Before the injustices in taxation systems can be remedied, we must analyze not just taxation itself, but also its motivation, spending. Government spending can be divided into four major categories.
- Primary spending – government spending directed towards specific persons or groups of persons due to a stated purpose of financial need. (e.g. food stamps, free/reduced lunch in schools, Medicaid, etc.)
- Secondary spending – government spending directed towards specific persons or groups of persons, but not because of financial need. (e.g. government grants or contracts, earmarks, Medicare, Social Security, etc.)
- Tertiary spending – government spending directed towards “the general Welfare” or society in general, not towards any particular person or group. (e.g. road building, consumer protection, police force funding, etc.) This is the type of spending, in general, that is used to guarantee rights for the people.
- Quaternary spending – government spending used for the government itself. (i.e. administrative costs) This is necessary in any government, to keep the system afloat and provide for the other purposes of government.
Again, many conservatives and libertarians have corrupted the debate on government spending. Instead of an issue of scale, whether the government should spend any money at all is apparently being contested. The magnitude of government spending may be debated, but its existence is morally sacrosanct, for the same reasons I outlined in Taxes, part one – spending is necessary to guarantee rights. Right-wing ideologues cry “No more government spending!”, searching for the moral high ground, without admitting the simple truth: under every government, even a conservative one, government spending is necessary. The differences are simply ones of scale. #