Earlier this week, Warren Buffett called bs on the Republican meme that raising taxes on deca-millionaires and billionaires will clobber the economy.His argument was persuasive–because raising taxes on billionaires won’t hurt the economy.
Today, in a statement published at the National Review, another billionaire weighs in on the tax issue—Charles Koch.
Koch doesn’t dispute Buffett’s contention that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary and that he could afford to pay a lot more. He also doesn’t argue (thankfully) that higher taxes would remove his incentive to invest and create jobs.
What Koch does do is cite the “massive uncontrolled increase in government spending” of the last several years, This, too, is a flawed (or at least incomplete) argument: Government spending has been exploding for the past 11 years, not just the past “several.”
But then, more persuasively, Koch invokes a sentiment lots of reasonable people will relate to: He suggests that he can spend his money more wisely than the government can:
“Much of what the government spends money on does more harm than good; this is particularly true over the past several years with the massive uncontrolled increase in government spending. I believe my business and non-profit investments are much more beneficial to societal well-being than sending more money to Washington.
Obviously, “who should pay taxes” and “how much should the government spend” are two different questions. And there are also services–military, education, police, judicial system, etc.–that the private economy is simply unsuited to providing. But, beyond that, there is certainly room for reasonable people to argue about what services government should provide whether government is the best and most efficient way to provide them.