Vermont is No. 1-for tax burdens

The best quote, in my opinion, comes from 18th century Scottish professor Alexander Tyler: "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they vote themselves largesse from the public treasury..." or to be more precise the majority legally placing the monetary burden on the minority, who, of course, will eventually flee or resist. Think California's past experience with the pattern of upper-income real-taxpayer flight, one which Vermont is poised to repeat.

A similar quote comes from 19th-century French commentator on all things American, Alexis de Tocqueville: "A democratic government is the only one in which those who vote for a tax increase can escape the obligation to pay for it"; it's an eerily apt description of the design intent of Acts 60 and 68.

It's probable, maybe not proveable, that Vermont wouldn't be No. 1 in the nation for tax burden if it weren't for its highly 'progressive tax system, in which the majority votes for the minority to pay the costs of various free goodies.

At the national level, it's widely documented that over half-the dominant voting majority-of all citizens are tax-exempt, voting for benefits they don't help pay for; the rebuttal of these non-taxpayers is that they pay FICA "taxes", which, of course, are better described as personal retirement insurance premiums: within broad limits, what you pay in determines what you eventually are paid out.

As a 2006 Tax Foundation study (which shows, for example, that 66 percent of household 1040 filers pay no tax) drily observes, non-paying majorities are "indifferent or will positively oppose" tax reform, just as Alexander Tyler predicted. The solution to the representation-without-taxation (R-W-T) problem is as obvious as it is unachievable: that everyone pay at least a token tax amount for the government services they want. Skin in the game, you might say.

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