Tax and Conversation


1. Tax and Conversation. What is tax? Fee for government service.
2. My name’s Alex Linsker. I’m a community organizer. I get different groups of people working together on things they think are impossible. I started Collective Agency, the cooperative workplace in Old Town. We did a strange thing: there’s a Constitution, I was term limited to a year, so I’m no longer running it and I have zero control but I’m receiving profit-sharing, which is nice. Fitz Ryland was elected and is the main organizer there. My next project is tax in Oregon.
3. Why tax? The other projects I thought about doing: something for healthcare, opening more workplaces, education… tax is getting in the way of all of them. And when you start to look at tax, which isn’t just money but is services, it becomes fun and fascinating, we can do something about it.
4. I’m starting a lobbying group for higher taxes. What is tax? Fee for government services. Money in, and outcomes/results for people. We say we want a progressive tax curve, but we have the opposite, with all the tax breaks. I’m doing an Oregon constitutional amendment to get what we want.
5. There are three kinds of tax. Income tax, property tax, sin tax. Everything else fits into that.
6. Income tax. Do you think capital gains should be taxed as regular income? Do you think the profit from corporations after expenses should be taxed as regular income? What tax breaks if any do you support?
7. A Nobel Prize-winning economist and another economist have shown that a top income rate of between 50 and 70 percent on people making more than 4 million per year is best for the economy. That includes capital gains and all other income tax, with no tax breaks. Best for the economy, best for jobs, best for goodwill.
8. The Oregon Department of Revenue reports that 1.4 billion per year isn’t paid, mostly because taxpayers don’t know they owe it because the tax law is too complicated. That’s what the Oregon Dept of Revenue says.
9. When we hear talk about there not being enough money, debt, etc., have you looked to see why not? I’ve started looking. There is 15 billion each year in tax breaks in Oregon. 1.5 billion of that is needed for basic services. 1/10th of the tax breaks gets us the stuff we talk about wanting. We have the money.
10. What services do we want governments in Oregon to provide?
11. Transportation. Communication. Utilities.
12. Education.
13. Health.
14. Vision of government. Checks and balances.
15. Regulation. Law. Safety. Defense.
17. WPA.
18. I’m starting a lobbying group to get this to happen, where members pay a membership fee: 1% of income if you make less than $25,000 per year, up to 5% of income if you make $4 million or more per year. Why get involved?
19. [graph of top marginal tax curve] This is the income tax curve paid by the richest people before tax breaks, from 1913 to now, with 55% correlation. If things continue as they are, millionaires will pay no taxes at all, and poor people will pay for rich people.
20. There’s more than enough money, if we choose to do something with it for the greater good, for government services, for us as people who live in Oregon and can have a role deciding what tax curve we want to pay, what services we want, and getting an Oregon constitutional amendment through a cooperative group with 40,000 members.

Alex Linsker

Affiliation Community Organizer

Alex Linsker is a community organizer. He started “Collective Agency” the shared workplace in Old Town where members pay rent based on income with a variety of people and activities. His next project is tax in Oregon.