There’s a German study that was published that will likely find its way to U.S. Democrats and some Republicans. It claims to have found that people who pay more taxes are happier than those who pay less.
The research spanned 26 years, during which time 25,000 Germans were asked the question, “How satisfied are you with your life, all things considered?” The demographics tied to each respondent’s answer were things such as income, age, education and other variables. The research concluded that those who paid higher taxes reported “higher levels of happiness.” The Wall Street Journal explored reasons for such a phenomenon:
“One reason could be that people enjoy the public goods and services made possible by taxes. For example, German households who regularly attended cultural events such as concerts and plays, which are at least partially publicly funded in Germany, were happier to pay taxes than ‘inactive’ households. Other possible factors include a sense that redistributing wealth is necessary, altruism, and a measure of ‘tax morale,’ the sense that there is a ‘moral obligation to pay taxes and if you don’t do it, you might feel bad about it,’ co-author Sebastian Siegloch, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Cologne, said in an interview Wednesday.”
I can think of another possible reason. What’s that old saying? Ignorance is bliss. If this study is truly representative of what people think in Germany, that wealth redistribution is necessary, and paying more in taxes makes them feel “altruistic,” that tells me they don’t know what they’re doing. They’re happy living in socialism. Ignorant, but happy.
But, there’s something else. I think this “study” is completely stupid. I imagine if these same panel of experts asked me how satisfied I was with my life, all things considered, I would tell them “very satisfied.” Their question doesn’t address whether or not I’m ok with our tax system. It just asks if I’m happy. They’re two totally different things.
I can honestly say that I’m happier now than I was 4 years ago, and that’s in spite of Obama and in spite of taxes. There are many factors affecting our level of “happiness,” and there are other sources of happiness. I have a wife and kids and family and friends. I’m grateful knowing that I have a place to live and can work a couple jobs. But that hardly means I’m ok with wealth redistribution. It doesn’t mean that I think it’s selfless of me to allow the government to take from me what it deems my “fair share.” I have no choice in the matter.
There’s another facet here. Many in America are on some kind of welfare: government housing, government healthcare, food stamps, straight welfare or all of the above. Many of them pay little or no taxes. I would guess if they were posited the same question about being satisfied with their lives, they would respond that they’re not satisfied.
Consider the worst case scenario: living in a government house, getting food stamps to buy smokes and liquor, receiving welfare checks every month, not working, not paying taxes. If I were in that situation, I would completely miserable, and I wouldn’t be paying any taxes. Then this “study” would confirm that those that paid little or no taxes were not happy with their lives, suggesting that the converse was also true.
The study is stupid, but I wouldn’t be surprised if politicians and media started referring to it to justify more socialism.