We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Tuesday, April 17. 2007
Besides the endlessly annoying and murderous Jihadists, America's biggest problem is this, as described in the CSM: 1 in 2 Americans now receive income from government programs.
Getting past that magic 50% has been the goal of Leftists since the 1930s. Why? Because the recipients vote. And if you add up the numbers who receive program money, the number of govt employees, and the number receiving major non-income benefits (like Medicare), you have a heck a a big number getting at least part of their living from the government teat - meaning from their neighbors' labor.
Incrementally, inch by inch, the American habits of self-sufficiency, resourcefulness, and independence have been whittled away to the point that many people are no longer ashamed to take the money of strangers. Indeed, to the point that they feel "entitled" to it, which I suspect is a psychological maneuver to deny the humbling reality that they are receiving charity. Social Security made it seem OK to older folk by concealing the fact that it was their kids who were paying them the money.
Fortunately, there are still large islands of folks who do their best to pursue the American ideals. The problem is that they are getting stuck paying the bills for the other half. As the population ages and people breed less, that ratio will get worse, and the "two Americas" will begin feeling like the givers and the takers.
That is not a good foundation for a culture or a civilization.
I see that our friend Coyote was thinking along the same lines, but mainly from the standpoint of taxation. As he notes in his piece A Nation of Slaveholders:
A further comment from The Barrister:
I am sure that Coyote's metaphor was intentionally hyperbolic, but his point is correct. Furthermore, I believe that the only way to eliminate the division between the donors and the recipients is a flat tax, so that everyone can be a full participant in the American enterprise: all in the same boat.
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I did Oregon state taxes today. I don't live in Oregon, but I work there. So I have to pay taxes on that income to Oregon. It's truly taxation without representation. At any rate, they owe me a refund. I'll get to pay that out to catch up my property taxes.
I managed to save about a thousand last year which turned out to be about how much additional money I owed the Federal government in taxes. I'd be happy to go out and spend some money on things I could really use. But everyone else seems to have more need of what I make.
I like the fair tax better (www.fairtax.org). It rewards saving and taxes consumption by imposing a sales tax with a rebate for minimum living expenses. Plus, illegals would pay more taxes under the fair tax plan, and presumably would not get the rebate. The only pitfall under either plan is that state income and sales taxes could end up being onerous if not likewise reformed.
I think that this would attract more foreign capital and corporations to this country, and could be the answer to the question of how the US will compete in the global economy. We will compete by becoming a place where you can keep what you make, and be taxed on only what you spend. Do we want the Halliburtons of the world and all their jobs here or in Dubai?
You can let the voters take care of the state and local. That fair tax is another OK approach, but I suspect it would lead to a huge underground economy.
Flat tax would unleash such an economic boom, we wouldn't believe our good fortune. Like all things that are truly 'right', it's 'right' on every front.
Bear in mind that it’s the highest marginal tax rate that has the most inhibiting effect on economic growth. And right now the highest is the corporate rate which is running at around 40 percent (Fed plus state.) That’s the one to cut.
Incidentally, recent studies by Kevin Hassett and others show that not only would slashing the corporate rate result in making the U.S. more competitive, and attract more investment to our shores (as it has done with remarkable success in Ireland and Eastern Europe), but it would actually result in higher wages for American workers. This would help ameliorate the wage inequality problem because the tax savings would go roughly 70 percent to workers and 30 percent to shareholders.
What are we waiting for?
--from Larry Kudlow @
IOW, if we can't reform to a flat or a fair tax, we could at least guide newly-created value along its most efficient, beneficial, path.
The problem is not in the understanding of the effects of tax policy, the problem is that the Democrats have a vested interest in as exploitable a conflict as possible between capital & labor.
IOW, "hands off our poor people!"
In the abstract I don't mind paying taxes. My fair share and all that. As long as it is not Zakat.
I actually feel privileged to be able to support my country.
This pronouncement may cause consternation here.
But, I imagine, at least half and probably more, of my contribution is wasted through bureaucratic ineptness.
Flat tax is appealing, though I have not studied it intensely. I like the idea, take 25 percent, allocate it as you like, federal, state, county, city, property and arrragggg-school districts. I don't mind the last, just that I see so much waste and so little result.
Just spent five days with no phone, no internet, no newspaper. Conflicting feelings on how that was. Ridiculous that it is even a passing thought. Less is more and all that. But, my name is Luther, I am an addict. I missed you all.
Do I have a problem :-)
yep. paying taxes is an honor to citizenship. The beef is in the details--so much more could be done with so much less, if the gov't wasn't a jobs program for one, going on two, parties.
Weather get yer electrical, Luther?
Nah BL, just the humdrum, vacation in Puerto Penasco.
It is the details that make one cringe. That fifty percent number is a scary thing. Hard too get'm off once they're on the teat. Having been there and been tempted to last it out for the retirement bennies. Just could not overcome my distaste for the mediocre and left. And, sorry. I do not mean to paint with to broad a brush, many honorable and honest serve this country. They are just overwhelmed by the rest.
Funny how the libs always want equality, cept when it comes to taxes. Never considering a poor man may be poor for a reason. Self induced and not societal/culturally caused. Always the white man's fault I guess.
yep, lots of fine folks in civil service --but the same work done private would have but a small fraction of underproducers, rather than say half the workforce.
Reason? got to create value, rather than just lay up behind the laws and watch the money flow in over the transom.
Forgot to add BL, good job over there at RLS's. You have way more patience with 'm' than I do.
Ha --thanks. Poor boy, he's got the bug, bad.
Penasco, that's where they watch the whales in the Gulf of California, ain't it?
Flat tax? LOL!
Look straight ahead and keep your eyes on the prize, America:
Yeah Buddy, they lay up in an estuary just south of town. But they had left a few weeks ago. We were watching the worms in the bottom of the bottle instead :-)
Interesting link mika. Though I'm not sure how it relates to 'flat tax.' But then, I'm slow.
Not to worry, Highlander. You may have all the time in the world to figure it out.
Well, the lack of framing accounts for some of it, and the fact that the passersby were all there because they were on scedule to be elsewhere accounts for some of it.
If he did the same experiment at lunch hour, say, in Central Park, I'll bet he would've stopped more people.
I think the location was very well chosen. The economic demography of the passers-by and the timing was perfect for the real question juxtaposed:
Do we work to live; or, do we live to work.
That's almost as treacherous a question as the Cretan Paradox.
"Highlander" --that Scottish a name sure do put him up there in the tartan mists--but I b'lieve he hail from Arizona.
LOL --hey, you heard about the Foo, didn't you? It's a little bird whose droppings are poisonous if you try to wipe 'em off. So, it the Foo shits, wear it!
Cretan Paradox: Epimenides, the Cretan, says, "Cretans always lie."
If he is telling the truth he is lying; and if he is lying, he is telling the truth.
Ha--you must've been Alexander's advisor on that Gordian Knot issue--
Don't know if its a fact, but I have read where 'Leod' is an old Norse word, leoid(?), for ugly. Making me, of course, Son of Ugly. Well, anyway, I think its funny and at the least, a good bar story.
I agree, mika. nailed the Cretan/Cretin conundrum.
Ah, some women like ugly guy's Buddy. Though I'm not, really. Well, at least to my better two-thirds. That's all that counts, right?
for sure --more than one 'better two-thirds' would be at least four-thirds, which leaves you as a minus one-third, and probably better off dead.
heh --i can do little-number sticklin. past that i'm a joke.