Paying Taxes Is More Popular Than You Think (Episode 41)

Paying Taxes Is More Popular Than You Think (Episode 41)

Date: 8 Mar 2018 | posted in: Building Local Power | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Taxes, like death, are inevitable. However, that conception of taxes doesn’t reflect how the majority of Americans view their relationship to their local, state, and federal government taxes. Vanessa Williamson, a scholar at the Brookings Institution sits down with Building Local Power host and Community Broadband Networks initiative director Christopher Mitchell to talk about her new book, Read My Lips: Why Americans Are Proud to Pay Taxes.

Williamson argues during the heart of this podcast; “I think that it is good for Americans to think about taxes as the part of their labor that they contribute to the public good. I think that is a powerful way thinking, you have to remember everyone else is chipping in too.”

 The pair delve into some of the most contentious issues around taxes, including: how, oftentimes, we are only hearing from the most extreme voices on taxes; how a majority of American view tax paying as a responsibility for being an American citizen; and how the relationship between taxpaying status and perceived ‘worth’ in American society operates.
Photo Courtesy of Brookings Institution

“[T]he problems that we face as a country come from a shortage of democracy, a shortage of deliberative deep democracy as opposed to a problem of people participating too much,” says Vanessa Williamson, scholar at the Brookings Institution of the issues we’re tackling as a country.

“To the extent that we are experimenting with new ways to engage people in the politics genuinely does shape their lives, I think it’s worth trying.”

View a full transcript of the conversation here.


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Related Resources:

Podcast: The Dark Store Tax Dodge of Big-Box Retailers — This first episode of the Building Local Power details how big box stores across America are dodging taxes by bilking local governments to develop their giant stores and even bigger parking lots.

Institute for Local Self-Reliance: “Tax” Tag — All of the stories tagged with “tax” on our website details the relationship that taxes — whether property, sales, income, state — play in economies and with giant firms. Get the latest information on taxes in retail, broadband, energy, and waste stream issues. “Property Tax” Tag — This tag on the site details the how communities looking to invest in municipal fiber networks utilize local property taxes — or not — to build out that infrastructure.

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Full transcript of podcast is available here.


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Audio Credit: Funk Interlude by Dysfunction_AL Ft: Fourstones – Scomber (Bonus Track). Copyright 2016 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial (3.0) license.

Photo Credit: 401(K) 2012 via Flickr (CC 2.0).

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Nick Stumo-Langer
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Nick Stumo-Langer

Nick Stumo-Langer is Communications Manager at ILSR working for all five initiatives. He runs ILSR's Facebook and Twitter profiles and builds relationships with reporters. He is an alumnus of St. Olaf College and animated by the concerns of monopoly power across our economy.