Who pays? Only the rich? You think so? Think again.

“Don’t tax me–tax that fellow behind the tree,” lamented U.S. Senator Russel B. Long.

“One of the biggest impacts of globalization has been the democratization of travel,” wrote Janan Ganesh in the editorial “The last days of the middle-class world citizen” on October 5, 2019, in the European edition of the Financial Times.

“You can’t have it all” sings ASH in their 2007 album, Twilight of the Innocents.

Life is filled with good choices. Which choice will you make? Which choice will be made for you?

Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, et. al. have plans. And spending plans.

AOC has a plan, a Green New Deal. And a spending plan.

There’s only so much money to go around, though, and the U.S. already has a trillion dollar deficit.

AOC’s plan gets push-back because it advocates a take-over by the government of major portions of the economy. That might be okay in China, but not in any western democracy, much less the U.S. That’s a choice the public probably won’t make.

Warren steadfastly refuses to say that her plan will require a middle class tax increase (Sanders is more truthful), relying on the promise of a net reduction in total income taxes and health costs. That’s part of the story.

Trillions in new spending and thus the need for trillions in new revenue. (Read: taxes, money paid directly to government, and money that comes indirectly by mandating behaviors that cost somebody something.) That’s a choice politicians will make and try to disguise.

“We’re going to take-on drug companies,” said by some during the debates to many listening, “ it’s outrageous that American consumers pay so much to them.” … “They made $100 billion in profit last year.” True. But they also paid taxes on the that $100 billion so if the profits are, say, $50 billion, who’s going to make up the lost tax revenue? You are. But that’s okay because money paid to the government is moral, while money paid to drug companies is a sin. Even if those companies funded the development of most drugs used today. Hate advertisements for drugs on TV? You’ll hate even more the government’s arbitrary decisions about what research gets funded and what doesn’t. If you ever even hear about it (see above).

And now back to Mr. Ganesh’s editorial: “The humbling of WeWork spreads to similarly modish companies. Recession and labour laws sap the valuations of Uber, Derliveroo and other services that lubricate urban life without turning a profit. Perhaps it ends their viability outright. At the same time, anguish about the climate changes leads to much higher taxation and even rationing of air travel… the froideur between Airbnb and tourist cities escalates until the firm is garroted in red tape.”

As Ganesh points out, choices make the difference. “Taxation of capital that lubricates Uber and others, the legal status of gig workers, how much of the true cost of air travel, or anything for that matter, is priced into the cost of it is a choice. And here’s an interesting point: It is not globalization per se that’s in trouble, it’s the democratization of it. It’s the person on the budget flight, bound for a cheap rental, via a bargain ride, who was the larger relative winners… There are days when the world seems to be made out of water, so little resistance does it offer. Dive in while you can.”

And along the way, please, please stop damaging the earth and water.

All the best,