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A Taxing Problem


The bosses have tried every imaginable remedy for the crisis. To no avail. Now they hope to find a lever to raise their profits by lowering taxes. The campaign to lower taxes has swept the bourgeois world like wildfire. Through every avenue at their command the capitalists and the landlords are clamoring for economy in government. They want “cheap government” and the support of the working class to force a curtailment of expenses. We workers are robbed as producers, robbed of the surplus labor, of the surplus value which the capitalist divide among themselves as profits, rent, interest and to pay their office boys’ (government) and for the gangster racketeers who rob the robbers.

The government (the state) operates for the benefit of the capitalists,  owners of the basic means of production and circulation of all commodities and wealth. Government functions through an army of administrators and officials who must be supported. Taxation is the general method by which capitalists collect State revenues to keep the State going. Under the modern development of capitalism, however, the State has been impelled to undertake large economic tasks which private capitalists may not be able to do, such as the welfare  provisions for the young and old,  the sick and the infirm, and those unable to work, as well as construction of transport infrastructure and communications networks, research and development projects, and, of course, defence which all call for large expenditures to be met by taxation. The government is often placed under huge debts by the capitalists so that heavy interest rates have to be paid through taxation. Taxes can assume many forms and without taxes the State could not maintain itself. Modern capitalism has also requires adequate housing, sanitation, health, and educational facilities. For this the State must impose and collect tax.

But on whom can the tax be levied? It is clear that taxes can be paid only by those who have the wherewithal to pay them. Taxes, on the whole, must be paid by the propertied classes, by the big and the small bourgeoisie who are divided into many sub-sections each one trying to throw the weight of taxation onto the others. Hence a bitter fight arises over which sections of the capitalist class shall have the dominant voice in the taxation process. A myriad of ways are found to minimize the effects or to avoid taxation by the various groups, including: tricks of omissions evasion and avoidance, exceptions, exemptions, rebates, preferences, tariff arrangements, subsidies, etc.. One thing capitalism cannot do is kill the goose that lays the golden egg; it must not destroy by taxation the overall production or productive development of the country. Since capitalism is the structure of a country’s economic strength and power, the State must not hamper too greatly that growth by taxation.

The level and items of expenditure needed to pay for the consumption for the replenishment of lost labour power naturally can and does vary regionally and nationally and according to individual and family needs. Each people or group maintains an historic standard of living often differing markedly since a worker may replenish his labour power by consuming meat, fish, wheat, milk, beer, and vegetables, etc., or by consuming beans, bananas, and water. Within certain limits the workers’ living standards can be driven lower and lower and yet suffice to replenish the lost labour power expended in the production process. The worker must be eternally vigilant to defend his or her historic standards. Workers must continue to ensure the burden of taxation falls onto the wealthy classes and does not adversely affecting the workers’ cost of living. 

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