Pizza and Politics Discusses Taxes

Posted: December 06, 2019 | Author: Tiago Rodrigues da Costa | Read Time: 2 minutes

For the last Pizza and Politics of the semester, student fellows Tyler Barber and Kaya Houskeeper led a discussion on taxes. Those who came in participated in a balanced and positive discussion about a topic that many may see as boring and the Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service ended the year on a good note. 

Being the United States of America a capitalist and free-market society, it would be expected that sub-topics like the sin taxes would promote discussion. Sin taxes are taxes that are attributed to goods and services according to multiple reasons like public health or economic interests. For example, tobacco or alcohol.

Some students agreed it’s good for some goods to be controlled, but this wasn’t a clear agreement. The goods and services chosen to be taxed are not of everyone’s agreement. One may think alcohol should get higher taxes, but others don’t. Other students believed that higher taxation would motivate people either way. 

The discussion progressed and students talked about different types of taxation. The progressive, regressive and proportional taxation systems brought different views to an already complex topic. The Progressive system dictates that a larger percentage gets taxed from higher income groups, the Regressive system taxes a larger percentage of income from low-income groups, and the Proportional system sets that taxation is proportional in both lower and higher classes.

The majority of the students agreed that although progressive taxation may sound fair for low-income families, probably the best option would be the proportional one. That way, for the same percentage, the poorest pay less and the richest pay more. Some students said the rich always have more power and they should get taxed at a different level.

In relation to taxation, another important exercise to do is to compare home taxation with taxation in other countries. While talking about taxes, Northern European countries like Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Iceland always show up as the highest with their tax rates between about 55% and 45%. It’s thanks to this system that most of these countries are able to provide free healthcare, free education and overall quality of life. However, some students said the contexts in the States and Europe are different, and most of these typical socialist policies wouldn’t work in the United States, because it’s a bigger country and it would be harder to people to better track those who with more social benefits would take advantage of the system.

The Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service hosts Pizza & Politics every Wednesday at noon to discuss current political and social topics. Students at the Leavitt Center research, present, and moderate the discussions. These discussions are aimed to expose the student community to a variety of important issues and encourage them to share their own perspectives while learning the other sides as well. Free pizza is provided for all attending P&P. 

Tags: Leavitt Center

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