, paying or feeding the people, keeping the navy trained, commanding it...
wiml, Mar 01 2002

       //'government spending is without peer in wastefulness.'//
Colour me stunned!
angel, Mar 01 2002

       There's a problem with this: In the U.S, if you take the Federal Budget divided by the # of households in the US; then add your state's budget divided over the number of homes in your state; then add in the county, city, burough or town amounts the same way; there aren't enough hours in the week to pay off that kind of figure.
blainez, Mar 01 2002

       Blainez, that doesn't make sense. It's the equivalent of saying the government takes in more than we produce as a nation.   

       Am I misunderstanding you?
lumpy, Mar 01 2002

       reensure - you just said the reasoning behind the privatised UK railways so i think its safe to say that nearly anything that has even a tiny connection to the government will get f***ed right up   

       blainez - it looks like you are counting the same numbers twice - logically shouldnt the federal budget give some to the states and the states some to the towns etc
chud, Mar 03 2002

       People would do crap work for the government and then work really hard for themselves, so the supposed 40 percent of their income going to the government would be more like 10 percent of their actual work.
horripilation, Nov 11 2002

       Croissant, but only because of the third paragraph about citizens seeing government waste first hand. Fun to read, but it's not something I would be in favor of in practice.
Jezzie, May 29 2003

       This only works if you'd earn exactly the same rate with the government.   

       If you earn more than the civil service, you'd effectively pay less tax.   

       If you earn less than the civil service, you'd be better off quitting to work for the government.   

       You should just cheat on your deductions like 90% of the rest of society.
FloridaManatee, May 30 2003

       This is all a bit feudal [see link] and becomes more so in countries where conscription still exists.   

       Note that in feudal times you could commonly pay to avoid your feudal obligations, which in this case would be paying your regular taxes.
Aristotle, May 30 2003

       Do not Civil Servants also currently pay tax? If so, would you, while working for the government to pay the tax due on your private sector job, be generating hours of work that would then be taxed by making you work additional hours? Depending of course on the value of the services you performed for the government.
TitaniumZ, May 30 2003

       Money-free taxation? Sounds like you are saying you want to pay taxes, but you don't want money. That is a very strange idea, lumpy. How about: Stop using money AND stop paying taxes. Move to a deserted island, build a grass hut, eat bananas and stuff, and don't establish a government! Your "Job" will be "staying alive"; I wonder... if you can do it more efficiently than governments do it.
mr2560, May 30 2003

       2 reasons this is a wholey baked idea. (2 halves make a whole).   

       1)The richest person should (not) pay the most. So that person would be in the job of being the highest non-payed. Perhaps president? [or the P.M for you Brits :) ]. So we have the most economically powerful making policy. Think they could do that without making biased decisions? (wait that's how it is almost done here in the U.S. already.)   

       2) What pay scale would I be on? What I get payed at my job or some Unionized overinflated payrate?   

       What a scary thought, Goverment run fast food joints. (some people aren't good at anything but flipping burgers)
flipmstr2, Jul 25 2003


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