First off, let me point out that most of the people who say they'd gladly pay higher taxes if they made twice as much money are really saying they want those people who make twice as much as they do to pay higher taxes. If they were actually making that much, they wouldn't say that. They'd still say that people making twice as much of them should pay a higher tax burden though. That's the consistency here, not that people are willing to trade one for the other.
More on that here:
My point is that if paying more taxes was the only condition for a substantial pay raise, people would jump all over it.
"We're going to double your salary. This will take you beyond the EIC level, and due to the increased taxes it will not actually double your take home pay check. However, you'll go from about $1200 a month in take home pay, to about $2000 in take home pay."
"So wait, I'll lose an extra $400 a month to more taxes? That's four thousand dollars more in a year!
"You'll also lose other tax benefits at tax time. But in exchange, you'll get getting $800 more each month and you won't have to do anything you aren't already doing."
Sane response: "I'll take it."
Grover Norquist Reponse: "I'll take less money rather than pay another penny in taxes!"
False Dilemma. Earning more money is never directly contingent on paying higher taxes. Your boss will never walk up to you and offer you that deal. Your pay is based on the value of your labor to your employer (subject to labor competition of course). So the real dilemma isn't between earning $40k and paying X% taxes or earning $80k and paying 2X% taxes. The dilemma is between earning $80k and paying X% in taxes, or earning $80k and paying 2X% taxes.
And in that choice everyone would rather pay less, right?
The conservative dream, that everyone makes more money and therefore the tax revenue issue will eventually take care of itself, is actually at odds with the conservative argument that the poorest people aren't paying enough in taxes.
I think you're missing the motivation involved though. Conservatives don't want poor people to pay higher taxes for the sake of hurting the poor, or because we think that's a better way to collect more tax revenue. Conservatives want the government to limit itself in terms of what it does (small government). One tool to accomplish this is to limit the funds it has to work with. Conservatives recognize that if too many people are not taking part in paying the taxes that provide those funds, then it becomes harder to get people to vote to support lower taxes in total.
We don't want to "raise taxes on the poor". We want to ensure that everyone in society pays taxes so that they'll be less likely to allow them to be raised over time. In the long run, this results in lower taxes across the board. Ironically, the policies which are sold to the poor (and lets face it we're talking more about working and lower middle class income ranges here too) actually result in them suffering more negatives over time as they end out working against their own interests in the long run.
To put it back in the terms you used earlier: If you present someone with an immediate choice between paying more or paying less, they'll choose paying less every time. The difference is that conservatives want to use that truism to reduce the burden of government on the people, while liberals want to increase that burden. While today you'll happily accept lower tax rates which result in you paying no taxes, and you'll happily accept increased benefits from the government, sometime "tomorrow" you'll pay for that in decreased job opportunities, decreased potential pay over your lifetime, and eventually increased taxes on yourself or your children anyway when "the rich" is no longer a large enough segment of the population to pay for all the things the government has promised to the people.
But when that happens, possibly even taking a few generations, it'll be too late for those at that time to go back in time and undo those decisions. That's why it's important for us to be responsible now and work to avoid that situation down the line.
If they were able to make more money, of course they'd be paying more in taxes. But as long as the high wage jobs are bleeding overseas or getting replaced by robots, the lowest wage earners will never make enough to pay more in taxes. That's why I'm for punitive taxation for corporations who aren't doing their best to keep jobs in America. You want to ship your furniture factory to China because they'll make a dresser for twenty bucks plus the cost of parts, whereas in the US we ask for $200? Okay fine, you do that, but we're adding a 25% tax on top of each piece you sell to make up for the lost wages you're costing America.
Do you understand that this not only does not work and will not work but it is the exact reason why those companies offshore their operations in the first place (well, one of the major contributing factors anyway). What do you think happens when you do that? The company will simply move all of its business offshore instead of just a factory or three. Then you lose all the tax revenue.
What you're talking about is one of those ideas that sounds really great at first glance, but if you think through, is a disaster waiting to happen.
Shoes had such a tariff for the last century. $5 a pair for every pair of shoes imported to America. Unfortunately, the tariff rate didn't actually increase with inflation, and in the last fifty years it still became cheaper to outsource shoes to Indonesia. (This is why Made in America walmart shoes are the only ones that can be sold for like three bucks.)
Um... Tariffs like that don't have anything to do with tax revenue though. I think that's the problem here. You're conflating two (several?) completely different issues into one. The first question is how much we should spend at the federal level. The next question is how much taxes we should raise to pay for that spending. Then we ask how we should collect those taxes so that they least harm the economy.
Liberals seem to want to do that backwards. They start with ideas of who should pay the most first. Then they fight to raise taxes on those they feel should pay more and lower them on those they feel should pay less. Then they adjust the exact resulting rates based on how much money they want to collect. Then they go out and spend the money they collected. It's a bad approach since there is no break in the system.