That’s right. The state has to tax you into poverty, so it can pay for your jail time when you’re forced to steal to make ends meet — The state has to hurt you so it can help you when it hurts you and forces you to hurt the state.
I’ve never seen a state “tax someone into poverty”. Depending on the state, California for example, taxation is progressive. A person who makes $10K a year isn’t getting taxed, and is likely getting money back. A person who makes $100K a year is getting taxed a percentage of their income but it’s not enough to make them poverty stricken. Opinions are fine, but when making a statement facts are useful.
I think it would mostly be edge cases that get, as they say, taxed into poverty… but it can happen in those edge cases. Example of one such edge case (a real one) would be someone w/ about 5K per year in income (yeah, half your 1st example), and then losing about a third of that to taxes and tax prep – due to flat taxes that don’t take into account how much one earns and that often free or low-cost tax prep is not available to those with complicating factors… in that specific case, self-employment means (flat) small business taxes.
The problem seems to me to be, more often than directed malice Ben assumes, a certain inflexibility or lack of foresight that happens when several factors (often unusual edge cases themselves) to play off each other in ways that make problems greater than the sum of their parts.
Taxing you into poverty only happens because idiots insist progressive taxation – taxing you proportionally more if you have more – is somehow wrong, rather than the only rational solution to people having needs they need to meet.