State and Local Politics
Qualities of a Good Tax
Taxation is a necessity if any government that does not have substantial resources is to run its affairs well. On a global scale, only oil-rich nations are known not to impose tax on its citizens. Taxation is the major source of revenue for the majority of the governments and is used to fund the government’s budget. Taxation differs from country to country in terms of rates and the commodity or service taxed. There are nations that impose heavy taxation rates on their residents while there are those that have very low tax rates.
One of the qualities that a good tax ought to have is the quality of certainty. Tax rates ought to be definite and constant. This will ensure that concerned persons can plan their budgets well in advance with clear knowledge of the legal requirements that are due. When the taxes do not have certainty, they end up becoming ineffective. This is because the deductions, subsidies, and tax credits end up influencing the behavioral patterns of individuals. Of all the world taxation systems, that which is employed in the United States of America is considered the most uncertain (Magleby, & Light, & Nemacheck, 2011).
Another quality of a good taxation is that it ought to be fair. A nation that exhibits a very low economy ought not to impose heavy taxation rates on its citizens. This also goes to the extent that people that are poor ought not to be laid with the same tax burden as the rich. In many nations, the amount of tax that a person owes to the government is proportional to the individual’s income. Those who earn more are thereby expected to pay more tax whereas those who are poor are expected to pay less. This gives a sense of fairness because it is also believed that the rich end up enjoying most of the nation’s recourses.
Another quality of a good tax is that it ought to be convenient and reasonable. This means that it should not be dealt in such a way that the citizens find it hard or too stringent to abide in. The taxpayers ought not to be put in a situation where they incur a great cost in time and effort in trying to meet the legal requirements. There are measures that have been set in place to ensure that the taxpayers do not strain in meeting the demands of taxation. This has been made possible through the introduction of the internet where taxpayers calculate what they owe and pay up without having to endure long queues. The sales taxes are also made convenient where the price of purchase is inclusive of the taxes to be charged for the commodity. The business then pays up the accrued taxes to the government (Robert, 2011).
The Spoils System
Normally, this tried and tested system requires demanding positions contested by many candidates ought to be given on merit. This means that the most qualified persons from those willing to take up the task ought to be chosen. This is what led to the setting up of interviews and vetting boards to ensure that those who are awarded with such positions are persons of integrity and they are qualified and able to carry out the responsibilities successfully with utmost professionalism. However, in the realm of politics, this principle has failed to be observed. This is because many politicians opt to follow the spoils system (Bernard, 2009).
After careful research, I find that with the spoils system, politicians opt to award certain positions to persons not in terms of merit but as a form of rewarding those who have been loyal to them. In this way, the politicians get to lock out those whom they perceive as enemies and surround themselves with those they term as allies. Although the act is deemed as unethical by most, it is an official and accepted code of conduct in the politics of the United States of America (Sercombe, 2010).
I personally believe that this system has its own benefits and flaws. The first benefit is that the politicians get to lock out the individuals that they deem as rivals. The offices could be held by persons who were against the politicians in their ascension into power. These positions are later awarded to persons who were in support who have been loyal the politician. In this way, the politician gets to lock out rivals and bring in loyalists, and in so doing, the politician gets to surround himself with individuals who are on his side. Another advantage is that the politician is able to push through his policies with minimal hindrances. However, I believe the system is flawed because it could lead to unqualified persons being given decision-making positions. This means that they will end up abusing these offices and underperforming at the expense of the taxpayers.
Bernard, G. S. (2009). Civil Service Reform versus the Spoils System. New York, NY: Books LLC.
Magleby, D. B., & Light, P., & Nemacheck, C. (2011). State and Local Politics: Government by the People. North York: Pearson Education Canada.
Robert, S. (2001). State and Local Politics: The Great Entanglement, 6th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Sercombe, W. (2010). The Spoils System. San Antonio, TX: BiblioBazaar.