My View on Taxes… Part 1

taxes-scrabbleI hate taxes. I think we can all agree with that statement. I don’t go as far as calling all taxes theft. But that doesn’t mean that I am OK with all of the taxes that we pay. Black Flag and I had  this mini discussion a month or two ago and I said then I would write about taxes when I had a chance to clarify where I stand on them. And it is a harder piece to write than I would have figured, only because I had to really think about a lot of them and consider whether they are fair or not, whether they contribute to the greater good or not. But since I write about politics, I do feel this is an important thing to ferret out.
 

Let’s start with a general overview of my stance and work down. I do not believe that taxes levied by the government are all theft. I do think that many taxes at this point amount to as much, but those angry words of theft and stealing don’t serve a purpose except to incite emotion, so I am not going to use them as my defining words. My belief is that the Constitution did allow for some taxation to occur. I know the old argument that “You didn’t sign that document so you reserve the right to dismiss it”. I am not going to debate that here tonight. Suffice to say that I don’t agree with you. It is the document that governs our country (in theory at least). You live in the country, you live under the rules the country sets forth. 

This thread will not be about how we fix these issues. Part 2 will cover that aspect of things. This one will be nothing more than my take on the constitutionality or necessity of certain taxes. Keep the two discussions separate if you can. It will help make the discussions more focused. For this section of the discussion, I must say up front that I am not a scholar of constitutional law. I do my best to understand the Constitution and the intent of it based on the writings of those who wrote it. 

So the Constitution addresses taxes in the following ways with major points bolded:

  1. Article I Section 7 – All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.
  2. Article I Section 8 – The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
  3. Article I Section 8 – To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years; To provide and maintain a Navy;
  4. Article I Section 9 – No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.
  5. 16th Amendment – The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

Based on these sections of the Constitution, The federal government has the constitutional right to impose taxes on the citizens to pay the debts of the country, provide for the common defense, and provide for the general welfare. #3 gives them the specific right to collect taxes to raise and support armies in meeting the common defense. And #5 gives them the right to impose income taxes. 

irs-shaking-manLet’s start with the 16th Amendment. I disagree with it in a big way, but the government does, in fact, have the constitutional right to collect income taxes. I think this should change. We cannot abolish the 16th amendment or the country would go broke with lawsuits looking to reclaim back collections. But we can push for a new amendment to the Constitution that would eliminate the income tax. And we should. The income tax is a vague tax that essentially takes somewhere between 30% and 40% of the fruits of our labor and gives it to government to spend as they see fit. This was not the intention of the taxation clauses in the Constitution.

I can move on to some other taxes that we see out there: Vehicle taxes, property taxes, Social Security taxes, the list goes on and on. And I see almost all of these as a violation of the constitution. I know that we can make the arguments against my stance on semantics and nuances, but let’s apply the common sense rule to all of this. Debts of the country, national defense, common welfare. Nothing more. If it doesn’t meet the these three criteria, then we shouldn’t be doing them.

Let’s start with common welfare. That means common welfare, the welfare of everyone. So a lighthouse in Maine doesn’t count. Neither does the Polynesian Nautical Society. Almost none of these earmarks that are tacked on to every bill count. They are almost always something for the state of the Senator or Representative requesting them. So let the state deal with it. Not Federal dollars. As for national defense, it speaks for itself. Raise an army for defense only, which first of all will be far less expensive, and tax us for that. I am OK with it.

So what else am I Ok with? I am OK with the federal government building and maintaining interstate highways. I am OK with them providing a police force and fire departments for the common good. I would prefer that they didn’t have a monopoly on these things. If a private firm can do it cheaper and better, they should be able to do so. But until we get to that point, I am OK with being taxed for these things.

guess-who-really-pays-the-taxesAs far as the mantra of the left that the rich should be willing to part with more of their money than the poor, I disagree if we are talking about a higher percentage. The rich paying the same 34% as everyone else already means that they are contributing more than anyone else. The entire concept of higher tax rates on the rich is punishment for success. Further it takes money out of the hands of those who provide the jobs below. Make fun of trickle down economics all you want… it works. History shows that. Higher tax rates for the rich is socialism and I simply think it is further theft. 

I know that Black Flag is looking for that underlying core belief around taxes that he can compare everything to for contradictions. Sorry I don’t have that as defined as he would like. I do have this one belief though, and it applies across the board: NO taxes should be generic. Income tax is generic in that it can be used for anything the government wants to waste it on. Every tax collected should be appropriately named and used for that purpose. Any time we have a generic tax as a form of revenue for government, we are allowing them the discretion to spend it as they see fit. I cannot condone that in any form. 

So I know this is not as specific as some might like. And I realize that I don’t necessarily have the answers to every question answered here. But that is what the debate and discussion below is for. So fire away and let’s hash taxes out. Remember that this article and thread of comments is specifically for what should and should not be allowed in taxation. Ideas for fixes will be in part 2, which I will post either shortly after this one tonight or tomorrow for everyone to get started on. I envision this to be a lively discussion, so let’s get started.

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Comments

  1. Richard Caldoni says:

    The problem with our current taxation system is that it produces American’s that have no vested interest. They pay no taxes on wages so higher taxes have no impact on them. What do these people care about the tremendous cost of funding failed social programs and so on.

    • USWeapon says:

      Richard,

      That is a very valid point. I do believe that one problem with the voting public is that many of those who vote these days can have their vote “bought” because they get without giving. Obama’s promise to cut the taxes of 95% of America and “share the wealth” showed that.

  2. At the moment many of my neighbors are not paying taxes because they’re not working.What would you propose these people do?Pull up stakes and move to where work is available?

  3. Karl from Esom Hill says:

    When the writers of the Constitution wrote in that taxes were to pay the debts of the government, they should have had a crystal ball to see into the future! Debts means buying something useful and good for the country. Not wasteful spending on frickin’ earmarks so some jackass can have his\her tatoo removed! Does anyone out there really believe this garbage is a good use of their tax dollars? The problem with paying taxes is that you as an individual have no say in how it is spent. Meanwhile, the idiots who do have lost their minds and are spending your money on the biggest boondoggles they can come up with. This is why taxes are unfair! I also, like US believe the gov’t. should have a tax system. I also think however, that the tax system has gotten out of hand big flippin’ time! More when we discuss ways to fix it…..

  4. I agree with most of your article except for one point. Vehicle taxes and property taxes are not unconstitutional. These taxes are collected by state or local governments. The US constitution only resticts what the federal government can collect taxes for. It does not restrict what lower level governments can and should collect taxes for. The 10th amendment specifically reserves those taxes to the states, and I am sure that most state constitutions have similar proscriptions and restrictions in them. Import duties on foriegn made cars are most certainly within the constitution.
    I do believe that there needs to be some sort of amendment to correct the tax system, while at the same time repealing the 16th. I agree that the tax should be some sort of flat tax, and that the progressive tax system we have in play now is patently unfair. Why should I be punished for my success. I agree that all taxes should be appropriated for specific purposes, for specific time periods. I also believe that there should be more ‘pay-to-play’ and user fees imposed. I am fully in support of state and local governements that want to either add tolls or increase existing tolls to roads and bridges, as long as the revenue generated from those tolls are used for upkeep of the roads. I’m even fine with a fuel tax, as long as the tax isn’t structured to shape behavior, but is instead used for transportation infrastructure.

  5. When 51% of the population (or perhaps a slightly higher percentage, as not everyone votes based on taxes) are receivers, and the remaining minority percentage of people are givers, how does a democracy survive? I believe that strategy, class warfare, is employed for a reason: to move the country towards a socialist model of government in which redistribution of wealth is a primary principle.

  6. “but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;” This statement alone exposes the current administrations intentions of taxing the “rich” at a greater rate than others as unconstitutional, and since President Obama has taken an oath to uphold and defend the constitution he is by definition a hipocrite.

    There is a percentage of Americans who pay virtually no taxes on their income. This basically takes any stake they have in this nation and makes it a moot issue. If they also had to pay their fair share, then perhaps they would take a vested interest in where this country goes. By removing that tax burden, it basically indebts them to the administration/government who removed it, and furthers that administrations/governments self interest.

  7. SFC Dick says:

    wow, I think I’m going to show my true Egalitarian self here. ( i just up-heaved a bit in my mouth)

    I think toll roads and bridges, fuel taxes and auto registration taxes are unfair to the less well to do.

    I believe that a flat tax is again, unfair ( I hate using that word, I shall substitute burdensome) on the less well to do.

    I believe that taking 30% of total income from a man who makes 1 million dollars a year has less impact on his ability to sustain his family than taking 30% from a man who makes 30 thousand a year.

    I believe sales tax is unduely burdensome on the less well to do.

    fabulous, I’ve come out of the closet and have stated this but what now? There , that’s where the rub lies.
    what should be taxed ? what should be financed? i can not come up with any solid reasoning that I could apply in favor of how to tax something that would allow me to make any type of intellectually honest argument for or against some other thing. I find my reasoning on this is not reasoning at all but mostly if not wholy predicated on “feelings” of some sort or another. I much dislike those who criticize but offer no solutions, but here I stand. i dislike , more so, those that would deem to levy taxes against me using some type of moral code. One of the reasons I so dislike this aproach is that these enlightend by the truth types that establish these codes ussually end up taxing against my lives choices of usage and consumption but impact them less, if at all.

    And thus the bigest rub of all,too often taxation is a weapon and or punishment. Those that influence the tax code hold untold power.

    When I was young and learning about congress I became aware of the committee system at some point. I remember thinking how powerfull a congressman you would be were you on the armed services committee.Hmm.. but there was the old and much powerfull dan Rostenkowksi on the ways and means.( sidebar note for all you out-o-towners, when mentioning ILL politicians in polite company, we only make mention of the fact if they are NOT presently in prison or have NOT been convicted of felonies associated to their terms of office. the assumption is constantly present that they are currently under some type of federal investigation, so again, that goes with out mention)

    It is not my desire to become an obstructionist or devils’ advocate on this board. I found this board from USweapons post on the fox forum. I came over to take a look and WOW. People were puting forth arguments, for the most part backed by more fact than feeling. People were picking apart others arguments based mostly on fact and defending their own using facts and more reasoned arguments. Amazing! This also is being done in an environement where personall attacks are not only frowned upon, but the very poster whom takes the board owner to task is shown a level of respect that is completely gone in todays political world; The oposing voice is given a thread. The equivilant of CPAC calling in Rhom Emanuel to headline as the afternoons’ speaker. I am honestly getting a lil goose bumbs typing this because this is exactly what is needed to solve our nations woes. Because of this I have much respect and try to post reasoned arguments. The problem here though, for me, is I can not and I see this very issue at the heart of our most destructive problems we face as a nation today. Who’s in charge of what is taken and where it goes. the power is emmence and it can ellevate a second tier nation to prominance or tople a giant.But, alas, in as much as all things in government are political, all things political degenerate into politics, which means it comes down to peoples belief systems.I would no more assume I should be allowed, ethically to tax a man and use that money to committ abortions.I would also hope those with whom I was attempting to run a country would not feel ethically empowered by their belief system to further their cause using money taxed from me.I believe in “For the people, By the people, Of the people” but “people” got us here today. So there it is, my head scratcher, on proper taxation.

    • hmmm, head scratcher there. I’m trying to figure out if that post went anywhere. Each possible form of tax seems to have been dismissed as unfair.

      I’m totally against Income Tax. No one should be punished for doing well in the “Earning Game”, which is what a progressive income tax accomplishes.

      Tax on fuel – totally fair. The more you drive, the more you use the roads, the more you are taxed. Can’t afford it? Use less gas, drive less, use public transportation. I can’t afford a 50′ yacht, so I don’t have one. If someone is low income, maybe they can’t afford to drive that big SUV. Create more value, earn more, then do it.

      Tax on roads, bridges? Ditto. In both cases they are fair As Long As … the money from the fuel, roads, and bridges goes to roads and bridges.

      Tax as a punishment? No. Tax on smoking and drinking specifically, and other forms of “sin tax”? Only if that money is set aside to deal with the expenses that come along as a result of those things, i.e. the cost of alcohol-related car crashes, the cost of health care due to smoking, etc.

      Sales tax? Absolutely fair, especially if the Bare Necessities are excluded. Basic food, clothing, shelter – no tax. Anything else is optional. Do I like sales tax? No. Is it right there, in your face, every time you buy something? Yes. Is it going to get people to think about how much the government is costing them, better than the hidden deductions that are gone before they get their salary? Very possibly. Are the high income earners going to buy more “optional stuff” than the poor? Absolutely. Do the current ‘tax-avoiders’ (illegal aliens, drug dealers, cash-under-the-table income earners) buy things, which would be bringing in tax? Hmmm. Let me think about that …

      Would very many people be heart-broken if all they IRS agents in the country, and half the CPAs and accountants lost their jobs? Some would be, obviously.

      Would businesses be able to earn more profit, if they don’t have to keep the big chunk of budget in place that is for keeping up with the moving target of taxes and deductions? Quite obviously.

      Taxes!

      Often an ugly subject, so anything that can make it totally fair is just great. What do you think?

  8. Ok USW, I have a lot to say on this one, but I don’t have time at the moment. I will do a very brief rundown:
    1) Amendment 16 is arguably not an amendment at all, its ratification is sketchy at best.
    2) The monies for standing armies have to be, at best, re-approved every 2 years. In other words, the military would potentially fluctuate a lot. I think a permanent standing army is ok, but it should be a lot smaller and employed for direct defense only. Military expansion should be approved based on the state of the world at a given time, and then must stand up to scrutiny within a reasonable period. I would say the typical tour length of 4 years should be the maximum time that funding should be approved.
    3) The interstate system was a military project that destroyed the mass transit infrastructure of the country. It also was finally enacted at a time when technology was making the reason for the project a moot point. I consider roads to be infrastructure that is best covered through a usage tax since most privatization models appear unworkable to me. However, I do not consider any roads to be national infrastructure. Currently the only infrastructure that I see as viable for national maintenance and purposes are power grids.
    4) Most of the rest of what you said I am ok with, but I will talk more on what is fair or not, including other government services that are justifiable. Much of what I am saying will be concerning my ideal position, the logistics of implementing those ideals are a subject for another post, one I assume you are going to write. In that post, you will see that my steps towards fixing this problem are slow, and very far from my own ideals…

    More later…

  9. Kristian says:

    Ron,

    That may become necessary for a lot of people. I still have a job at the moment, but because of the industry that I am in, that could change fast. If I had to move in order to find work, then that is what I would do. Wouldn’t you if that was what it took to support your family?

  10. I believe when you have a vested, financial interest in something, it is more likely you will pay attention, work harder for things to go right, etc. The inequity in our current tax system encourages a large group of people to become “non-performers” because they don’t have to pay, yet still have an equal voice to those that do.

    SFC Dick, You mention how burdensome taxes are to the less well to do – they are burdensome to everyone and it’s that attitude, that someone (govt.) can decide whose burdens are greater is what is wrong with this picture.

    USW – Great post – a tougher one coming tomorrow with how to solve!

    A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul. — George Bernard Shaw.

  11. SFC,
    It appears that you have the difficulty of an emotional response, not because they are irreconsilable, but because your logical and emotional side are missing parts of the equation. In other words, there is a solution that is logical and that your emotional side can accept, but you must change your premise.

    Here are some factors to consider:
    1) Placing a higher precentage tax burden on the man who makes $1 million may not make it more difficult for him to support his family, but he does not just support his family. Through investments and through the efforts of whatever position pays him that much, he is affecting many people. He is, in most cases, a major producer if not a business owner or employer. If you place undue burden and stress on him, he cannot support the poor guy. He will be unable to hire them, or his lack of business investment will show an overall undercapitalization of business, impacting all people, but more so those who live paycheck to paycheck, since those lower skilled jobs are the first to go and the easiest to find replacements for or even to automate. Thus, you hurt the little guy, even though it is not immediate or obvious.

    2) When someone receives something for nothing, they generally tend to not respect it. The social and attitudinal impact of giving the poor a free ride is enormous. That is what fuels the sense of entitlement that makes more and more of them vote for the rich to pay for their stuff. It encourages laziness and, indirectly, it creates despair and dependency. No one with a sense of entitlement or a feeling that they must have help because they cannot afford their life will work hard and believe in themselves. They will not be the next entrepreneurs who break out of their class. They will stagnate in their class and fester in despair, having their wills destroyed by the faceless charity that is the government. Even without welfare, the idea that one can use government services at no cost is a dangerous thing to the social mores of a society. Also, the attitude that they can get those services for free because it can be taken from those well off creates a class rift where the well off resent the poor and the poor continually demand more from the well off becuase they think they are entitled.

    3) Because there are generally more people in the lower and middle classes than there are at the top, the use of class warfare to gain power is very easy for the socialist side. They need merely pull at heart strings and talk about the struggles of the lower class to gain majority votes and enact policies of evil that are damaging to the entire system.

    4) The idea that taxes are needed for certain services is another issue. Most of those services should be optional at best, meaning you only get it if you pay for it, and if you don’t want it you are not required to pay for it. Thus, the “burden” of taxes on the lower class would not be so high if the overall cost of services were reduced. And if the lower class wishes to have a lot of extra services, then they must pay for them, just as if it were a private transaction. If you want a maid and a personal chef, you pay for those things. No one pities you for not having those things if you are not willing to pay for them. We need to change our attitude on needs, and especially on what we need from the government.

    5) The super rich that have the enormous fortunes everyone points to are not the ones paying massive taxes. They do not have W-2s, they are not subject to payroll taxes. They have the resources to hide massive chunks of their money and property within legal entities or overseas or wherever is necessary to avoid excessive taxation. Thus, the taxes actually impact the middle class. They end up being levied on those who would compete with the super-rich, therby insulating the super-rich and adding to the poor by draining the middle. Taxes, especially income taxes, cause social feudalism. Historically, the tax system is a bad idea, it does not accomplish what it is supposed to, and it does damage, not just to those it claims to target, but to everyone else. It especially attacks the producers and the rising stars of the economy, while rewarding the lazy and the cheats. With such a poor track record, the proper emotional reaction is to remove this blight on our society, a blight which, in the end, hurts the poor as much or more than anyone else.

    Essentially, “proper taxation” will not be decided until proper government size and scope is decided, but everyone needs a stake in what is going in and being done, thus taxes need to be directly felt by all people. It is when people don’t feel the cost of their lifestyle that they make bad decisions. Taxes need to be open and above board, not hidden and disguised and levied against entities that will simply trickle down the cost anyway.

    So, is the lower class burdened by taxes? Yes, but not as badly burdened as they will be if the society is shifted into a place where the employer is punished for being able to hire people and the lazy are rewarded for their ingenuity in beating the system. If you care about the little guy, then make sure that the little guy has opportunity. Make sure the economy is made as healthy as possible. Make sure that the little guy has a sense of hope and that he realized that his fortune is up to himself. That is how you care about the little guy.

  12. ***********
    Ron said
    March 5, 2009 at 5:28 am
    At the moment many of my neighbors are not paying taxes because they’re not working. What would you propose these people do? Pull up stakes and move to where work is available?
    ***********

    Yes.. absolutely yes. If I can’t feed my children because I lost my job, I look for another one. After I have exhausted my local job pool I expand until I find one. I don’t care if I have to move from Ohio to Montana. I move where I can work to support my family.

    I might move in with my parents. I might move to another state and move in with Aunts and cousins. But the alternative of just sitting and waiting for someone else to fix my problem leaves me feeling helpless.

    USW

    I hope in your post tomorrow you might discuss some of the pro’s and cons of fair tax. http://www.fairtax.org . I’ve liked everything that I have read about it and I think even BF might be able to get behind it. Don’t want to pay taxes. Don’t purchase more than you need. I feel like it puts control back into my hands.

    Also some people are completely fooled. You ask them “How much did you pay in taxes last year?” And they will tell you “Nothing, I got it all back.” Completely forgetting that they did not get their money for Social security/Medicare/or Medicaid back. Its as if they don’t even bother to realize that those separate boxes on the w-2s is money in addition to the Federal box.

  13. Black Flag says:

    I don’t go as far as calling all taxes theft.

    Let’s start with your definition of theft and your definition of taxes.

    As per our last ‘fist fight’ 😉 – I am unmoved by using different colored ‘labels’ placed on things that are the same concept. “A rose is a rose by any other name”.

    If I do what the government does, you call it theft.

    When government does it, you don’t call it theft. You call it taxes.

    It is still the same ‘rose’ to any rational human being.

    My belief is that the Constitution did allow for some taxation to occur.

    So, if some guys with long hair sit in a hot room for two weeks and then come out waving a piece of paper that nearly half of them did not agree with that says they, collectively, have a right to steal – you go “ok!!, sounds good to me!”

    ???? 😦

    You live in the country, you live under the rules the country sets forth.

    I guess that is what separates us at our core.

    I live under my rules and morals and take the responsibility as such.

    Dead white men (and live, multi-colored ones as well) can influence me with their reason and good argument to give clarity on the truth of the universe and rightful actions.

    But is always is my life, and my responsibility for it.

    As I have asked before, what if the Constitution amendment was made that gave the ‘right’ to kill left-hand, blond people?

    Would you write, here in your blog, “You live in the country, you live under the rules the country sets forth”?

    As you can tell by my line of argument, that I challenge the moral right to tax.

    Therefore, I ask you this:
    “I do all the evil I can before I learn to shun it? Is it not enough to know the evil to shun it? If not, we should be sincere enough to admit that we love evil too well to give it up”

    ~ Gandhi.

    Let’s start with the 16th Amendment. I disagree with it in a big way, but the government does, in fact, have the constitutional right to collect income taxes.

    Actually, as other posters have already stated, this was never ratified.

    However, that argument is moot. SCOTUS has already said that it will never entertain any debate on this – no matter what point of law, reason, or documentation exists one way or the other.

    The most important point of this issue is the whole and complete point of mine regarding government – nicely bundled into one issue.

    The government, as the final arbitrator of its own rules, will pervert any rule to suit itself.

    Therefore, Abandon all hope, ye who believe such a beast can be chained

    Let’s start with common welfare. That means common welfare, the welfare of everyone.

    Nothing counts.

    There exists no service or good which qualifies as a ‘common’ to all people.

    “There is nothing more evil then forcing a man to pay for something that he does not want, because someone else believes it is for his own good.”

    So, my complaint of taxes – any taxes – is a point of morality. Evil is as evil does. Call it by its name, and be honest to say ‘we love evil’, then.

    Twiddling around to somehow justify ‘this evil’, but not ‘that evil’ is repugnant to anyone with a thread of moral sense.

  14. This may take a while, and I have not thought out all of the government services, but I am going to attempt to list what I think is needed and at what level. By this I mean that there are a number of things that I think are needed, but that I recognize should be optional. There are a few things I think are needed that I don’t think should be optional. There are a lot of things that are not needed. Most of the things that are needed should be handled more locally.

    1) National Defense: Federal level, not optional, but all actions must be direct defense of national real estate, no overseas operations are authorized.

    2) Military uses for Ally defense or for defense of US citizens and interests abroad: Federal, optional.

    3) Police: State and local level for most enforcement, Federal level for cross border enforcement.

    4) Fire and Rescue: State and local, optional. National level emergencies such as major catastrophes can have federal coordination, but such funding and operation would also be optional.

    5) Roads and other infrastructure: State and local for most things, national transit or national grids and various other infrastructural peices that cross state borders, or that should cross state borders can be managed federaly, funding at all levels should be based on usage.

    More later…

  15. You are off to a good start US. I will state that I do not hate taxes, EXCEPT those I feel are unfair, or that I see misused. We have the greatest country in the world, and I do not mind paying my share in its support.
    I do mind tobacco tax, ( I am a non-smoker/user )as administered. First, our government SUBSIDIZES tobacco growers, then taxes the end users. Is that not like a drug dealer? And if they are going to tax the smokers, should the money not be spent on cancer research, and maybe treatment.
    Inheritance, estate or death tax. How in the world can the government force you to pay them to receive a gift from a family member?
    Ron, you bring up a good point, which I would like to add to Kristian’s response.
    The auto workers are a good example. Should you and I support them during this slow auto sales period, and for how long? Or do they need to find another job.
    I have seen people refuse work because it was not what they wanted to do or the pay was too low. I do not feel responsible that Ray the computer programmer lost his job paying $80K. If he will not sweep floors, or do whatever work he may find, I think most of that is on him, not you or I. I have had (recent) personal experience with this, where on one day, three out of three people asking me to hire them, refused the job, at the wage they had requested. I realize these people may not compare to your neighbors, but I see this behavior almost weekly.
    MadMom, you have hit the main issue. There is a segment in congress that is pushing us toward a socialist state. And they have used their power to buy their position. They take money from us and use it to reward the segment of our population that refuses to work or contribute to society. We now have generations that have been raised on welfare. Get pregnant as a teenager, drop out of school, have a baby the government pays for, move into a home the government furnishes, and collect from the government all the money you need to live on. OUR GOVERNMENT PAYS PEOPLE TO HAVE BABIES! It is a poor living by our standards, but a fabulous one to Mexican and other immigrants.

  16. Terry: ““but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;” This statement alone exposes the current administrations intentions of taxing the “rich” at a greater rate than others as unconstitutional,”

    The income tax is not a duty, impost or excise tax. This restriction does not apply. Amendment 16 removed the equity of uniform taxes on people as before this they had to be assessed on a per person basis but were levied against the states based on the census. The states had to pay the tax to the fed govt.

    Amend 16 is an amendment and progressive income tax is legal, per Supreme Court. But how many know that the income tax was originally intended as a Flat Tax, with a single rate set at somewhere around 1%. I trust BF will have the details for us.

    US: “Let’s start with common welfare. That means common welfare, the welfare of everyone. So a lighthouse in Maine doesn’t count.” You nailed it but most people, esp of the modern liberal pursuasion don’t get this. Per at least two scholors I know, general welfare, as used in 1787 was a reference to the need that all citizens would benefit equally. Taxes were to be used only for truly national interests, not state or local and especially not special groups therein.

    “We cannot abolish the 16th amendment or the country would go broke with lawsuits looking to reclaim back collections.” Not true. Abolishing the amendment would only elimnate the power to impose an income tax from that point forward. Same effect as an amendment. Without an amendment though, the feds would have to go back to taxing states, based on population.

    Your idea of labeling taxes is interesting. Our property taxes do this, but it takes a full page to list all the taxes. Some have also suggested that every law and regulation passed by congress, govt agencies should specificall cite the constitutional provision used as the authority for the law/regulation. This would highlight where all abuse occurs and not allow the govt to later pick and choose when defending against future law suits.

    SFC: As Mr. Smith alludes, your concern with equity of tax is based on false premise of the role or need for equity in the first place. If we only fund those things that benefit us all, then we should all equally pay. The key to the dilemna is to back up to the underlying principles supporting our constitution. For example, it is not appropriate for one person to use force to take property of another for their own benefit (concepts of Liberty, Pursuit of Happiness and Right of Property). The minute you move to any progressive tax system you violate this principle. If society no longer wants to live per these principles then they must significantly amend the constitution, not use congress and courts to reinterpret it. That was the guard our founders gave us. Unfortunately, they placed to much confidence in us to keep watch and the Supreme Court to remain truly objective.

    Your concerns are based on sympathy and other emotions taught through social systems built up over past 100 years or more. Back up and rethink your principles then restart your thoughts. In doing so consider this: Equal Justice for All, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, Liberty is the freedom from the use of coersive force by the govt and other individuals.

    To All: The only tax totally consistent with laissez-faire capitalism is a “voluntary tax”. There is no contradition in this. Like most philosophical theories, it may not be practical in a world where everyone doesn’t share the same ethics and politics. If we limited spending to only the key functions per our constitution it would be interesting to see how many would voluntarily pony up there “equal” share.

    The “Fair Tax” is the only tax system being discussed nationally that comes close to meeting the “voluntary” requirement and would treat us all equally. Yes, BF I know it is not trully voluntary, but it is the closest. More so than a flat tax, which would be compulsory but at least treat us all equally.

  17. Black Flag says:

    Yes, BF I know it is not trully voluntary, but it is the closest.

    Isn’t half-of-evil still evil?

  18. Black Flag says:

    If you haven’t entertained the reading of Lysander Spoon, you’re missing the wisdom of a great thinker.

    In response to USWep, and ‘these are the rules…’ argument, so saith Lysander.

    The Constitution says:

    “We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    The meaning of this is simply We, the people of the United States, acting freely and voluntarily as individuals, consent and agree that we will cooperate with each other in sustaining such a government as is provided for in this Constitution.

    The necessity for the consent of “the people” is implied in this declaration. The whole authority of the Constitution rests upon it. If they did not consent, it was of no validity. Of course it had no validity, except as between those who actually consented. No one’s consent could be presumed against him, without his actual consent being given, any more than in the case of any other contract to pay money, or render service. And to make it binding upon any one, his signature, or other positive evidence of consent, was as necessary as in the case of any other-contract. If the instrument meant to say that any of “the people of the United States” would be bound by it, who [*4] did not consent, it was a usurpation and a lie. The most that can be inferred from the form, “We, the people,” is, that the instrument offered membership to all “the people of the United States;” leaving it for them to accept or refuse it, at their pleasure.

  19. BF: Yes half an evil is evil, but you and I do not share the same definition of evil so the argument is of no use to me.

    Using your definition Hitler was not evil as his philosophy was based on an ethic that allowed violence against others and then he acted on his on his platform. I maintain he was totaly consistent, but evil.

  20. Dear Kristian and Beth.—No you wouldn’t .In today’s world you won’t find employment,you can’t sell the home you presently own and you can’t get financing for another home where you’re going.There are times when a government is going to be obliged to help it’s citizenry and this is going to be one of those tiimes before it’s over.

  21. Black Flag says:

    Just A Citizen said

    BF: Yes half an evil is evil, but you and I do not share the same definition of evil so the argument is of no use to me.

    I forgot (sorry 😦 ) what is your definition of evil ….

    Using your definition Hitler was not evil as his philosophy was based on an ethic that allowed violence against others and then he acted on his on his platform. I maintain he was totaly consistent, but evil.

    Interesting…. I often offer this argument to Hitler….

    Assuming you belief in heaven/hell (and if you don’t, pretend you do for the sake of argument)

    Me: Did Hitler go to hell?
    Other Me: Damn right!

    Me: Why?
    OM: He killed millions!

    Me: He did? How many did he personally kill of those millions?
    OM:…well, none by his hand, I guess.

    Me: So why does he go to hell? Isn’t hell reserved for those that actually commit the horror?

    And that is a core point –

    If people believe they are really just biological robots, or puppets and because someone else told them to do something and they did it, only to find out it was a evil – they believe they have an ‘out’ with God (or the Great Redeemer or your existence in an alternative dimension) by saying “Well, he told me to do that so I’m absolved!”

    Nope. Sorry, God saves the hottest of hell for those with that excuse.

    Everyone has is their own person. All people have the right of choice – chose good or evil. Because I tell you to do an act – it is your responsibility to act or not.

    A persons cannot defer their moral choices to another; that person as they act is their moral choice.

  22. Crimsonjihad says:

    Yay definitions! I only post this since it did come up. Who establishes definitions? Great thing about them is they never match up. Whatever the masses decide, is the norm. Now if I believe that eating chocolate ice cream on Tuesday before noon is evil, am I wrong? I am wrong, because the masses say I am. Doesn’t mean it isn’t evil. We label Hitler an evil man, because his views don’t match with our “accepted” view. And yet Hitler still had millions of supporters. He was a very effective speaker…

    Black Flag, your argument about Hitler going to hell, and forgive me I don’t have the correct term for whatever fallacy, is wrong. It doesn’t matter if he personally killed one person, one thousand people, or an entire population or didn’t lay a finger on anyone, HE still gave the order. Now the people carrying out those orders are still responsible themselves. Chances are they wouldn’t have carried out such actions without an order/leader, but they still did it. That is why, and no personal experience with this, just as seen in Hollywood, it is always hard to send anyone to their death. YOU are ordering it. What is the greater good? Sacrifice 10 men willing to give their lives, or sacrifice a town? Neither is a desirable choice, but a choice that must be made. The leader is still responsible for his choice.

    Enough sidetracking, about taxes.
    I think taxes should definitely be spent on what they are levied against. Gas taxes should go towards roads, finding alternative energy sources.
    Social Security should be eliminated entirely. If I’m not smart enough to save money for when I want to retire, I should be left to starve.
    Medicare needs to go. Again, if I’m not smart enough to be putting away into a fund that I can draw on, tough luck.
    I live in Colorado, so I don’t know if this is a nationwide or CO tax, but something is coming up as a Res. SIT. Haven’t a clue what that is going to so I say goodbye.
    Now I’m only hitting the “BIG” taxes so far.
    Colorado has a tax that when you buy a vehicle you are charged RTD tax. RTD is our public transportation here in Denver. Why, when I buy a car, do I have to pay a tax on something I’m not going to use?

    An acquaintance and I were discussing the taxes and what could be done about them. He was against a flat tax because it was unfair for those who made less. However, people who made more should be taxed more, because they can afford it. Which has already been brought up in this discussion and I believe that’s BS. It is punishing those who are successful and rewarding those who do less. I understand not everyone can be a computer programmer or doctor or lawyer, but there is some upward mobility in jobs. I have no degree and yet whenever I get a new job, I have never been payed less than my last job. And yet I must pay for those that can’t do the same.

    A final parting question for Black Flag. I believe I saw you state somewhere else that you do pay taxes, but the minimal possible. If you are so against the system and believe that ignoring it is the way to fix it, why do you pay taxes at all?

    USWeapon:
    You live in the country, you live under the rules the country sets forth.

    Black Flag:
    I guess that is what separates us at our core.

    I live under my rules and morals and take the responsibility as such.

    According to your views stated here, living in America is your choice and you can choose what to follow and what not to. It’s more convenient for you to pay your taxes and not go against the general flow of government, because it is easier for you. You just slide by and do the minimum not to be noticed. If you don’t believe in taxes, stop paying them! Let’s see how long the government ignores you. I know they only let me slide for a couple years. Not an attack here, just curious how your views follow. I enjoyed your post to my last question a few threads back. Very well thought out and made me think about a few points of my own.

  23. Black Flag says:

    Crimsonjihad

    Yay definitions! I only post this since it did come up. Who establishes definitions?

    Whatever the masses decide, is the norm.

    I could agree with that statement, but on one condition….. (always a catch with me 😉 )

    …it must be consistently applied, that is, don’t be changing the definition every day!

    And that is my point – we have a definition that is applied inconsistently – stealing is this ‘here’, but the same thing ‘there’ it isn’t.

    Now if I believe that eating chocolate ice cream on Tuesday before noon is evil, am I wrong? I am wrong, because the masses say I am. Doesn’t mean it isn’t evil.

    I won’t write a novel to explain why (unless I have to), but evil is not a belief. It is an action, and an action done by one person upon another person. There are other things to it, too – but I’ll let that sink in first.

    Merely thinking isn’t evil – though thinking (even irrational thinking) always precedes action.

    Believing isn’t evil, unless you use belief as an excuse to do evil.

    We label Hitler an evil man, because his views don’t match with our “accepted” view.

    And that is my complaint.

    It is an attempt to transfer the responsibility of the acts of horror from those whose hands committed the deeds to a man who merely spoke about it.

    When this attempt is seen as ‘correct’ – we’re in real trouble. Until people see that it is their own power of action that determines good or evil, acts of great horror of masses upon masses will continue.

    We blame Hitler at our species peril.

    The blame sits squarely on those that pulled the trigger.

    And yet Hitler still had millions of supporters. He was a very effective speaker…

    So, do we admit that the masses are merely robots, have no rights as they have no brain? They have no choice?

    HE still gave the order.

    And, therefore, I have to obey?

    He could give all the orders he wanted, but if no one followed them, who would die? No one.

    Therefore, it is not the order that kills.

    It is the one shooting the gun.

    What is the greater good? Sacrifice 10 men willing to give their lives, or sacrifice a town? Neither is a desirable choice, but a choice that must be made. The leader is still responsible for his choice.

    There is no ‘greater good’, if innocent have to pay.

    Ask the same question, honestly.

    It is one thing to send 10 innocent men to their death to save a 1,000.

    Now, replace those 10 innocent men with your children, your spouse, your parents, your siblings.

    You do the same thing?

    I didn’t think so.

    So it has nothing to do with the greater good – it has everything to do with ‘your’ good. As long as it doesn’t impact you significantly, we are easy to slaughter someone else for someone else’s good.

    A final parting question for Black Flag. I believe I saw you state somewhere else that you do pay taxes, but the minimal possible. If you are so against the system and believe that ignoring it is the way to fix it, why do you pay taxes at all?

    Because if I don’t, bad men in blue uniforms will get me. Sometimes it is safer to pay off the criminals then fight.

    If you don’t believe in taxes, stop paying them! Let’s see how long the government ignores you.

    Depends on which tax you’re talking about.

    However, Discretion is the better part of valor

    No need to fight battles that cannot be won.

    Fight battles where victory can be won.

    If you win, then, those previous battles will not need to be fought.

    (Sigh – thx USWep for being our edit button 😉 )

    • USWeapon says:

      BF and Crimson,

      Believe me if there was a way to add in an edit button in the wordpress software I would do it. Perhaps one day this blog will be big enough for me to justify spending the money for a website designer to make my own where I can fix whatever I want. Until then, alas, we are at the mercy of wordpress.

  24. SFC Dick says:

    Jon Smith, I agree with most all of what you have posted, sans my limited ability to seperate reason from emotion, I paraphrased and take no offesne. I don’t got much time here now, I will post in response to yours , perhaps in as much adding clarity to mine. I work on the premiss that taxes are bad but needed. I work on the premis that given any chance at all, man serves himself at the expense of fellow man. Many things are used as weapons, religion, wealth, intillect and most of all power, taxes (money) creates and maintains power, so I make no appologies in my skeptisism and often contempt for those that would weild this power. I am sorry, with out my windows word I spell like a moron and it detracts from the message. I should have listened to mother, stuck it out and finished 4th grade.

  25. SFC Dick says:

    oh, BTW, this is waayyy off topic but I have limited time and I need to address this. I came across a post here where some head shrinker ( the term is meant to show contempt for the arrogance displayed by same) took Black Flag to task. I am going to write, a friend of the court as it were , a response because I think that was a cheap shot, not welcomed by me and I feel it goes against the stated ways of the board. Gotta a prob with the dudes argument, make one better, leave the personal attacks, albeit nicely cloaked in professional “concern” the cendascending attitude disgusts me.

    • USWeapon says:

      SFC,

      Which post are you talking about? If you don’t want to say so publicly, just send me an email at usweapon@gmail.com. I remember a post a while back before I started deleting bad posts. If it is the one I am thinking I actually emailed BF and asked him if he wanted me to erase it. BF, being the guy he is, didn’t care and said not to, so I didn’t. But thinking back on that, I was so much more hesitant then to erase someone’s post. Since then I haven’t taken the time to go back and find it again. If you email me with which article it was under and who it was I will take a look and get rid of it if it goes against what we are doing here respect wise.

  26. US: Regarding the task you asked us to consider. You and others mentioned some of the obvious needs for Federal funding. Namely, standing army, courts, border security and interstate highways (I sometimes still struggle with the interstates, maybe because we have more than we need to meed General National Need (aka Welfare). Others to consider are:

    Federal Aviation Admin–controllers esp.
    Ag meat inspectors
    Atomic Energy Commission??–control and security of nuclear waste and production of fizile material.
    Along with borders comes ports-inspections.
    Bureau of Rec or Army Corp-who’s going to own and run the dams?

    My personal philosopy tells me this could almost all be privatized, someday. But there is a reason we federalized air controllers and food inspections (no skin in the game–no influence). In fact when food inspections first started it was common to bribe the inspectors until tougher rules and management took over. This is where BF jumps in with the govt by its nature is corrupt, so what do you expect. My instinct for survival says I want someone without a vested economic interest, in selling the food or having the planes leave on time, regardless of mtc problems, doing quality control. And BF, I fully understand the contradictions here so please spare us the anarchist philosophical analysis and provide some good free market alternatives. I’m guessing you have some up your sleeve.

    I put these up because it is this real world connection to everyday lives that we must be able to address with “We have a better idea”. Even with all of this and those I’ve forgotten I can’t see a 1.4 trillion budget, in todays dollars. Maybe next year or year after though, once inflation catches on fire.

  27. SFC Dick says:

    US, I’ll look for it. What really tripped my trigger is , and this was upon inittial read, the way it was presented as fact by the poster whom somehow had a feeling of self that had elevate to almost god-like proportions where this poster was able to make very personall “judgements” posted as fact about some one based upon argument techniques that, from what I obsevere to this point about Black Flag, rely on proving points based on fact; but this assault was all based on personall feeling cloaked as proffesional insight. Heck, were I Black Flag I’d have copied and pasted it onto my desk top as some type of battle cry to continue to champion logic and seek truth. I would not delete it unless he asked. I believe that those, more thoughtfull than the poster, realize what it is and take it as such. I see now that no rebutal is needed on my part.

    • USWeapon says:

      Whether you choose to offer rebuttal is of course your call. But please let me know where it is when you have a chance. As I said I am pretty sure I remember the post you are talking about, but I want to be sure, and after your description, I really just want to read it again anyway with some new eyes. BF does a pretty good job standing up for himself when it is needed. Lord knows he pummels me enough. But it is, if nothing else, healthy and respectful debate between him and I.

  28. SFC Dick says:

    HA! I’m new to this. Ussually at this point in the thread we all call names and start a new thread. Here I am begining to clarify my argument. Sa-weet. I have never poated that I oppose a flat tax because it isn’t fair, I stated…”I believe that taking 30% of total income from a man who makes 1 million dollars a year has less impact on his ability to sustain his family than taking 30% from a man who makes 30 thousand a year.” I believe that and the post I made about toll roads to be true.

    I shall start with the flat tax. The price of essential good and services is not grduated based upon ones income.Soooo…

    enter 2 dudes. 1 earns 100$ 2 earns 10$ at a 1 week pay period, both taxed at 10%, leaving 90$ and 9$. 1 loaf of bread, required to feed a man for a week cost 1$, leaving 89$ , 8$ respectively, ‘cmon people, you see where this is going. I can show basic need costs that will leave dude 2 in the hole before the week is out. I say unfair. But ya know what, I think I just need to clarify my core belief and that will help here.

    I do not believe any one has a moral/ethical/legal right to take anything from any free man.

    I don’t think myself an anarchist but the idea, if I’m given my druthers, that I some how give another control over myself is repugnant to me.

    Do we need taxes on us? Some say yes, almost reflexely and wonder about my wits. maybe we are so far removed from independence that we no longer accept that we could funtion as a high-tech (that term is so 80s I had to toss it in to make a point) society. I have not many, maybe none, modern example that I can point to so allow me the late 19th century U.S.

    The prarie schooner was the transportation of the day. Did the homesteaders heading out west “need” the government to build them roads so that they could move. No. I betchya tho, had some dude asked them “hey fella, want a smoother ride out to dry gulch?” I bet the fella would have said “yes” then this benevoulant dude said “no problem, the government will build ya one, I will have to tax you at 1/2 a cent per axle though, so pony up 1 red cent and off ya go” the fella would have been happy to pay (maybe) and there it is. But, they did the move on animal trails, or if they were lucky Johny come lately types, they passed through rutted routes carved by those previous.

    I could argue that the government interstate system built so thet we could wage war better, has improved our lives and industry but again who decides.

    I know we are all good people. I pay taxes.

    Need is a concrete word. To say we need taxes glosses over the fact that we got ourselves here to a greater “need” of taxes.I’ll pay taxes but I do not trust any one or any governmet to levy these taxes in a manner that is fair or even promotes the public good. So I can not say what taxes we should keep anymore than I would answer “which child of yours is the one you pick for us to take away” . You will take anyway, I won’t be complicit in the act by acknowledging your right to do so by making a choice.

  29. TruthSeeker says:

    SFC,

    From the fairtax.org site: “It abolishes all federal personal and corporate income taxes, gift, estate, capital gains, alternative minimum, Social Security, Medicare, and self-employment taxes and replaces them with one simple, visible, federal retail sales tax administered primarily by existing state sales tax authorities.”

    No where in there does it state food and other basic neccesities like energy. It only taxes retail, which believe it or not, is not neccessary to live your life. Retail adds creature comforts. You would pay a flat tax on all retail items that you decide to buy. You are not forced at all. You will pay much more for a retail iten that costs $1,000 vs simply things like hygiene items. Since you would keep your entire paycheck and not “loan” the government your taxes (even if you dont pay taxes, you still loan it to the government until you file for it back) you control all of your money. The poor would not be hurt at all. Presidents Obama’s latest plan to tax energy companies will affect the poor.

  30. SFC Dick says:

    UUUGH!

    I don’t like the poor.I have no poor friends, I have no poor people out to Freedom Ridge for beer and brats.I do not associate with the poor. I was poor once, it was a state of being that everyone in my family worked to bring ourselves out of.I see the perpetual poor as lazy, perhaps stew-pid, parasites continually manipulated by a political party to mantain power.In its natural state poorman exploitus has no impact on Richard Maximus, but in this society his impact is much and much resented by me

    I use the flat tax burden on the poor to maybe highlight the hypocracy of those that scream that “taxing the rich” is unfair but never a peep about the poor under a flat tax, where all other things remain unchanged.

  31. Ok SFC, I am starting to see where you are coming from, I think.

    At the very least, a sudden and immediate transition to a flat tax would be unethical and potentially hazardous. The $10 a week guys would suddenly find themselves starving to death and turn into a pitchfork wielding mob. That is why the part 2 of this topic is so important. The transition cannot be fast. We may have several levels of “evil” as BF would put it before we even start to break the plain of “partly good” or even “neutral”. There are a number of changes that would be required in order for a shift in the tax system to work without hurting a lot of people. Some of my more emotionless friends (or friends who don’t think outside of their class and little happy world) don’t care about hurting the guy making $10 a week, they don’t care if he starves. I do care, but partly I care because I know what large numbers of angry people can do to the people they have learned to resent and are naturally jealous of. So the transition must be careful.

    As for fairness, it really comes down to the definition of fair. Some define fair as making sure all are charged equally for services, meaning that only usage taxes would be fair. If you use a service more, you pay more. If you don’t use it at all, you pay nothing.
    Some define fair as you pay the same percentage of your income. This makes the guy at the bottom get a lot of stuff foe a really cheap deal, but at least he is having to contribute something. It still allows those who make nothing to get a free ride though.
    Some define fair as making sure we all have some arbitrary minimum level so that we can survive, any at or below that level get a free ride, any above it pay for it all.
    Ideally, I like the first one. In practice, because we have slipped so far, I think the second is the type of fairness we need to work towards for now, with maybe a mix of the first type. Initially, however, we need to get the overall tax burden down.

    None of the flat tax or usage tax concepts work with out current list of government services. Spending must be dropped first. You are right, if all other things remain unchanged, a flat tax would be unethical, if not unfair. A sudden change to a flat tax with no changes in spending would be a disaster. So if that is your main concern, then I totally agree with you. 🙂

  32. SFC: My dear friend, it is not the taxing of the rich that is unfair, it is taxing them at a different rate. When everyone should be benefiting equally from govt service then everyone should pay the same. But that would be far to onerous on the lower income fellow as everyone would pay a fixed tax ie 3,000 per year. So enter flat tax, which at least applies the same rate, and is thus more fair than a progressive tax. By the way, the original flat tax proposal waived all tax for the first 20,000 in income. That was 12 years ago so that would be about 25000 today. Which happens to be close to the mediun income in most of the US. So those proposing flat tax, as originall presented by Mr. Forbes and others, did in fact address the impact on the lower income persons ability to support themself. Of course this was based more on political reality than philosophy. How do you get support for fairness from a group that lives off the production of others?

    As for the Fair Tax currently proposed, everyone would be able to get a refund equal to the tax rate times the avg value spent on groceries and other essentials. I think this has evolved to use the poverty threshold. Recently I believe the avg. annual amount was around 22,000, so at 25% everyone would get back 5,500 per year. This would put everyone on equal footing. Those making less than the 22,000 could cut back on some things to purchase new TV for example and not cost any tax. If they don’t save then no tax on first 22000 then tax on items purchased beyond that.

    I believe you do need to spend some time questioning and reflecting on your definition of “fair”. If it is not govts role to assure outcomes in life then it has no concern over the fairness of tax codes, as you have described fair, because that is based on the outcome. Tax should be to get revenue for things that benefit us all, equally, and not for retaining power, then it has to ignore outcome. If you accept this as the base, then the reason for the argument changes. For example, I beleive a voluntary tax is the only correct way to go. But this is not practicle, especially given the nature of our society today. Therefore I can discuss other tax options in terms of how far they stray from my ideal, ranking if you will from best to worst. That is why I detest the progressive tax. It ranks farthest from my values and feeds directly into the use of tax to maintain power.

  33. It seems the two issues we can’t agree on as Americans is 1) what we want from government and 2) a “fair” way to collect the resources to pay for them. I’ve seen both of these questions addressed here in some form, but they must be addressed together. Jon Smith had a great start to question 1. One reason why question 1 is so divisive is that some (me for one) believe government is not properly suited to take on certain programs…retirement (Social Security), Medicare (Health Care) to name a couple. By “not suited”, I mean that I can find a better, cheaper product elsewhere. To sum up, America must be able to list its needs and wants accordingly in appropriations.

    As for question 2, my proposal (probably over simplistic) is to have a 5% flat tax to pay for needs. I estimated this amount because Defense = ~ 4% GDP. You get the idea. Again, Jon Smith listed many of the needs of this country. As for the wants…be it Medicare, or Social Security, you name it…they could be paid for by a national consumer tax. I would use this system for “wants” because it would best transmit the actual cost of government programs to the consumer. When true costs become prohibitive, it might be time to elimate some wants.

    Personnally, I’d rather pay for my individual wants with individual funds and help cover the costs of certain social welfare programs that I individually support, with charity.

  34. SFC Dick says:

    Just a Citizen Sir, My definition of fair is as out of place in this cuurent state of affairs as civil is war. Ha! that was just to malke me look clever and a “Big” thinker. I agree with most of the arguments put for about attemting to make a system fair. If a system is to be embraced by the populous then it has to hinge on its fairness and certain “bad topics” will have to be agreed upon. I see one of these bad, as in political hot buttons, is that the “rich” ( gime me that term, it is in no way meant as deragitory, just as point of reference ) provide much, through their endeavors and works by product, that the society as a whole find at its least “good” at its finest “esential”. I found the legal attacks on Bill Gates “evil” because they seemed to me political motivated and meant to harm one as oposed to right a wrong or rightfully repair an injured party.

    I loved President Regean and his programs. This is a political ied as many from both sides will plant their flags on this issue and come at it with many statistics to prove their particular sides belief. I see Regean as taking a country from economic stagnation, what was it called “stagflation” where interest rate were close to useary and the economy was limping along.His programs, “trickle down” held at its core that the “rich” would be the answer to the problem. President Regeans program did “rise all boats”, I believe.

    All that being said….I have this overiding feeling that even now, in this time where we are in serious trouble, people will still try to get theirs. I’ll give an example, it might be convaluted in its argument as i extrapulate from local to national politics, and it hits a hot button issue .let me take a break here to explain how I operate politicaly

    I have been active in everything from N.O.R.M.A.L to the N.R.A. I have conducted acts of civil dissobedience in support of both causes. In the cause of both I would petition, but some of my harshest were sent to “my own” side. I would argue with the “leaders” of these causes if I thought they, through hypocricy or political halftruths would not not negotiate in good faith when it appeared to me that the other side had put forth something in good faith. I believe in cleaning one own yard first.Perhaps that is why it might appear that I have an agenda that is contrary, when in fact i want to eliminate the hypocricy or weak arguments to make us stronger. I know that the arrogance of this overwhelming, but there it so..

    At home we have a segment that will howl bloody murder for federal expenditures for “family planning” but will make arguments for T.I.F districts, in the name of progress and societal bennifts. I don’t see it.How in the world does that bussiness man with 2.5 million in capital ( I know it’s investments “borrowed” money, never seems to be their own they pony up) needs my money? screw free condoms and safe sex classes funded by my tax dollars. Look at the springfield IL renasonce(damn spelling) hotel sweet deal. I so deplore this, not because those with money got “free” millions and were allowed to walk away, no body has any gain in giving some one millions that has not operated at that level prior, I cede that as good bussiness sense, what enrages me is that this paints the whole process of goverment involvement with private bussiness as corupt. It give others ammo to use to further the argument for more government.

    so, I don’t see “my” side to the point where it will compromise on somethings that need compromise.I see my side, my traditional allies, bristled on what I believ to be non starters. Look at how many “conservatives had a problem with the libertarians stance on personal consumption of “drugs”. the laws put into affect making a better part of these substances did not come into affect until well into the 20th century, legal up to then. These laws, I would argue, were initially put in place so that some would have control over others lives. The enlightened few. I see that with this attitude there will be no progress on anything remotely fair in the tax system.

  35. SFC Dick says:

    I have got to get my word program re liscenced, my gramar and spelling, on the fly makes my argument almost unreadable.

  36. SFC,
    I agree with your sentiments, and I know one’s own house must be clean first. The LP, for instance, has a great deal to do before they will have a decent shot at mass appeal. Some of it is educating the populace, but most of it is getting candidates in at all levels that are not crazy. By crazy I mean not so stubbornly idealistic that they freak out voters.

    There are certain segments of government spending that we can cut first that will fit within the sentiments of most people. For example: corporate welfare, so-called “business deals” that are suposed to “boost the economy” and other keyenesian projects related to business and involving wealthy persons. Just about every average joe in America would support getting rid of that stuff. We can take advantage of that and cut it out of the budget. It may be a comparatively small part of government spending, but every bit helps.

  37. SFC: I do realize my theory of fair is bucking a strong head wind given our current society’s stated desires. I think that is because we have failed to keep close tabs on what was happening in our education system. We also fail to attack, or counter attack, head on those on the left that are always spouting off about rights of the poor and the evil rich, etc etc. The result is a population that wants govt help, thinks its approporiate and generally distrust the same govt, business, the rich, the religious, you name it. That is why we need to keep trying to educate folks on a better path.

    I share your desire to take action now, but until our fellow citizens learn they have been following a bankrupt philosophy we have no chance of making long term positive changes. So every thing we do now does have to be done within that which is possible now, but it must be moving towards our ideal, otherwise there is no reason to try–in my opinion.

    I agree totally with you and Jon Smith that we need to clean up our own house. I do not think the LP holds any chance to succeed in the long term, unless it is taken over by those with more defensible philosophical position. Right now the best option is taking the Repubs in the direction we want. As a first step we need to air our (assume Republicans) dirty laundry in the public and shame them. For example, 40% of the pork in the current budget was proposed by R’s that are now voting against the bill and raising hell about the D’s earmarks. Hypocrasy by any name smells like BS.

    SFC: My remarks about checking your premise is based on my desire to make sure our future positions are grounded in sound philosophy, ie ethics, logic, reason etc.

  38. SFC Dick says:

    Just a Ctizen Sir, Now that’s post I am in total argeement with.

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