Originally Posted by unbelragazzo
What relevance did Adam Smith's views on progressive taxation have to the points you were making about clothing?
Actually, quite a direct relevance, given that the point I was making/extending was that a lot of the 'rules' to a large extent arbitrary and frivolous:
1) In discussing the necessities of life, he acknowledges that some of them are not a necessity in strictly physical sense, but the product of social class conventions that establish the "least common denominator" of dress expected by even the lowest classes --> meaning literally that, e.g. a Scottsman, would not be able to function socially without shoes.
2) Even with this broad definition of necesity, he identified the realm of "luxuries" (e.g. "accounterments" or maybe just lots and lots of shoes). Whatever that is, they are "non-essentials" - the nature does not require them for life, and custom doesn't render it "indecent" to not have them.
3) Taxes on consummable commodities (which are either "necessities" or "luxuries") are one form of taxation he considered particularly unjust, because it imposes greater tax burden on the poor who expend most of their income on "necessities", thus
4) He advocated progressive taxation on wages, but especially so on "rents" and "profits" which constitute the primary income of the rich (something that any semi-educated far right politician ought to remember before assuming that Adam Smith was a neoliberal - lol)
here is the actual continuation of the quote:
"The necessaries of life occasion the great expense of the poor. They find it difficult to get
food, and the greater part of their little revenue is spent in getting it. The luxuries and vanities of life
occasion the principal expense of the rich, and a magnificent house embellishes and sets off to the
best advantage all the other luxuries and vanities which they possess. A tax upon house-rents,
therefore, would in general fall heaviest upon the rich; and in this sort of inequality there would not,
perhaps, be anything very unreasonable. It is not very unreasonable that the rich should
contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more
than in that proportion."
5) although he obviously anticipated it, he probably could not envision the extent to which the tax burden is shifted on the middle class, not only through regressive taxation, but also through establishing unreasonable dress codes and expectations of "proper dress", which middle class schmucs have to meet from their ever dwindling salaries - in the process further enriching the retailers and designers peddling this shit. ==> while it is a sort of a parlour game at SF to whine about the poor state of business dress, in reality most large organizations have formal or informal dress codes, complience with which costs money, and non-compliance costs direct or indirect disciplinary action
6) SF is clearly populated with homies whose taxes are way, way, way too low (my own included)
(Hence, the cognitive dissonance. One day I will be free from this shit
)Edited by SamSpade - 8/15/12 at 3:54pm