Corporations Don’t Pay Taxes

People do! There have been extensive conversations over the last year around the different perspectives that each party operates on in terms of taxes. One of the major reasons that, when I did choose to be a part of a political party, I couldn’t support the Democratic party, was their outlook on economics. The ideas of wealth “trickling up”, consistent increases in regulation of the private markets, and redistributing wealth are all against the very core of what I believe, and in the case of trickling up wealth, against logical reason. In many of my arguments with those on the left, I have brought the subject of this article up, offering it as a reasonable assessment of where there is a fatal flaw in their plan. I never get a response after that. The subject gets quickly changed, or in forums I am simply never answered by that person at all. So I am going to present the argument again, and explore the concepts. I welcome any challenge to my thoughts, as I want to know if there are things I am missing…

I know at least Mathius will appreciate this!

What I am focusing on here is the over-reaching sentiment that the “wealthy must pay their fair share.” This is the crux of the argument for a progressive income tax and it is a gigantic part of the faulty (in my opinion) premise that corporations and businesses must contribute more heavily to the tax burden in the United States. I have marveled at this sentiment for many years. I have again and again challenged the logic of such a sentiment. I have offered why I think it is faulty. I have explained why it doesn’t work. And I have never been answered in a way that makes me even consider the other train of thought as logical. So I want to talk about it.

There is, of course, the beginning argument that the wealthy must pay their fair share. I understand some of the premises. There is the train of thought that the wealthy benefit more from society, that they would not be unable to accumulate their wealth without what society provides, such as infrastructure, educated employees, and a court system that protects them. Yet it appears to me that the wealthy in America pay more than their fair share. In an article back in the beginning of 2009, I shared the following (based on 2006 tax revenue data):

Percentiles Ranked by AGI AGI Threshold on Percentiles Percentage of Federal Personal Income Tax Paid
Top 1% $388,806 39.89
Top 5% $153,542 60.14
Top 10% $108,904 70.79
Top 25% $64,702 86.27
Top 50% $31,987 97.01
Bottom 50% <$31,987 2.99
Note: AGI is Adjusted Gross Income
Source: Internal Revenue Service

So what we see there are the facts about who pays what percentage of the taxes in America. The top 1% of American earners pay roughly 40% of federal income taxes. The top 10% pay 70% of the federal income taxes. The bottom 50% of wage earners pay 3%. Let’s look at this another way. Let’s apply those percentages to to the average federal income collected in the United States(1 Trillion in 2006) and the number of taxpayers (133,209,000 returns filed in 2006). That gives us these numbers (pardon my math as I do this at 2:00am):

% of Total Paid $’s Group Paid in Taxes Number of Returns per Group Average Income Tax Paid Per Taxpayer in this Group
Top 1% 39.89% 398.9 Billion 1,332,089 $299,454
Top 2% – 5% 20.25% 202.5 Billon 5,328,358 $38,004
Top 6% – 10% 10.65% 106.5 Billion 6,660,446 $15,990
Top 11% – 25% 15.48% 154.8 Billion 19,981,341 $7,747
Top 26% – 50% 10.74% 107.4 Billion 33,302,233 $3,225
Bottom 50% 2.99% 29.9 Billion 66,604,467 $449

It seems to me that the top 1% of earners in this country pay 667 times as many dollars for the exact same services provided to the bottom 50%(actually for less services since they aren’t getting any welfare or social services). So explain to me exactly how it can be said that the wealthy in America are not paying their fair share? They don’t get better roads for all that extra tax money they pay. They don’t get better health services provided by the government for all that extra tax money they pay. In fact they don’t get better anything from government for providing 667 times as much money as the bottom half of the earning scale. They get less. The wealthy in America are paying far more than their fair share. It is just that the progressive movement in America like the idea of being philanthropic with other people’s money.

But that is just the justification for what the left wants to do. They create a situation where the poor in America believe that the wealthy in America don’t pay their fair share, when they obviously pay the lion’s share of the income taxes. And those numbers of where the threshold is for the earners isn’t quite so high. An earner who makes $108k qualifies for the top 10%. Not exactly stinking rich. And certainly not in a position where they are silver spoon kids. So unless you can provide me with some sort of alternative information, I simply refuse to accept the argument that the wealthy don’t pay their fair share. They are paying their share, and everyone else’s share too.

But that isn’t the point of this article. I have made that argument before. The point of this article is the false claim that taxing the wealthy heavier than we already do and taxing the corporations is simply asking those who have more to give more. Because to believe that, in my opinion, is to ignore the realities of the world. And those realities are this:

First, the wealthy are business people. VERY few of the wealthy are silver spoon kids. They are where they are because they have a business of some sort that has earned them enough money to qualify. Remember the top 1% is qualified at $388k, not millions per year. Wealthy yes, but not “stinking rich.” They are there because they earned it by taking a risk, starting a business, and making it work. So when you are talking about taxing the wealthy, you mean you are talking about taxing a business owner. As such, for the purposes of this discussion, we can recognize the fact that the wealthy and corporations are basically the same thing in terms of taxes. If you tax a wealthy man, you are essentially taxing the business that made him that way.

Second, and this is the important point, you cannot tax a corporation. Try as you may, you simply cannot do it. A corporation exists to provide a good or service for a price. When you tax a corporation, do you think that they simply shrug their collective shoulders and say, “eh, I guess we will have less profits this year”? Of course not. They increase the costs for their good or service to pay the increased taxes. And that means that the cost is…. wait for it…..

Passed on to the consumers!

So when you talk about taxing the rich, you are talking about taxing the consumer who consumes their products. You aren’t going to take a dime out of the corporation’s pocket. They just raise prices. And yet, as you continue to pass these bills to punish the big evil business people, what you are actually doing is punishing the end users of their products, not them. And then there is this giant wonderment that the economy doesn’t improve. The job markets don’t improve. The quality of life doesn’t improve for those poor wretches in the bottom 50% that you endeavoring to help.

Corporations work on the principle of offering their goods or services based on the cost of production. Increased taxes increase the cost of production and thus the cost of the good or service. When you increase the cost of operations for a company, they have a couple of choices. They can increase the cost of the good or service they provide. This is the most common course. Or they can trim the costs of production in other ways. This means the do less charitable contributions, less expansion (and thus creation of jobs), or reduce the workforce. Or they can simply move their operations overseas where labor is cheaper and there are not as many restrictive regulations that have no impact other than raising costs. These are the options. Whether the cost increases for the good or service, or the company downsizes, limits expansion, and stops voluntarily helping the community, I fail to see how those on the progressive side see this as a positive thing for the poor in America.

The poor are left to either not have jobs or to pay more for their purchases (ironically they must pay more with less money since jobs aren’t there and if they are wages are lower). It is this fatal flaw that continues to perplex me as we discuss the concept of increasing the tax burden on the top end. There is simply no way that the burden is simply not shifted to the working class once again. Fortunately for the Progressive politicians, most people fail to think it through in this way and actually understand that this is hurting them, not the big bad businesses. The class warfare rhetoric actually works so long as the poor never realize how the economics actually play out.

And what we have seen is a steady downward spiral because of this flawed concept. Punishing the wealthy continues to have a negative effect, not on the wealthy, but on the consumers. As a result the consumer falls more and more into a situation where they expect help from government. Class envy garners more calls for increasing the burden on the wealthy which results in declining economic conditions for the poor which results in more class envy which results in more calls for increasing the burden on the wealthy. It is a vicious circle that has steadily brought down the quality of life for the middle and lower classes in America.

Now I don’t fall into the camp that believes this is an accident. I believe that ultimately the federal government’s intention is to continue to create greater and greater dependency on them. So that is their purpose. They are not trying to help the poor and middle class to get better off. They are intentionally trying to ensure that those groups simply become more and more dependent on government help. And before you blow that off as a silly statement, ask yourself this:

The government doesn’t do anything that doesn’t benefit the government. They have some of the most brilliant minds in the country at their disposal. So I submit that they are well aware of doing the math on this and realizing that a tax on the wealthy gets passed to the poor. To believe that they don’t understand this is to believe that they are utterly incompetent in terms of evaluating economic impacts. So the federal government is one of two things. They are either complete idiots not capable of running the country OR they are absolute geniuses to have played the bottom 50% like a fiddle and tricking them into believing they are taking actions that help them. Which do you really think is the most likely scenario? Incredibly stupid or evil geniuses? I think you know where I stand.

So there is the discussion. I have painted this issue with a purely economic brush. The discussion isn’t about the inherent usurpation of rights or the moral perspective around taking more from one to give to the other or even the principles we stand on as to why this is all wrong. This is about economics and how the premise is faulty. The bottom line is that increased taxes on the wealthy are simply passed on to the consumer, hurting the middle and lower class. That is how it works in my perspective. What am I missing progressives? What magic factor has eluded me for all these years in understanding how increasing taxes on the wealthy and corporations hurts the middle and lower classes instead of the upper class?

I know I come across extremely opinionated on this subject, and I am. But I had to give those on the left the chance to explain this to a simple ex-soldier who apparently cannot grasp the concept and why it could work.

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Comments

  1. You make some very valid points but the simple fact is that the wealthy have been fortunate enough to succeed in this great country and so they should have to pay a little more. They can afford it, the bottom cannot. The poor need as much money in their pockets as possible to make ends meet and work their way up the economic ladder, while the rich, having already made it to the top, can afford to pay for the roads and other public goods that they have used to build their business and wealth and make it to the top. It is not an issue of fairness, but practicallity. Poor cannot afford taxes, the rich can. We need to give individuals the ability to succeed, not sustain those who already can sustain themselves. I invite you to take a look at my blog from time to time the4freedoms.wordpress.com for a different perspective and I welcome friendly debate with you.

    • USWeapon says:

      the4freedoms,

      Thanks for the comment and welcome to the site as I don’t recall seeing you post before. I understand your position. But how do you rectify the massive push made to collect from the wealthy? I will answer you by point:

      You make some very valid points but the simple fact is that the wealthy have been fortunate enough to succeed in this great country and so they should have to pay a little more.

      I agree that I can understand and accept them paying a little bit more. However, as I pointed out they are not paying a little bit more. The wealthy are paying 667 times as much to use those roads. They already are paying way more than a little bit more. They are essentially already paying everyone’s share. They are, as the numbers prove, paying just about the entire share. The bottom 50% in this country pay 3% of the total taxes collected. For this fraction of what the wealthy pay, they are afforded the use of the same roads and services the wealthy are. On top of it they also receive benefits the wealthy are not entitled to such as welfare.

      They can afford it, the bottom cannot. The poor need as much money in their pockets as possible to make ends meet and work their way up the economic ladder, while the rich, having already made it to the top, can afford to pay for the roads and other public goods that they have used to build their business and wealth and make it to the top.

      Again I point out that they are already paying more than their fair share. The top 10% in this country pay 70% of the total taxes collected. How can a claim be made that they aren’t paying far more than their fair share? Additionally we tax everything the wealthy do. Capital gains taxes, taxes on their businesses, etc. Overall, almost all of the tax burden in this country is being paid by the top 10%.

      You tell me that the bottom can’t afford it but what I see are many who are “the bottom” own many many things that they do not need to survive. Game systems, nice cars, big screen TV’s etc. Why should we put even more burden on the top 10% to help others survive when they clearly are prospering and simply lacking fiscal discipline.

      It is not an issue of fairness, but practicallity. Poor cannot afford taxes, the rich can. We need to give individuals the ability to succeed, not sustain those who already can sustain themselves.

      There is the kicker. The top 10% are not asking you to support them. They are asking you not to confiscate even more of what they have earned simply to give it to those who didn’t earn it. Perhaps you missed that 97% of the top 10% didn’t come from families that were in the top 10%. They were given the same ability to succeed as the rest. They just did something with it. The key to giving the ability to succeed to the poor is to have a better education system and instill more drive and work ethic. And it is an issue of fairness. Since when does practicality justify taking even more money from those that earn it.

      I invite you to take a look at my blog from time to time the4freedoms.wordpress.com for a different perspective and I welcome friendly debate with you.

      I will take a look at it. I noticed that you didn’t, however, address the point of the article. When you tax the rich, it is the poor that pay in the end. Corporations simply increase costs or cut jobs.

    • I am always amazed by the total lack of knowledge on how roads are payed for:

      “while the rich, having already made it to the top, can afford to pay for the roads”

      USW, I can see your frustration in debating people who have a preconcieved (and totally wrong) mindset on how taxes are distributed. If those on the left would actually educate themselves on this matter, rather than following blindly behind the MSM and the politicians, life might get easier for everyone.

      Will be reading along.

      G!

      • ARRGH! Forgot the little box!

        • Mathius says:

          Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt – maybe he was proposing that the rich should pay for the roads, not that they currently do.

          It takes a little while before newbies learn that they have to be very clear in what they say in this place – there are very shrewd debaters everywhere.

          • Even then, why the poor then get the same access to the roads that the people who paid for it do? Maybe the tool roads and bridges here in the northeast should institute soethoing like that, your toll lot use the road should be based on your income. Afterall, if you make more, then you can afford to pay more to use the same service.

            • Mathius says:

              I’m in a mood today. Apologies in advance for breaking out this old chestnut: To each according to his needs, from each according to his abilities.

              DPM: How in the world did a landlubber like you manage to capture me and lock me in the basement? Mathius, you fool, that doesn’t work.

              • DPM: Mathius is a trekkie.

              • Guilty. But Dread Pirate Mathius is too.. he’s the one who added Photon Torpedoes to his ship’s armament.

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                To each according to his needs, from each according to his abilities has NOTHING to do with Star Trek, it is a direct quote of Karl Marx. At heart, our dear Mathius is still a Marxist. How unfortunate 😦

              • Yes, I know….I was trying to be funny in the Spock takeoff..”the needs and wants of the many, outweigh the needs and wants of the few or one.”

                I will not quit my day job.

              • Spock’s a Marxist?

          • Damn….that certainly was not Dread Pirate Mathius….ummmmm…no DP yet this morning, sir?

            • Mathius says:

              That wasn’t the Dread Pirate, but it doesn’t make a difference with that post. I was just offering a possible interpretation of what he meant, not advocating my personal views.

              DPM: AARG.. he’s right, matey. It is possible that that is what he meant, but then he be wrong. However, he might not have been advocating anything and just was noting that the rich could (not should) pay more – this is true. We need more information.

    • I agree with just about everything you said, but I think you are missing the point entirely. This is not about whether the rich should pay more (they certainly do), it is about HOW MUCH should they be paying. What do you think is fair? 40%, 50%, 100%? What constitutes “rich?” What constitutes “poor?” Is it really fair to redistribute wealth from the successful to the unsuccessful? What are the consequences? Will this bring about a real solution or propitiate the problem?

      This (as with so much else) is the problem with these types of discussions. Without actually disagreeing with anything USW said, you managed to engage class warfare and inject the “bleeding heart” case while avoiding all of the problems that USW pointed out. The problems in this country are not divided down party lines, but that is the only way we ever argue, without acknowledging the truths in the other sides argument, but latching onto whatever it is on which we disagree.

      You should at least have the intellectual decency to acknowledge that the rich pay more than their fair share. Then try to make a cogent argument as to why such a discrepancy in taxes will benefit our country, taking into account the downsides as well as the upsides. Only then will you gain support from your opposition.

    • Naten53 says:

      I thought the roads were paid for with gas taxes, so those that use the roads pay for the roads equally based on how much they drive.

      • Naten

        The construction costs are not all gas tax. Congress allocated regular funds in their pork barrel, earmarks, to roads and other such construction projects. Including trams for ski areas.

        Neither are all the reconstruction or the federal funds given to states and towns via grants.

        Remember the supposed bridge to nowhere?

        • JAC…just to show you that Texas is not immune from such bridges.

          Please note: Colombia–Solidarity International Bridge is one of four vehicular international bridges located on the U.S.-Mexico border in the city of Laredo, Texas; it connects Laredo over the Rio Grande (Rio Bravo) with Colombia, Nuevo León. It is owned and operated by the City of Laredo and the Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes (Mexico’s Federal Secretariat of Communication and Transportation).

          The Colombia–Solidarity International Bridge was named in honor of the Mexican planned community of Colombia, Nuevo León. The community and the international bridge were built because the Mexican state of Nuevo León wanted an international port to compete with the bordering states of Coahuila and Tamaulipas in the International Trade market. This is the only border crossing between Nuevo León and Texas.

          The Colombia–Solidarity International Bridge is an eight-lane bridge with two walkways for pedestrians. The bridge is 1,216 feet (371 m) long. The international bridge is for all traffic, including pedestrians. The bridge is also known as Laredo International Bridge 3, Colombia Bridge, Puente Solidaridad, Puente Colombia and Puente Internacional Solidaridad Colombia. [1]This bridge is located in the western State Highway 255 terminus or via Urban Road 1472 North in Laredo, Texas and the northern terminus of Nuevo León State Highway Spur 1 in Colombia, Nuevo León.

          Hours of Operation
          8:AM – 12 Midnight Monday – Friday
          8:AM – 4PM Saturday
          12 Noon – 4PM Sunday

          All times Central Time Zone

          Now, since I go down to the border to advise how to fight bad guys….I have seen this bridge many times. To read this description makes you think that this bridge is right in Laredo, Texas. It is actually 15 miles north of Laredo. Please note the term “urban road 1472”. This is a road that is not even as good as an FM road. It is two lane with no shoulders and lots of twists and turns. It dead ends into this 8 lane bridge that crosses the river to connect with………….a two lane DIRT road on the Mexican side near a town called Colombia, Mexico which does not even have a tourist trade and no industry. It is a poor Mexican Barrio. In addition, a quick check of the map will show that the State it is in in Mexico, has a very narrow sliver that hits the border with Texas.

          A friggin gorgeous bridge that would handle thousands…is not even open 24/7.

          • D13

            Isn’t that bridge part of the Mexican/USA/Canada highway?

            For the record.

            The Alaska “bridge to nowhere” was a bridge to an island where the community wanted to construct a modern, larger, airport and develop the private land currently isolated.

            Funny how all the facts got lost in the rhetoric. Of course that only matters for those who subscribe to the belief that the Feds should fund local projects.

            None of us are immune to these lunacies my dear Colonel. There is no where we can truly hide. But I can stare at my prairie and mountains and pretend. LOL.

            Top of the mornin to ya.. About 1/2 inch of snow on the ground this morning.
            JAC

            • No sir…there was another bridge…a toll bridge that was going to be built SOUTH of Laredo to tie into the new loop around Laredo.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      Welcome to the sight. Prepare for many challenges.

      The first thing I would challenge is your statement that the wealthy have been very fortunate to succeed in this country.

      Your premise is flawed from the very beginning. There are VERY FEW people that have succeded in this country through being FORTUNATE. The incredibly vast majority of people who succeed in this country do so through hard work, innovation, and drive to excel. Being “fortunate” seldom has anything to do with it.

      • Good for you Peter! 18 hours a day 6 days aweek that is how most of them get ahead and survive. When corporate taxes are raised we raise the price of our goods. The consuner pays the price. When a corporation can no longer get it price for its goods they shut the doors and go home. No matter which way you look at it the people of the bottom pay.
        What incentive does a person have to succeed if everything he works for is stolen from him? Under what pretense does a person jusity working 18 hours a day with all the headaches of a business when the government takes the profits and regulates the whole process?
        Does a wealthy person use more of the infrastructure than a poor person? Maybe but doubtful. If an education only benefited the wealthy then why do people get an education? How do business owners who only have a high school education survive? When you really stand back and look at the situtation the wealthy do not use more of the infrastructure than the poor nor are they the biggest benefactors.

    • I will check out your site as soon as I have time, 4freedoms.

      There are two immediate issues with your premise, however.

      1) The idea that the rich can “afford it” is short-sighted. They can personally afford the loss without risking their own survival, but the impact of their reduced wealth affects everyone else in the economy. Reduced spending on luxuries, reduced investment, reduction in money markets and monies available for loans are all a result of reducing the expendable income of people in the economy. You are not factoring in the effect of this reduction. Rich people do not stick their money in a safe, they invest it. That investment goes into business which is where the rest of the people get jobs from.

      2) The fact that they can afford it does not mean they will. At a certain point, the rich will simply find a way around the taxes, because they have the resources to do so. Thus, they will either pass on the costs to others (hurting consumers) move operations elsewhere (reducing jobs) or play bribery games with government officials (increasing corruption) and avoid really having to pay the costs. Thus, the revenue decreases in spite of increased taxation. It just will not work like it looks on paper. That is a fact of life. This is not static accounting, there are other effects of tax policy to consider.

  2. I recently read an article in the local paper about this very topic. It turns out that 47% of Americans do not pay federal income tax. As a matter of fact, they point out that, with a few credits for children under 17, a family with an annual income of $50,000 can have no tax liability. Incredibly, the bottom 40% of Americans get a check from the government. Rather than pay taxes, they GET money from the government. Where does that money come from? The wealthy! Talk about redistribution of wealth!

    To tell the truth, I’m not so upset by the light load the poor carry (though I don’t think the government should be handing out checks to them), but I agree that the rich carry too much. The solution is a downsizing of the federal government.

    I think the biggest problem to all of this is that when the total tax rate on the wealthy nears 50%, we will be chasing them to countries with less tax burden, or else pushing them into retirement. Say goodbye to our JOBS!

    • The problem is is tnot that the poor carry alight burden, its that they carry NONE. We have put ouselves in a very difficult position in this country when a not insignificant minority can continue to vote itself “bread and circuses” with no consequences to itself.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        I would argue that the poor only bear no burden whatsoever if they have no job with reportable income, and they only purchase things which the government views as necessities, and they do not consume any gasoline or other forms of energy.

        If you have a reportable income, you pay into Social Security and Medicare, regardless of how low that reportable income is. Also, if you buy anything which is not considered a basic necessity, you are required to pay sales tax. Further, if you use any form of energy such as gas or electricity or natural gas or heating oil or whatever, you are taxed on these things as well.

        There MAY be cases in which the poor get back so much excess from the government that it negates ALL taxes that they pay entirely, but I imagine those cases are pretty rare if they exist at all.

        Now, if we are arguing STRICTLY Federal Income Tax, then yes, there are many examples of the “poor” either not paying at all, or getting back far more than they pay in. However, compartmentalization of taxation is a trick.

        ALL taxation is taxation, regardless of what you call it. Therefore it is more accurate to take the sum-total of ALL taxes rather than simply talk about Federal Income Tax and ignore all of the other sources of taxation.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      I have a very modest income, and I am married with 2 kids. With current tax laws, it is very easy for me to pay NOTHING in federal taxes every year (this does not include mandatory social security and medicare contributions), and still get a refund of $2000 – $4000 from the government.

      HOWEVER, the important thing that most people miss, is once you include social security and medicare, I still pay in more than I get back, so I am still technically paying taxes.

  3. Ray Hawkins says:

    Let me first state that is the real Ray – he has not been kidnapped and replaced by an evil twin.

    I abhor the notion of the wealthy paying more in taxes because they are wealthy. Like many, I have worked my ass off to improve my own quality of life and that of my family. I’m not at all that far removed from farmers working the land in the Dakotas – was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth, more so maybe some dirt. As I make more money I see more and more of it vanish in taxes. Bonus time just passed where I work. My gross was awesome! My net? Yikers! WTF happened dudes? Good to know that more and more of my money will not likely go to making a difference in the life of someone else who needs a little push or help to turn the corner – its far more likely to end up wasted.

    And as some of you know that is where I will differ from some of my left leaning brethren. I’m okay with limited social program and I know they need money – and I know that things can be done better and with less money we pour indiscriminately into it – my thinking stays that way until I see solid well worked arguments that convince me the completely free market is the way to go (sidenote to Flag – trying to follow your other blog as time permits – taking a bit more nowadays).

    Anyway – there will always be some aspects of this where the argument flips. Rich guy with bigger house and ginormous yard equals more road to pave and maintain in front of that house. You’re damn right he should pay more in taxes for that than the schlup with 1/8 of an acre (ha – here we go again with the local argument).

    Good article USW.

    Off to find more coffee.

    Thanks,

    Ray

    • Amber alert……Ray has been kidnapped.

      • Mathius says:

        Naw.. I think maybe he has a pirate in his basement who is fighting for control of the keyboard..

        Dread Pirate Hawkins? Doesn’t seem like it. Maybe Apprentice Junior Pirate in Training Hawkins..?

    • Naten53 says:

      The “real Ray” wouldn’t say he had not been kidnapped and then write that, I think Ray has been kidnapped and forced to write this.

      • Naten53 says:

        also, Ray says “good article USW”, where did that come from? It is clear that USW has a fox news bias in this article and everythign should be discounted. Look at those numbers from 2006. How many people filed jointly is missed. Because USW did not say household income everything is meaningless in the article

        • OK, I will bite…why does it have meaning?

          • well the “Average Income Tax Paid Per Taxpayer in this Group” column could be affected by joint returns. if two people file under the top 1% then the amount per taxpayer is halved. Not that the overall point is different, the column should have been named “Average Income Tax Paid Per Tax Return in this Group”

        • To defend Ray… He has commented that I have written a good article several times. He gives credit when he thinks it is due, and he gives grief when he thinks it is due as well.

    • Mathius says:

      I think you created your own Yiddish word there… Shlup – some kind of cross between a schlub (bore/yokel) and a schlump (inept fool). What a great language..

      Ray, I think you may have someone locked in your basement – let him out to play for a little while, I think you’ll find it amusing.

      The reason the wealthy should pay more is from a social utility standpoint – exactly what you were getting at with that last paragraph. The harm done to the wealthy by the increased tax burden is far, far less than the good being done by the redistribution of that tax. Tough, if not impossible to quantify, but very real none-the-less. That tax that meant you can’t afford to buy an iPad means that someone else will be able to feed their children. You, of all people, should understand the need to serve the greater good.

      (yea, yea, yea, go ahead and tear into me for the greater good bit.. bring it!)

      • Matt….why should I bring to you what you are expecting?

        • Mathius says:

          Because if I don’t get blown up when I use that magic phrase, my life loses all meaning. Up becomes down, night becomes day, black becomes white. I lose all sense of time and space. The walls fold into themselves, Red Bull tastes like Dr. Pepper, and the slinky on my desk uncoils itself.

      • “That tax that meant you can’t afford to buy an iPad means that someone else will be able to feed their children.”

        How are you supposed to argue with that?

        I challenge that this is not the case. Not all of those not paying taxes or those getting money from the government are using it for such noble purposes. After all, when the stimulus went through and poor people got a check, there was a rush on lottery tickets and big screen tvs.

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          “The tax that meant that you could not afford an iPad meant that someone else could feed their children.”

          Absolutely 100% totally unabashedly FALSE!

          The tax that meant that I could not afford an iPad meant that the company producing the iPad did not have as much demand for their product as they ordinarily would, which means that they did not require as many employees as they would have if more people who wanted iPads could afford them, which means that there is an indeterminate although finite and positive number of people who SHOULD HAVE BEEN employed, but because I (and others like me) wanted, but could not afford, an iPad due to excessive taxation, these people DID NOT HAVE JOBS.

          Because these people did not have jobs, I (and people like me) were then required to pay EVEN MORE TAXES to feed all of these people which simply could have fed themselves if I (and people like me) could have simply afforded the iPad we wanted in the first place.

          Because my taxes went up even more, I was now unable to afford that flat-screen TV that I wanted. This means that the demand for flat-screen TVs was lower than it should have been absent the excessive taxation. Because of this, people who SHOULD HAVE BEEN employed making flat-screen TVs had no jobs. Because these people had no jobs, I was required to pay EVEN HIGHER TAXES….

          And on and on it goes.

          So, in reality, if taxes were LOWER rather than higher, more people could afford iPads and flat-screen TVs and more people would have jobs, so more people would have adequate food on the table.

          Get it?

          • So your theory of economics states that money taken from you and given to the poor ceases to create demand for goods and services? This causes less employment and a death spiral.

            The poor spend every penny they have.

            All money take from you that makes it to the poor will be spent. Perhaps not on iPads, but on other things like food and basic services (the majority of which are produced locally as opposed to that Japanese TV you wanted to buy). These goods and services need to be produced. People need to be hired to do so.

            Not all the money reaches the intended recipients. That is, there is a loss in the process due to redistribution costs, waste, and fraud.

            While this is true, and unfortunate, the money that leaks out is still spent. The government workers who receive a salary spend that money on goods and services. The money that is wasted is received by someone. That someone will spend it and then it will cycle back into the economy. The same is true for money that leaks out as well.

            • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

              Mathius,

              I have no argument against the demonstrable fact that the poor need to eat. I also have no argument against the fact that nearly all of the poor spend every last dime that they have.

              However, from a purely economic standpoint, having “rich people” give their money to the government, and then having the government give SOME of that money to “poor people” so those people can eat is probably the least efficient means of generating wealth for the society as a whole.

              It would be FAR more efficient to generate good-paying jobs for those people who could then afford to buy their own food without government intervention and all of the associated waste which you mention.

              The key is, you don’t WANT every dollar to simply “make it back into the economy”. You want every dollar that makes it back into the economy to be able to generate EVEN MORE DOLLARS with maximum efficiency.

              What you describe is simply terribly inefficient.

              • Perhaps it’s not efficient, but it does raise the standard of living for the poorest and most vulnerable among us.

                Adding, if you take government out of the equation, you will not have good, high paying job creation, you will have lots of very, very low paying jobs with no benefits. The poor will find themselves in work-houses spending 14 hours a day in unsafe conditions and with breaks to earn $15 a day. Then the poor are born into the system and, because there are no public schools, they go to work at 11 years old, and they can’t escape. Now, you’ve got a caste system in America.

                Perhaps there’s a middle ground?

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                I would argue that if you take government out of the equation, you would have FAR MORE high paying jobs in the economy, not far less.

              • Perhaps but it seems obvious that using government as the predominate tool hasn’t worked.

              • You only say that because you’re too young to remember the bad old days.

                It was that way for most of history. Those with wealth and power gained more wealth and power while those without were given the barest of minimums and kept (deliberately) in abject poverty as de facto slaves to the ruling elite.

              • Take note I said predominate power-I do not take to the idea of not government neither way workd. IMO

              • Was obviously to small to write down here-hopefully you get my meaning and hopefully this post is better 🙂

      • USWeapon says:

        Mathius said: The harm done to the wealthy by the increased tax burden is far, far less than the good being done by the redistribution of that tax.

        USW says: This is exactly what I am talking about Matt. This is a false statement. Because the harm done by inreasing the tax burden is far more that the good being done by redistribution of tax money. I think that you are being a bit shortsighted here. Read Jon Smiths answer above to 4freedoms. There are many other factors you are not taking into account.

        It does no good to redistribute $1000 from the rich to a poor person if the result of that is that jobs are lost, the goods the poor person needs to buy go up in price, and when that poor person finally has the idea for a business to change their fortune, they cannot get a loan because the capital has already been re-distributed.

        And that is the crux of this discussion. You see harm to one that can handle harm, and good for another that needs the good. But you are ingoring all the harm to EVERYONE that comes from taking that money from the wealthy in the first place. Economically it is a losing equation, and that doesn’t even factor in the morality of taking something from the person that earned it.

        • Exactly, USWep

          The “Broken Window Fallacy” strikes again.

          Because no one sees what the stolen money WOULD HAVE BOUGHT, it is never considered in the calculation.

          All that is considered is “how good the stolen money was spent” – as the only measure of good.

          And that is the fallacy.

          By what claim can be made that the thief spends money better than the owner/victim?

        • You stated that so well-Even from the view point of deciding what we as a society should do based on morality must include the whole picture and all the facts and consequences before you can determine what the moral route should be and I don’t see where the moral stance of the greater good can be supported by the backing of a huge government.

    • Yes Ray, the guy with the ginormous house on the huge lot should pay more than the guy with the little house on the 1/8 acre lot. If we assume that the guy with the big house has 1 acre, then he should pay about 8 times as much in taxes, because he HAS 8 times as much, and all is proportional. However, if we are only basing the taxes on road frontage, then who is to say that the guy with only 1/8 of an acre doesn’t have MORE road frontage than the one with 1 acre. If you have ever been to Charleston, SC, then you would see that most of the houses in the oldest parts of town are turned sideways to the street. Property taxes were based on street frontage, so enterprising landonners had narow, but deep lots with what is nominally the side of the house facing the street.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      I think what has actually happened is that Ray has become a victim of a very powerful force. That force is logic. Also, I agree with him to a certain extent that certainly on a local level, if a “wealthy” person requires the use of more resources due to their choices, they should pay for their commensurate use of resources.

    • Welcome to the Dark Side, Ray! 😆

    • Chris Devine says:

      While it may be hard (not impossible) to quantify how much any particular individual uses in government services, the essence of progressive taxation is more than practicality (i.e., those who can afford it pay more). The underlying assumption is that those with more have gotten that way through their own efforts in addition to all those who have made some sort of contribution (public services and private laborers). In order to maintain a stable economy it is necessary to ensure that no link is weakened. Without trained and healthy workers nobody would thrive. Likewise, without incentives for people to take personal economic risk (i.e., investments) there would be no economy.

      It’s all about balance. The means to achieve that balance are what is being debated. The problem is that basic assumptions about what constitutes fair are just as problematic as the accounting practices of apples and oranges. Democracy isn’t pretty and consensus is difficult. But to give up and leap to extremes is just a cop-out in my opinion.

      Cue Black Flag…

  4. As a discussion tool-I will mention the reasoning that I heard on a news program the other night- No an exact quote-going from memory.

    “The lower income people don’t pay income taxes but they do pay S.S. and Med. taxes -these taxes take a much larger bite out of their total income than the same taxes take from the larger income earners.”

    • So?

      • I don’t know it isn’t my argument 🙂 Personally I figure between the rebate checks and the higher percentage of income tax the higher brackets pay -this small point is moot.

        • Understand. Thought you were going elsewhere with that. Have a bodacious day, sir. 🙂

        • Did he just call you sir, V?

          • Manners are always appreciated except when I am talking to someone on the phone and they call me sir-that makes me feel unwomanly 🙂

            • oops…..a maam? Sorrrrrrrrrrryyyyyyyyyyy !!!!

              ( I am bowing ever so humbly in sorrowful misconception** )

              ** please note respectful sweeping of hat in hand and sheepish look, begging foregivness.

      • Mathius says:

        So, it’s called a regressive tax. We on the left generally don’t like those. (though I don’t think SS and Medicare are examples, since they are proportional – maybe the quote was referencing sales taxes and the like?)

        • I really don’t get the argument that sales taxes are regressive. They are based on the sales price of something, and those with more money generally tend to buy more, and therefore spend more on sales taxes. I would argue that it the overly complicated income tax structure that seems to make sales taxes regressive. Most ofthe really rich are business owners, and many of their most expensive purchases are bought for “business expenses”. Sorry, but unless the boat or plane is going to spend most of its time chartered, its a personal expense, and not business.

          • Even artillery guys get it at times….see? All those loud boom boom’s have not hurt you all that much.

            How do you feel about sales taxes (VAT) and no income taxes. That way, the 47% of that don’t pay anything…will only pay their proportionate share on what they buy.

            • This sounds like such a fair way to do things-It would be so easy to charge a lower tax on necessities like food -it would be impossible for people not to pay taxes through criminal activities or loopholes but alas it would take power out of the hands of the government which would be such a shame.

            • Hey , I resemble that remark 😉

              A VAT without an income tax souds suspisously like the “Fair Tax” proposal that us running around. The problem with VAT, is that the final consumer item is taxed multiple times along the way to the store shelf, as all of the raw materials get taxed during the manufacturing process. IIRC, the “Fair Tax” does this as well. I would much prefer to see a flat income tax with no deductions, and no employer witholdings. Make the taxpayer write that check each year and it will be a lot harder to hide how much tax that we are really paying.

              • Relevant point but it seems that people strong in math could find ways to solve this problem and we could still base our tax system on fairness while acknowledging that life sustaining needs are more important than buying a boat.

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                Beware of your own logic trap which you just laid for yourself there… Once YOUR OWN survival needs are taken care of, buying a boat might be VERY IMPORTANT to you, and there is nothing wrong with that in the least.

                If buying a boat is really important to you BEFORE your own survival needs are met, then I would say you have a bit of a problem in that case 🙂

              • I suspect determining what is actually an essential need and would be taxed at a lower rate isn’t anymore complicated than determining which rights can be limited because they impose on someone else’s rights.

              • Correction for BF ,which activities people are claiming as rights that aren’t rights because they imposr on mu rights. Think I stated that correctly. Hope I spelled it correctly since I cannot see what I am doing.

          • Redleg

            It is just another example of how the left changes the meaning of words with continued proclamations.

            The assumption is that the sales tax paid is more hurtful to the poorer person, thus they claim regressive.

            It is thus, feeling or subjective based, not objective or technical.

            • JAC….how many times do I have to tell you to quit being logical this early in the morning? Some have not had their coffee yet.

              How are you today, sir?

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      As I said in an above post, I fall into this type of tax bracket. If you strictly talk about “Federal Tax”, then I get back several thousand more than I pay in…

      If you add in Social Security and Medicare, I pay thousands more than I get back.

      If you add in State, Local, Sales, Gasoline, and the COUNTLESS other taxes that everyone pays, then taxes still make up a VERY SIGNIFICANT portion of my expenditures.

  5. USW…..Unless I am missing the point….(that is not unusual for me)…..it seems that everyone is still going to the basic liberal argument and not comprehending what you wrote….or perhaps I have missed the turn….

    Your point is that it matters not how much the gov takes….it is still going to impact the lower tiered wage earner. It is going to impact them to the point that they become more and more dependent upon the government.

    If I own a business and I pay myself a large salary….and the government takes more of that salary…I will simply raise my profits to keep my salary level where I want it. The ultimate end…the lower wage earner is going to pay for it even if it means that I layoff personnel to keep my salary level where I want it or I export my jobs overseas to lower my costs.

    Consequently, if you tax my business and my salary, I am simply going to pass the costs along as will all the other business owners. Instead of my competition coming from the States…it will come from overseas labor markets. It will also make employing non wage reporting illegals an attractive alternative to employing my own citizens….either way, excessive taxation, in your view point, is going to exacerbate the problem and not hurt the wealthy at all. As a matter of record, if the gov keeps on taxing…I will simply close local operations and move my company overseas…completely…to lower tax havens and cheap labor. The well known Law of Diminishing Returns.

    All this rhetoric about those who have more should pay more simply because they have more is nothing more than hyperbole and smoke screen. Stifling incentive by greater taxes will simply create a much larger class of poor and eventually eliminate the middle class to where you have the banana republics of only a wealthy class that will control everything and a poor class that will control nothing.

    Ummmm…..seeing as I am nothing but a dumb old retired Colonel who knows nothing….do I have you correct?

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      D13,

      You didn’t miss a thing, I believe you pretty much nailed it 100%. Have a Dr. Pepper! 🙂

    • USWeapon says:

      You are on target. Fire for effect!

      • Something else that I have not seen….. Why is profit considered evil? and ….would someone explain and then justify to me, what is excess profit?

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          D13,

          Profit is considered evil by the left because they view the economy as a zero-sum game.

          If you have MORE money, then that can ONLY be because someone else has LESS money!

          This denies all reality of economic growth and expansion of course, but that does not matter to them. To them, the amount of money in an economy is a FIXED quantity. You can ONLY have more if someone else has less.

          Therefore, the concept of “excess profits” which basically theorizes that if you have more than enough money to live on comfortably, someone else MUST (by their definition) have LESS than they need to live on comfortably. Therefore, YOUR “excess” should be taken away and given to them, because that is the ONLY way that both you and they can live comfortably. Profit is evil because the ONLY way you can profit is by DEPRIVING someone else (under this theory).

          The argument is (of course) laden with fallacies, because anyone who is not a complete idiot realizes that a FREE economy is NEVER a zero-sum game. Since no economies are demonstrably FREE, they can point to the existing CONTROLLED economies (all of which are at BEST zero-sum games, and more likely are machines which are designed to DESTROY wealth within a society rather than create it). When they point to these CONTROLLED economies, they say, “See, if you have MORE than you need, someone else MUST have LESS than they need, so your profit is excessive!”

          This whole line of argument is laughably easy to shoot down, but most people have been completely snowballed into believing that the ecomony is (at best) a zero-sum game, so they don’t even realize how easily the entire argument can be proven to be false.

          • Excellent observation PeterB.

            It seems to me, although I am certainly not in a position to speak for those on the left, that this is a belief that they hold. The idea that wealth is a zero sum game, and thus must be distributed somewhat equally for survival.

            If that were true, we would be in a world of hurt, because the amount of wealth in the United States at its formation could not support a single major city in today’s America.

            I wonder if you find time over the next several weeks if you might expand on this a bit, sharing the insight that refutes this belief. I think the debate over whether wealth is a zero sum game would make a great guest commentary.

            USW

  6. Off point…but significant…. Stupak resigning.

    • Even more off point….Obama and Pelosi on TV begging him to stay.

      • I wonder, is he actually going to leave or is this a ploy to create sympathy-we all know that Americans tend to pull for the underdog.

        • Actually, I just saw a portion of his announcement. He says he is scared. I see a ploy to the public how sinister this Tea Party movement is….forcing these Senators to leave office. I see it as a major play to be called in November. He will resign but fall on the sword.

          • I suspect he was scared of the crazies on the left when he wasn’t going to vote for the health care bill but the evil of the crazies on the right simply is just too much for him. Sad we have crazies at all but we do -just a little tired of all being accused of being crazies.

          • Scared…. or resigned to the fact that he is in a fairly conservative district and absolutely zero chance of being re-elected in November. Better to resign than lose the election as the incumbent.

            What I will be interested to see is whether he will be offered a high level position in the Obama administration. Perhaps the offer has already been floated to him……

            As for painting the tea party as radical this is absolutely part of the ploy here. What is interesting to me is that they feel they are scared of something radical. The reality is that they are for the first time seeing that there may actually be some grave consequences for ruling rather than representing. That scares the shit out of them.

            USW

  7. I’m curious what everyone thinks of this.

    The tax rate on an individual can be reduced by an amount equal to the amount of money given to charity up to a total of the amount of their taxes that would go to social programs. That way, the rich are still giving money to the poor, but they can choose who gets to benefit from their giving rather than letting the government choose and possibly give it to people who decide not to work and sit on a welfare check.

    Any takers?

    Interestingly, didn’t the government just reduce the amount people can deduct on charitable donations? How exactly does that help “the greater good?”

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      JB

      Reducing the amount that people can deduct on charitable donations serves the “greater good” because the government knows what is “good” for the people, and the ignorant masses have no idea what is “good” for the people, so giving to charity is BAD, because charity is not the government, and is therefore ignorant as to what is “good” for the people!

      • Or looked at a different way -if individuals are forced to give less to charity, then the government has more of a reason to claim they have to give more and more and more so they can take more and more until they have complete control of all the money which leads to complete control of us. And it is not a slippery slope argument, Matt, it is an accurate picture of our history.

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          Our history is replete with actual slippery slopes which we have been sliding down for MANY years now. That is why many people don’t like “slippery slope” arguments. They are far too easy to demonstrate as being patently true.

          • They do seem to be just dismissed as irrelevant without any attempt to prove they are wrong.

            • Which seems odd when they use science as a basis for so many of their arguments-Slippery Slope-usually can be proven through observable data.

    • JB,

      This is a very interesting concept. Is it your own or is someone actually proposing this? It would be worth exploring a little more in depth.

      USW

    • Chris Devine says:

      That’s the major argument for the estate tax. By allowing exemptions for charitable donations it encourages the wealthiest Americans to give back to the community instead of just their own offspring.

  8. Great article, again. Not only is the tax hike passed onto the consumers – businesses lay off workers (or send jobs overseas), increase the labor burden on the retained workers and cut expenses (meaning less capital outlay to support other businesses). This all results in an underpaid, overworked, over-taxed middle class with no options. That, and an increase in unemployment benefits, which drives up taxes on the middle class even further.

    If you leave the “reward failure” morality out of the picture, it’s still breathtakingly obvious.

    Property taxes are higher on luxury properties than they are on Beavis’s single wide, for which he paid no real value taxes as his income was too low and he received a nice federal tax refund, more than offsetting his local/state property tax rate….or Butthead’s Section 8 condo with cable and utilities thrown in for free for which she was not taxed at all.

    “Tax the rich, feed the poor, ’til there are no rich no more…” – Ten Years After – good hippie dippie song….

    And a good Friday to you all!

  9. I have to argue about the corporation will just pass the added cost to the consumer. Sometimes it just doesnt make sense for the consumer to pay a higher price and they won’t.

    I have posted in the past that my family, me alone now, has owned a commercial laundry since the 50’s. Airlines linen was our niche. Millions of pieces per year. The airlines can buy a brand new piece of linen for 25 cents/pc. I cleaned that piece for 13 cents. I cannot just continue to raise my price because my tax continues to rise. It just doesn’t work that way. If I raise my price as fast as taxes go up my price to clean one piece is more than the price of a new piece of linen. The airlines won’t pay it. Therefore any added tax comes directly out of my profit. In 16 years I was able to raise my price only once and that was by 2 cents/pc.

    On top of that- The airlines have an independent laundry in every city in the country. I was fortunate for years in that my city is a hub for NW Airlines. I had the highest production in the country for NW by far. They went bancrupt but we continued to do business for 3 years until they had to start cutting costs. A nationwide chain was awarded the contract at half my price. They kept me for a full year after the rest of the country was switched to the new guy because I gave them an exceptional service. In the end I still got swallowed up just like so many other mom & pops around the country no matter what the business. Off the top of my head I can name 4 other families in my city who’s businesses have also been swallowed up.

    The point is it doesn’t always work to just pass added costs onto the consumer. So tell me again- how much should I have to pay in tax. I paid….with my entire business.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      I believe if you read the article carefully, USW is NOT arguing that the costs will be passed on to the consumer in every case.

      In many cases, like yours, your profit is indeed cut because you simply CANNOT raise the price to the consumer. However, in the article USW points out that what then happens is that you are unable to hire more workers, or you go out of business entirely, or you take your business to a place where the cost of doing business is lower, such as a foreign country. All of these things are a negative economic impact. That was part of USW’s main point in his post. No matter what happens (higher cost to the consumer, lower job creation, closure of business, or movement of business to a foreign country), NONE of those options is beneficial to the economy, and all are a potential negative consequence of increasing taxes on business owners.

    • Anita,

      Peter said it correctly above. I don’t believe that all businesses will react in the same way. Some will raise prices. Others will reduce the workforce. Others will move overseas. Yet others will end up forced to close down the business altogether. NONE of these possible results are good for the economy or for the poor and middle classes that will be hardest hit by them. That is the point of my article, that no matter what moral argument is made, the economic argument says increasing the tax burden on the rich hurts the middle and lower classes in some way more than it helps them.

      Thanks for sharing your story. It is a perfect example of what I am talking about.

      USW

  10. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    I find it interesting (and somewhat horrifying) that such a huge number of the 1960’s anti-government anti-establishment “radicals” are now the most pro-government Statist control freaks that have ever existed in the history of the country, and right now in large part they have control of the country.

    • I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who’s very concerned about that. Most people haven’t noticed. Worse still, they don’t want to hear about it.

    • They’re just acting now how they believed “the man” acted in the 60s. So because they believed that everybody watns to “stick it to the man” like they did, now that they’re in power they have to prevent us from doing it.

  11. D13 said:

    All this rhetoric about those who have more should pay more simply because they have more is nothing more than hyperbole and smoke screen. Stifling incentive by greater taxes will simply create a much larger class of poor and eventually eliminate the middle class to where you have the banana republics of only a wealthy class that will control everything and a poor class that will control nothing.

    Thank you, D13. Finally! – someone brought this back to the point and away from the billiard ball-bouncing between various regulatory concretes. Leftists love when this invariably happens. USWeapon, you did a beautiful job of laying out the economic case. But this “billiard ball problem” will always happen as long as you don’t make the the full *moral* case for capitalism.

    Individual rights per our constitution are the bedrock for our economic freedom. Like love and marriage, you can’t have one without the other. Notice above that the opposing view *assumes* altruistic collectivism as the proper moral premise. Without your giving the proper moral argument, you inadvertently concede him the moral high ground. Now you know the answer as to why you can’t get through to these people when you lay out the reasonable economic case alone. They dismiss you as a moral hypocrite (by their moral terms).

    Economically, an across the board flat tax percentage would solve the problem of a “fair percentage of tax payments” for every American.

    But again, the arguments to be desperately made today can be found in two articles, “Individual Rights” and “The Nature of Government” by Ayn Rand. Read those, then speak.

    If you don’t want to just complain about the liberal Left, then be willing to say, “No more sacrifices in the name of the collective.” Be willing to demand that the redistributionist state be dismantled through repeal and reform and that protection of your individual rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness be restored.

    • Janet and D13,

      I think the middle class is deliberately being targeted for elimination. The middle class has its own ideas about things. It is at odds with the ‘grand plan’ of our political ‘leaders’. Everytime I’ve memtioned this to my friends, they scoff. Can’t they see what’s going on around them? Why take my word for it?

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        Who is easiest to control?

        The Elites control each other, by building the societal mechanisms to control “the masses”. The masses are generally easily controlled. Feed them, water them, keep them comfortable, and they conform.

        The middle class is the last vestige of humanity capable of A) thinking for themselves and B) questioning the need or desireability of conforming to what the elites wish for the masses to do.

        The middle class is by far the hardest segment of the population to control. It would be unsurprising if the elites wished to eliminate the middle class as a grand inconvenience.

        • Cyndi P says:

          Well said, PeterB,

          But I wonder WHY so many middle class Americans STILL don’t see what’s being done to them. From what I can tell, there is a sizable portion who supports the regime. I suspect these individuals may not be capable of thinking for themselves and that as long as they have food, water and are comfortable, they really don’t care.

          • Cindi,

            Your observations re: disappearing middle class are good ones. But your phrasing indicates there is a “class” that is conspiratorial. Be careful not to unwittingly accept and argue from Marxist premises yourself. The erosion of America by a growing welfare state does indicate a rise of “class”. But at the beginning and heart of America we are in essence a classless society. We are a society of contract law. As individiuals we can draw up a contract with any individual, rich or poor, negotiate terms. Our courts were meant to strive for objective standards if dispute of contract needed to be taken and justice administered by them. It’s true we are far from that today, and moving farther. We have to restore with the right ideas, values.

            • i Janet,

              You said:
              But your phrasing indicates there is a “class” that is conspiratorial. Be careful not to unwittingly accept and argue from Marxist premises yourself.

              Am I to believe that the circumstances we find find ourselves in presently are “accidental”????

              😯

              • No, Cyndi, not conspiratorial nor accidental. They are ideological. They are defined by their fundamental world view and their view of man’s nature. They live second-hand; reality is thru impressing and manipulating others. They gravitate toward being bureaucrats or rubbing elbows with them. They tend to be mediocrities who prefer a safe, “too big to fail” existence — at your expense. They are people who envy their betters and who yearn and lust for power over others. Their most fundamental premises are collectivism and altruism. They expect to collect the sacrifices of more productive men and women of ability.

    • Janet

      You have received my highest award

      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Best Regards
      JAC

    • Great article USW and great post Janet!

      • Thanks, for the compliment, Kathy. And, again, thanks to our moderator, US Weapon.

        I see below that some are struggling to integrate, express and, I assume, apply some of the principles that Ayn Rand made in her fiction and non-fiction writings regarding the role of egoism, i.e., rational self-interest. (Not to be confused with egotism. Egoism and egotism, between them both lies all the difference in the world.

        Kelly made the great point that what is indispensable to a free society and economy is that it be largely composed of thinking people, that rational standards are the ones valued everyone tries to adhere to. Otherwise we get competing political special interest pressure groups (collectivistic) like we have today. We have to repeal the bureaucracy and restore the republic.

  12. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    I will tell you all succinctly and clearly what the absolute biggest problem with “From each according to his abilities – to each according to his needs” is.

    It is in the nature of all human beings that to take a risk requires a reward. All living beings prize survival above all else. Risk-taking is generally at least potentially detrimental to survival. At the very least, risk taking is a potential threat to one’s comfort.

    In a society that actually lives by “from each according to his abilities – to each according to his needs”, one of the main incentives to take risk is eliminated. If we are assured that our own basic needs will be met, and we are also assured that the basic needs of others will be met (primarily by using funding provided by (actually taken from) those with greater abilities, then the incentive to produce to the maximum of one’s own ability is greatly reduced, if not eliminated.

    Living beings are PRIMARILY motivated by things that will increase their own odds of survival. They are secondarily motivated by things that will increase their own odds of surviving comfortably. The survival and comfort of the remainder of the species beyond the individual is only tertiary at best. We have an understanding at a root level that the survival of the rest of the species is beneficial to us, but we DO NOT ACT on that realization until our own survival is assured, and we are relatively comfortable in that assessment of our own situation.

    If we have a realization that the entire society is essentially guaranteed the exact same level of comfortable survivability, it is simply the nature of living things that we are not going to take further risks, since they will not provide a direct benefit to us INDIVIDUALLY. Living beings see spread-out benefit to “society” as a totally INDIRECT and non-individual benefit, and so we do not place nearly as high a value on it as we do on direct, individual benefits.

    That is not “selfish capitalism”, it is merely biology.

    • Amen – Peter – someone has to make the biggie fries. John Adam stressed there would always be a “natural aristocracy among mankind.” Our abilities and gifts are not equal, however, by removing the impetus to “take risks” for survival and comfort, as you say, removes those very gifts from society.

      This to the detriment of not merely the individual, but to society as a whole.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        Yes, you see, for EVERY INDIVIDUAL regardless of species, the PRIMARY needs are one’s own survival, followed by one’s own ability to survive comfortably.

        For this very reason, it is easily demonstrated that from a biological and realistic standpoint, “the needs of the many outweight the needs of the one” is a complete logical fallacy.

        It would be a complete paradigm shift for any species to accept that the needs of a broad collective outweighed their own individual needs.

        If you tell me, “doing all of these things might hurt you individually, but it will be of great benefit to society!”, I am going to respond, “That is great in theory, but is of no benefit to me if I am not personally around to enjoy it.”

        Further, if you tell me, “doing all of these things is of great benefit to society, and is also the BEST way to ensure your own survival and comfort!” I am going to respond, “Sufficient proof has yet to be presented that what you are proposing is even possible.”

        • Precisely.

          Denying the freedom of the individual to provide and think for themselves, society as a whole is repressed. There is no encouragement of brilliance or aptitude. Mediocrity is not only accepted, but embraced as the easiest path because, not only life, but lifestyle is guaranteed, in the guise of government, and will be furnished to everyone as a “right.”

          Joseph Conrad wrote “No, I don’t like work. I had rather laze around and think of all the fine things that can be done…..but I like what is in the work – the chance to find yourself.”

    • Peter

      Bringing Mr. Maslow to the party I see.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        Yes JAC, mine is not a completely original argument on this subject, but I do think that it is a fairly accurate one.

        Should I use a footnote and cite Maslow as a reference for clarity?

        🙂

        • Peter

          NO! If you did that then you couldn’t paraphrase or summarize without being accused of being a liar and a fraud by the likes of Cesca.

          Maslow’s triangle was one of the first “light going off” events for me. Seemed to make perfect sense and consistent with my own experiences.

          🙂 🙂

  13. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    I can also tell you succinctly why the world of Star Trek is (and will always be) complete and utter fiction. The world of Star Trek requires free access to unlimited resources. This will NEVER be reality. Obtaining resources ALWAYS has associated costs, and resources are NEVER infinite.

    You will notice that in the world of Star Trek, they never mention how much it costs to build an enormous fleet of Starships or who pays for it or how. They never mention how they get their supply of Dilithium crystals. They never mention if there are any costs or environmental impacts of obtaining said energy form. All of this is conveniently omitted.

    Of COURSE if we had access to unlimited resources at no cost, we probably WOULD explore space “just for the hell of it” because we would literally have nothing better to do!

    However, in REALITY, NECESSITY is the mother of all invention and the source of all innovation. In the science FICTION world of Star Trek, all necessity has been miraculously eliminated, but you will notice that there is NEVER any mention of HOW all necessity was miraculously eliminated and what the associated costs of anything actually ARE.

    Such a world is only possible if you have nearly infinite resources at nearly no costs whatsoever.

    • USWeapon says:

      What a great post Peter! I have thought that same thing myself at times. I had a conversation with someone about this a couple of years ago where I pointed out that what was missing from the Star Trek series was government killing the innovation needed for STar Trek’s world to exist. The series never mentioned the poor guy who spent 40 years testing and developing an alternative energy source and eventually ended up creating the photon torpedo. The government then stepped in and said they needed to take the rights to the product of his years of labor in order to counter the imminent threat from other species out there.

      They also never mentioned the cell phone company that was looking to find a more reliable network with faster download speeds for data. They struggled and struggled for years to find a competitive advantage over those assholes at AT&T and Verizon. Then one day… a breakthrough! They had invented that nifty little communicator that could not only talk across the country easily without cell towers, but could talk to ships outside of the atmosphere if needed! Big brother took that too. After all, the greater good needed to be served.

      I can’t even imagine how bad the guy got screwed for coming up with the technology that allowed one to be “beamed” to the planet’s surface! He got rich at first, but the progressives moved in. He was taxed to death. He had begun work on researching an improvement that would allow teleporting all the way from earth to a stationary ship far out in the galaxy, eliminating the need for ships to return to port for troop replenishment or parts replacement. But after the tax demons got him him for the money he made on the original device, he didn’t have the money to continue R & D. So he scrapped the almost working machine and left it in a warehouse, where Dagny Taggert found it years later, a rusted shell missing a key component.

      • C’mon, guys. Get off the Star Trek stuff, back to real earth and the subject of your original article. Star Trek is just fiction – enjoyable as it may be. In a fiction story, as a reader, you accept many things as “the given” in order to just get on with the point of the story, or episode as the case may be.

        • Oh, need to add — especially since Star Trek is science fiction *fantasy* genre. Don’t get me wrong, I like it too — it’s just that’s what it is.

        • USWeapon says:

          Just adding a bit of humor to the conversation.

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          Janet,

          The Star Trek “stuff” is vitally important.

          The “idealists” who truly believe that “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one” want us to model our little collective after the society of “Star Trek”. So, it is CRUCIAL that everyone implicitly understand that the only way possible to have that society is to have unlimited resources with absolutely no cost.

          Having unlimited resources with absolutely no cost is…

          impossible!

          Therefore, the dream of the collectivist idealists is also impossible.

          Most kinds of idealism are not good. They have a tendency to distort the current reality and make the idealists incapable of dealing with the current reality in a rational manner.

  14. Judy Sabatini says:

    Here Comes the Biggest Sales Tax You’ve Ever Seen

    By Andrea Tantaros

    – FOXNews.com

    The Obama administration is creating a crisis so that they can solve it with a mechanism that will serve as the catalyst for future spending on their massive government programs. And even though our president said he wouldn’t raise taxes on 95% of Americans while he was on the campaign trail, get ready for the “VAT” — a move that would raise taxes on everyone.

    A new and ugly phrase has recently made its way into the vernacular in this country: the Value Added Tax or VAT tax. But don’t let the term fool you. The “values” that accompany this legislative fungus are perverse and only “valuable” to the spending obsessed, socialist liberals who support them.

    A VAT is a sales tax imposed on every level of a product’s path from production to consumption. It already exists in Europe and many other struggling countries around the world. It’s a sneaky sucker, too, since it’s essentially built in ahead of time and doesn’t show up on a receipt like a sales tax would. If a VAT were in place that iPad you just bought would be $600 instead of $500.

    A VAT would pull in massive revenues. Just think: a 10% VAT would produce 1 trillion in revenues. Cash register sounds go off in the minds of every leftist that hears it.

    Obama and the Democrats are spending SO much that they’ll be forced to invoke a VAT. They are creating a crisis so that they can solve it with a mechanism that will serve as the catalyst for future spending on their massive government programs. And even though our president said he wouldn’t raise taxes on 95% of Americans while he was on the campaign trail, this move would raise taxes on everyone.

    Here’s how it’ll go down. This week, we heard former Fed Chairman Paul Volker float the VAT trial balloon just this week in a speech at the New York Historical Society, saying it was “not a toxic idea.” Then, on Thursday, current Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernake mentioned it in a speech — but only after he said we are on an unsustainable course with our record high deficits.

    When questioned thus far about a possible VAT for America the White House has been quiet, only mildly denying that it’s an imminent option. But doesn’t mean it won’t be under consideration in a few months.

    What Obama will say is that he is putting together a commission to find a way to pay down our country’s maxed out credit card.

    Expect that commission to recommend the VAT tax after the 2010 midterm elections. By then, we’ll be on the verge of Greece-like catastrophe and we’ll have no choice but to impose a VAT. But only one that will, coincidentally, go into effect after the 2012 presidential election.

    Worse yet – a VAT tax will create a lobbyist feeding frenzy just like the sales tax did.

    Right now, special interests across the country – that’s everyone from insurers to car makers to potato growers to soda companies — are wondering if they’ll be exempt from the tax or included. Believe me, they’ll spend millions to ensure they aren’t. It’ll be a special interest circus. Just watch.

    The Obama administration was supposed to keep lobbyists away from government, not lure them in with their socialist revenue raising tricks.

    Further, we are a nation of consumers. It’s what we do best. Unlike Germany and Japan who rely largely on exports to run their economies, 70% of our economy is fueled by consumer-based spending. It would be insanity to punish American consumers with a tax that’s bound to impair that beacon of growth.

    This is a sobering moment. Literally and figuratively. Not only does it mark the end to every reason our ancestors left their countries to seek a better life in a free and prosperous society, the good folks in Washington will also be taxing our liquor even more leaving us with nothing to numb the pain.

    • Again…I simply will pass the VAT on to the consumer…..if I were selling widgets. Talk about regressive. Look at Europe…why anyone would want to emulate that continent is beyond me….that is why we left the first time.

    • Great post, Judy. The VAT would be a disaster. We need a fair across the board flat tax if we have federal taxes. The argument has been made that when better ideas influence a society than what we have today, when we have a better educational system that fosters thinking people who can better project and conceptualize long-range — only then could we consider something like more use of lotteries and voluntary payment of taxes. More rational, benevolent-minded people would easily see the value of the few legitimate services (police, courts, national defense) and be willing and patriotically proud to pay a share of taxes. But that is a long way off today, and hard for many to concieve of as practical.

    • Chris Devine says:

      There are many arguments for and against a VAT. The arguments for it include that producers pay less than the final consumer and the administrative burden falls primarily on the businesses who collect it. The arguments against it include the assumption that it encourages cash transactions under the table in order to avoid it. To discourage UTT dealings businesses are required to charge VAT in order to recoup their own tax payments.

      We have the VAT where I live. I’m conflicted about whether I like it or not. On one hand VAT for me is around 21%, but the income tax is much lower in the bottom tax brackets. Ireland is a VERY business friendly country. At what cost is up for debate.

  15. Ahhhhh, back in the “Olde Homestead” . . . Until around mid-November at least. I sure have missed the big desk-top monster that lets me use my own name instead of an internet moniker.

    As I have stated most vehemently in times past – I am for a flat rate earnings tax and nothing else will do!

    I figure it this way – If we must pay a tax, then we all should pay fairly and of our own free will. A flat rate earnings tax with no exemptions and no deductions for anyone or any organization is the only way to be absolutely fair.

    All this talk about having the rich pay more just because they have more is pure Marxism. If the government is going to take every penny you make from your hard work and give it to those who refuse to work, then why work?

    With all that he has done to screw us since he got elected, Obama is the “Robbing-Hood” of America = taking from everyone else and keeping it to himself.

    We need to institute an interim type of election so that we can enter a “Vote of NO confidence” so that the LMSM cannot ignore the will of the people.

    Just my not-so-humble opinion.

    • I am much more comfortable with a tax on products one buys which can be adjusted for necessary life sustaining items- the tax would still be equal and fair for everyone but it would be based on something more than just money.

      • V.H.

        So what tax on products?

        On food and medicine, why or why not?

        How much? 10%, 20%?

        So I’m poor, and can’t leave the US and have to pay an average of 40% tax on all the goods.

        You’re rich and can leave the US with your money and you pay *nothing* on your goods.

        Is that fair?

        • Are you arguing the choice between different taxes or in the fairness of taxes at all? If we are going to tax-I have already stated my reasoning -the how and how much I simply don’t have the information to determine.

          • V.H.,

            The point is straight.

            Taxation is taking from someone what is theirs and giving it to someone who did not earn it.

            This is basic.

            Thus, it is a zero-sum game of suffering.

            I injure this person to help this person who did not earn it.

            No matter what tax, how it is applied, in what form upon who or what product must hurt someone

            Someone, somewhere, has their money forcefully taken from them.

            And, almost everyone when discussing taxation ignores this victim – he simply has no voice and is never considered.

            All taxation is evil because it harms innocent people

            • We have indeed had this conversation before -I still do not believe it fits the definition of stealing if the taxes only go toward things that all in society arrive benefits from and can’t be supplied by a private industry. National defense I believe fits my definition. I’m sure you will proceed to tell me why I am wrong-I await your response 🙂

              • V.H.

                I’ve pointed out before that militias are more then enough, and historically been provided by private funding.

                Please provide why you think DEFENSE requires theft.

              • You are turning the tables on me, my friend and I think you may have taxed my brain enough for one day 🙂 but here goes.-I look at the size of the world and I take note of the prevalent hate and I see the need for a large, coordinated military. To my mind that requires a very large military that has the ability to enforce rules and to keep secrets when necessary. I don’t think a private industry should have the ability to decide what can be kept secret -or needs to grow that big and have that kind of power. I may not have a lot of power with the government but I do have some.

              • I meant-I do not have a lot of power over the government but I have some.

    • A flat rate earnings tax with no exemptions and no deductions for anyone or any organization is the only way to be absolutely fair

      Why is this fair?

      I earn $20,000 of which $10,000 goes to housing, $5,000 to food, and the rest of $5,000 is somehow stuffed into gas, clothes and shoes for the kids. And you want government to take $2,000 out of all that…leaving $3,000 for gas/clothes…etc.

      You earn $200,000 of which $20,000 goes to housing, $10,000 to food and the rest of the $130,000 is “somehow” stuffed into gas for your Ferrari and Gucci’s for the kids and, oh, $20,000 for the government – so only $110,000 for gas for the Ferrari and Gucci’s for the kids.

      And to you –that’s fair

      • Yep, get some skin in the game and you’ll become a better player.

        • But I don’t want to be a better player, I have other goals then merely economic success – so why do you punish me?

          • As a better player, you’ll fight against them. When you are on the outside looking in (with your hands spread open) you’ll never care that others are paying your way.

      • Yessir…totally fair. You do not like any taxes. BUT..you throw me here, sir. Your post seems to fly in the face of everything you espouse. You have always siad, or I thought you have, that taking more from anyone that has been successful is wrong. Why should there be a progressive tax on the more affluent? Seems to me that puts more of a burden on the rich which I thought you claimed otherwise. If there is a flat tax with no deductions….everyone pays. The more that I make…the more that I pay.

        • Yessir…totally fair

          Whose measure? Yours? Well, that ain’t fair! Who made you King and Lord?

          By MY measure (which is as valid as yours) it ain’t fair!

          • Didn’t you get the memo? There is always 10% that do not get the word. I don’t wish to be Lord but King will suffice…. That is as fair as anything going on now….

            But…taxes, according to the doctrine of BF, is tantamount to theft. But, you will pull the mantra that more taxation is ok? So the greater amount of money that one has…th greater amount of theft….the taking of money by force, which you despise……

            I am confused….this appears to be a double standard…..unless, of course you wish to declare YOURSELF King and change your tune.

            • D13,

              according to the doctrine of BF, is tantamount to theft.

              No, it is theft

              l taking of another person’s property without that person’s freely-given consent

              I’m really confused why you are so muddled over the definition?

              So the greater amount of money that one has…th greater amount of theft….the taking of money by force, which you despise……

              I am confused….this appears to be a double standard…..unless, of course you wish to declare YOURSELF King and change your tune.

              So, let me get this straight from you.

              Because the thief steals your VW, – to be fair – you think he should steal my Ferrari?

              Or are you saying that because he stole your VW, he has a right to steal my kid’s bicycle?

              • USWeapon says:

                I think what he is saying is that your post is confusing. What your post seems to be saying is that you don’t think it is fair that the rich don’t pay more. That would go against what you would usually say. In this thread you seem to espouse that the rich can afford to and should pay more. Usually you would say that taxes are theft and no one should pay them. That seems to be a contradiction.

                What I got from your post above is that you were arguing a hypothetical as opposed to your actual beliefs, thus making a point, not contradicting your previous musings. But that was not obvious in what you wrote. It seemed as though you had changed your tune about taxes in general.

                Make sense?

              • Me, change my belief about theft? You jest, old friend.

                No, simply highlighting the inherent contradictions of the “fairness” of tax.

                “Fair” is completely personal. I might not think its fair for him to live in a house – maybe he doesn’t think its fair he doesn’t live in a mansion.

                Claiming this type of theft is more “fair” than that type of theft is really bizarre, akin to saying being killed with a shot to the head is better than two shots to the head. The first one is “more fair” to the head.

                There is no such thing as a “Fair” tax. If any of the “Right” or “Republicans” bet your argument on that regarding taxes – Mathius and Buck will burn you alive and eat your lunch while doing it!

                There exists no such thing as a “good” tax, a “fair” tax or any adjective you want to put in front of it, except “evil”.

                All taxes are evil.

                They destroy one part of the economy to benefit another.

                They harm an innocent person to the benefit of someone who did not earn the benefit.

                The goal is not finding a “better way” to tax – it is to eliminate tax altogether, across the board, everywhere.

              • USWeapon says:

                LOL…

                Fear not Pirate. I had no illusions that you had changed your belief about taxes. I merely wanted to clarify that I thought D13 didn’t understand you were making a point rather than changing your position.

                To your point. I am pondering. Will reply when I sort it out in my head.

              • Thank you. I reread it and it is still confusing. But, if he was using it as a hypothetical..it still does not make sense but I will digress…..the same as he took the word tantamount literally.

        • The flat tax in an economically free society is fair. The progressive tax is the economically egalitarian tax — i.e.., it is the Marxist tax — each according to his ability to each according to his needs. If you accept progressive, altrusitic (sacrifical tax) you are inadvertantly accepting Marxist terms, thanks to our government-run schools.

          We have political freedom (or did) in America to contract with anyone or entity we want. We have political equality in front of the law. Do not let yourself fall into this package-deal equivocation between economic and political equality. They are vastly different in fundamentals, and you will be arguing from your opponents’ Marxist premises if you do. Learn the distinction and it will clear up your thinking on this point. It will help you promote freedom, political and economic better.

          • Janet,

            Please prove how you idea would be more/less fair than any idea Matt or Buck would provide.

            Fair is SUBJECTIVE.

            It’s like a color – you like blue, Matt likes red.

            Try proving him wrong that his favorite color is red…..

            “Fair” is in merely in your mind.

            Further, accepting any tax means you accept Marxian principles even your “fair” tax.

            Your acceptance means that people who did NOT earn the money are BETTER at spending the money

            • First, objectivity is not a matter of preferred *tastes* in colors, or anything else. It is much, much more serious and fundamental than that. (Why would me or anybody in their right mind want to *prove* someone *wrong* about their favorite color?

              BTW – your last assertion about my views is wrong, untrue. And paying taxes, especially voluntary ones (see comments I’ve made in above posts)are not *all* Marxist-based premises, but progressive taxes certainly are.

              Today, people can only see “fair” in terms of subjective standards. We have the post-modern philosophies that came out of mid-18th Century Europe that influenced our government-run schools, particularly our institutions of “higher learning” to thank for that.

              The new discoveries in epistemology discovered by Ayn Rand (see Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology) would restore an accurate understanding of what “objectivity” and what it is not, and why it is so crucial for an individual or a society as a whole to have them and value them.

      • *Sigh*

        Good afternoon, BF!

        To make it “fair” it has to be a percentage . . . NOT a specific dollar amount. Kapish!?!

        Our church – like most religious institutions – recommends tithing 10% (recommends – NOT demands). Also, I have heard that the Christian Bible also recommends tithing 10% as well as other religions. (This little tidbit was just to give you some idea as to what a percent amount might be based on – BASED not demanded)

        So, say, if we agree (an overwhelming majority and not absolutely everyone in the entire universe) on 10% of our earnings – personal income, business income, all earned monies – why would that not be fair? PLEASE do not go into your million page dissertation as to why YOU think all taxes ain’t fair . . . I still haven’t finished your first book on the subject (methinks me might be done on or about the time good old Sol goes nova) 😉

        I, personally, do not like paying taxes. My old man lost the house, business, car and everything because he refused to pay taxes – the only reason they didn’t lock him up was because he was way too old for the chain gang. He died two years after. However, if we have to pay our government its leach money, then I say that it be based on a small percentage and there be no deductions, no exemptions for anyone or any thing. We ALL should pay.

        • G.A.

          Hope you don’t mind me jumpin in, but I’ve been researching the Federal Income Tax issue for some time and hope to provide a good guest article about it. That’s a ways away though.

          My investigation has turned up some interesting facts that few would know. I have much more to discover, but for the most part, I don’t believe that we should pay Federal taxes. Corporate taxes are based on profits, but how can they claim that labor, for a set price, equals profit? I believe your labor is a personnal asset that should never be taxed, after all, if your labor is taxed, it’s just a matter of time before we pay a “flush Tax” for everytime we go to the head.

          As an example, if the market says my labor is worth $12 bucks an hour, but I make $15, it is a $3 profit, and that should be treated the same as a Corporation, I would be taxed on $3, not on the full $15. The $12 an hour should been seen as a business expense, which is not taxed.

          Just my take on things.

          Peace my Friend!

          G!

        • Papa,

          Good afternoon, BF!

          And to you, good sir!

          To make it “fair” it has to be a percentage . . . NOT a specific dollar amount. Kapish!?!

          Why?

          Because you say so?

          For me, Mr. Red Flag, says – “no, it has to be a percentage of discretionary income, minus living expense – plus “luxury” costs divided by your age! – yeah, that’s fair!

          Also, I have heard that the Christian Bible also recommends tithing 10% as well as other religions. (This little tidbit was just to give you some idea as to what a percent amount might be based on – BASED not demanded)

          Well, Red Flag heard that people who believe in “God” aren’t that good in math, so “God” simplified the calculation for them to reap the largest benefit.

          So, say, if we agree (an overwhelming majority and not absolutely everyone in the entire universe) on 10% of our earnings – personal income, business income, all earned monies – why would that not be fair? PLEASE do not go into your million page dissertation as to why YOU think all taxes ain’t fair

          Ok, no million pages, just one sentence.

          “Because I don’t” – now prove me wrong.

          I, personally, do not like paying taxes.

          No rational person likes theft.

          My old man lost the house, business, car and everything because he refused to pay taxes

          I like him!

          However, being a martyr in a world that doesn’t give a hoot about the Right and Wrong is a sad waste.

          But I like him!

          – the only reason they didn’t lock him up was because he was way too old for the chain gang. He died two years after. However, if we have to pay our government its leach money, then I say that it be based on a small percentage and there be no deductions, no exemptions for anyone or any thing. We ALL should pay.

          Yes, it should be as little as possible and NONE OF us should pay a dime.

          • We must abide by the laws. But if laws get passed that are unfair, unjust, non-objective then sooner or later the people of that society must come to their senses straighten out the mess and start looking to repeal and replace them with more sensible laws. Today, this is the state that the tax code regulations are in.

            Re: “fairness” and more ‘objective”: The question that begs to be asked, how much realistically should it take to run the police, court system and national defense? With a better defined criteria, we can get a better sense of how much a percentage for taxes would be equitable.

            But today’s bloated welfare redistributionist state entitlements distort all of this.

            • We must NOT abide by the law, simply because it is the law.

              We are responsible for our own actions – including those actions that are evil but are compelled by demand of law.

              Laws, even the most vile, are near-impossible to repeal.

              And then, the hardest – is to convince the people that the law should be repealed. Most do not care about vile laws that do not directly apply to themselves.

              We must remember – it is critical – that the tax code is not to gather more money for the government – but to manipulate the people economically

              If it merely revenue, they simply play around with the tax rate percentages.

              But obviously, it is considerably more complicated than that.

              So to change the tax code you have to change the motivation of the politicians away from manipulation

              I do not think that is possible, for that is the reason they are in politics – to manipulate the public

              • Wrong – not very well-reasoned. You have not closely read my comments; you missed too many points.

                Hope you re-read more carefully, when your rested and calmer. And I do hope you read those two Ayn Rand articles I mentioned.

                With the tea parties, more people are beginning to do just that. People cannot afford to be unfamiliar and unstudied regarding at least these two articles these days.

              • Janet,

                Wrong!

                Very well reasoned!

                Hmmm, that isn’t much of an argument and neither was yours.

                I’ll wait for a better one….?
                Question: why do you think a Politician is
                in politics? The salary?

              • We agree to disagree. You need individual rights to live in a country that allows you to do that. I defend individual rights. Do you? Read Ayn Rand.

  16. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    Mathius,

    Above, you said, “Those with wealth and power gained more wealth and power while those without were given the barest of minimums and kept (deliberately) in abject poverty as de facto slaves to the ruling elite.”

    They are still doing precisely that today, and more! The mechanisms which they are using to accomplish these very goals are called “government” and “taxation”.

    • When you don’t know how to intellectually defend your individual rights, then you can expect to see growing pressure groups of “wealth and power”. Don’t be surprised — you’ve given it away to them when you don’t properly and steadfastly defend your individual rights.

      Again, America is, in essence, a classless society,instead, a society of contract law.

      No one can stop you from hanging around and associating with anyone you want — rich or poor, old or young, any color ethnic group or any degree of wealth or lack of it. There is no de facto political aristocracy in America. (Granted, without adequate number of intellectuals to defend individual rights, a politico-economic oligarchy is growing.

      Do you want, in essence, a society of contract law, or do you want a society of politically privileged power group (rich or poor, mind you)? That’s what it comes down to.

      A great article or book even is begging to be written by someone who can see the gargantuan assault that has taken place in many areas of our society just in the last 10 years and this last administration alone on the sanctity of our contract laws — health care, private property, on and on.

  17. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    Even some “Liberals” are starting to “get it”:

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/04/odd_but_welcome_bedfellows.html

  18. Judy Sabatini says:
  19. Judy Sabatini says:
  20. How does everyone feel about the EPA imposing a TAX on ALL AMERICANS?

    Ok, it’s not a tax, it’s new emission standards that applies to all agri-equipment with diesel power. A power unit such as those used for irrigation will go from$4,500 to $9,500. Corn seed will not get any cheaper, so how will farmers pay? They will raise their prices. This will have the same effect as a tax on all Americans, except those who do not eat, or those who do not pay for food(do Borg’s eat?).

    http://www.mfa-inc.com/web/guest/NotGrandpasDiesel

    In May, 2004, EPA issued the final rule introducing Tier 4 standards, which are to be phased in between now and 2015. Tier 4 standards require that emissions of particulate matter (PM) and nitrous oxide and nitrous dioxide (NOx) be further reduced by about 90 percent. Such emission reductions can only be achieved with the use of control technologies—including exhaust gas after-treatments similar to those required by the 2007-2010 standards for over-the-road diesel engines.

    Great article US!

    • There is a major fallicy here. Farmers do not set prices for commodity grains and livestock. The can refuse to sell until the note comes due in hopes that prices go up. They can negotiate hard with the elevator but in the end, will only be marginally successfull. Only the truck farmer that sells produce direct to consumers gets to set the market price and even then he must be in line with the major supermarkets. Most others can only time it to sell at a peak. So increasing farm expenses through mandates may or may not result in higher prices depending on the global markets. It is very likely we will see more farms go under, more large agribusinesses running farms. Prices will go up when production goes down or demand goes up.

      This does not apply to the Amish unless the put a methane tax on their Belgians and Clydesdales. Don’t laugh, it has been proposed.

    • LOI,
      The EPA reduces the allowable emissions and gives you 11 years notice…

      That power unit that will go from $4,500 to $9,500 – how many thousands of gallons of water will it pump over it’s life time? Over how many seasons? How much will it add to the price of a bushel of corn?

      And as the article clearly stated, with 11 years worth of notice, farmers can time their purchases to buy new equipment just before the new standards are implemented.

  21. All Tax is destructive.

    Like all theft, the measure of ‘goodness’ is not what the thief does with his money.

    The damage is what the owner of the money could not do with it.

    Painting, covering, hiding, renaming theft doesn’t change its damage.

    • Ideally, yes, but realistically no. We need to deal with reality first. Taxes are here.

  22. Hi Ya’ll 🙂

    Two days ago it was 82 degrees and sunny, today it’s below 40 and snowing. This lefty share the wealth stuff is BS and I want my warm temps and sunshine back. Give it back Mathius! I want it back NOW!

    HEHE!

    G!

    • Mathius says:

      BHA HA HAH HA! Maybe if you’d been more support of the folks in charge, they’d use their giant weather machine to help you instead of me.

      PS: USW, since I didn’t mention it earlier, I’m saying so now. UNDERPANTS GNOMES!

      That’s it for me. 11 1/2 hours of work on a Friday afternoon in t-shirt weather. I. Am. Out.

      Good night, and good luck.

    • Tomorrow will be better for you G-Man. We had the same in WI early in the week but today was beautiful. Hang on!

  23. Hi USWeapon,

    Some questions first.

    First, the wealthy are business people. VERY few of the wealthy are silver spoon kids. They are where they are because they have a business of some sort that has earned them enough money to qualify. Remember the top 1% is qualified at $388k, not millions per year. Wealthy yes, but not “stinking rich.” They are there because they earned it by taking a risk, starting a business, and making it work. So when you are talking about taxing the wealthy, you mean you are talking about taxing a business owner. As such, for the purposes of this discussion, we can recognize the fact that the wealthy and corporations are basically the same thing in terms of taxes. If you tax a wealthy man, you are essentially taxing the business that made him that way.

    This is full of assumptions. Can you provide some references and sources?

    Second, and this is the important point, you cannot tax a corporation. Try as you may, you simply cannot do it. A corporation exists to provide a good or service for a price. When you tax a corporation, do you think that they simply shrug their collective shoulders and say, “eh, I guess we will have less profits this year”? Of course not. They increase the costs for their good or service to pay the increased taxes. And that means that the cost is…. wait for it…

    In the past you’ve argued prices are set by the market. How can corporations just randomly raise their prices because of taxes?

    Corporations work on the principle of offering their goods or services based on the cost of production.

    No, corporations work on the principle of offering their goods or services based on the price the consumer is willing to pay.

    Whether the cost increases for the good or service, or the company downsizes, limits expansion, and stops voluntarily helping the community, I fail to see how those on the progressive side see this as a positive thing for the poor in America.

    Or the corporation could use innovation to reduce the cost or increase the value of their product.

    Or the corporation could just have less profit, because Corporate Income Taxes are really Corporate Profit Taxes. A small but significant difference.

    They have some of the most brilliant minds in the country at their disposal.

    Usually you attack them and call them all idiots. But today they’re brilliant! Just remember that next week when you call them all idiots again! 😉

    Which do you really think is the most likely scenario? Incredibly stupid or evil geniuses? I think you know where I stand.

    Actually, I’m not sure where you stand?

    Perhaps you missed that 97% of the top 10% didn’t come from families that were in the top 10%.

    I guess I missed this. Where did you get this information?

    One of the problems here is that there are so many other factors involved in this. Some of the comments have brought up Social Security, Medicare, Gas, Sales, etc. The discussions get bogged down quickly trying to define terms and scope.

    So, two Macro examples. There are lots of details and differences that affect this, but at a high level:

    During the Clinton Presidency:
    * top tax rates were raised
    * the budget went from deficit to balanced
    * the economy boomed
    * everyone did better

    During the Bush Presidency (even if only the first 6 years are used)
    * top tax rates were lowered
    * the budget went from balanced to deficit
    * the economy boomed
    * the wealthy did better while the middle, working, and lower classes slide backwards

    Which time period was “better”?

    I’ll be back tonight and this weekend, but since you used the same charts as last year, you can see lots of my thoughts at #23 here:

    https://standupforamerica.wordpress.com/2009/05/22/the-reality-of-taxing-the-rich/

    • Todd,

      USW said,
      “This is about economics and how the premise is faulty. The bottom line is that increased taxes on the wealthy are simply passed on to the consumer, hurting the middle and lower class. That is how it works in my perspective. What am I missing progressives? What magic factor has eluded me for all these years in understanding how increasing taxes on the wealthy and corporations hurts the middle and lower classes instead of the upper class?”

      See also my #21 post. All cost get passed on. Consider when a nursing home was sued for negligence , jury awarded over $70 million. Who paid?
      Nursing home had insurance. Insurance pays, but does not go out of business, just raise their rates. In the end, all people with insurance paid that lawsuit.

      • LOI,
        That’s now quite how insurance works. Insurance companies, based on past history and future exposures, put money in reserves to pay future claims. In general, insurance companies expect to pay out all premiums in claim losses and expenses (this varies by the type of insurance). They make their money by investing the money for the time between collecting premiums and paying losses.

        For your example – the $70 million is an extreme. It’s hard to reserve for a loss like that, but nursing homes are a high risk business, so I would imagine reserves are quite high. How much of the $70 million has the insurance company paid? Is the award being appealed?

        If the insurance company simple raises it’s rates to cover this loss, wouldn’t policyholders look for lower rates from other insurance companies?

    • Wow…Todd were you alive during the Clinton Presidency?

    • USWeapon,
      To clarify my first question:

      VERY few of the wealthy are silver spoon kids.

      Do you have a reference for this? It’s pretty vague and depends on so many things. The conditions of your birth can have a big impact on your life – stronger family, better schools, more opportunities.

      They are where they are because they have a business of some sort that has earned them enough money to qualify. Remember the top 1% is qualified at $388k, not millions per year. Wealthy yes, but not “stinking rich.” They are there because they earned it by taking a risk, starting a business, and making it work. So when you are talking about taxing the wealthy, you mean you are talking about taxing a business owner. As such, for the purposes of this discussion, we can recognize the fact that the wealthy and corporations are basically the same thing in terms of taxes. If you tax a wealthy man, you are essentially taxing the business that made him that way.

      You focus on business owners. There are a lot of wealthy people that didn’t start a business. I’ve never seen a break down of the wealthy comparing business owners vs employees. Do you have more information that shows this?

      Would it make any difference if we only taxed wealthy non-business owners? Like Investment & Commercial Bankers, Wall Street Investment Advisors, and Insurance Executives?

      You say the wealthy and corporations are basically the same thing. When you tax the wealthy, you are taxing a business owner. And corporations don’t pay taxes. They pass them on to consumers.

      If this is true, why are the wealthy and corporations against higher taxes? They can always just pass them on to the consumer?

      • Todd, all Americans should be against taxes beyond what is justified to maintain police, courts and military defense.

        The purpose of a moral government is to protect our individual rights and freedoms from those who would assault, abrogate and destroy them. We entrust civil servants with monopoly power of force for that express purpose.

        As Isabel Paterson pointed out, America is a society of contract law. Rational, freedom-living people comprehend and value separation between economics and state. This separation ensures that we have entreprenural capitalism, not pull-peddling pressure group warfare corporatism and oligopoly as we now have today.

  24. Happy Tax Freedom Day, Sort Of

    By Grover Norquist

    – FOXNews.com

    The tax burden is too high. Americans should not (on average) work 3 plus months a year to pay taxes. But the true cost of government—government spending plus regulations takes that cost to more than half the year.

    Today, April 9, is Tax Freedom Day.

    If you add up all the income earned by Americans and divide by the total tax burden—income taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, those annoying taxes on your phone and utility bills—Americans spend everything they earned until today just to pay taxes. That’s right. Everything we earned this year in January, February, March and the first 8 days of April is taken by force by federal, state and local governments.

    In theory, everything we earn for the rest of the year is ours to keep.

    But that is not quite true. There are at least three hidden costs of government not captured in the measure of Tax Freedom Day. Tax eaters, government regulations and spending that exceeds taxation: the deficit or debt.

    Tax Freedom Day measures the average American’s percentage of the year’s income that he or she has to fork over in taxes. There are some Americans who pay little or no tax or bureaucrats who actually get paid by our tax dollars. You, taxpaying American, are shouldering their load as well as your own, so you are not off the hook today.

    Government regulations that force us to buy tiny cars or toilets that don’t completely flush cost consumers money that does not show up on your tax bill. The government forces us to buy more expensive light bulbs than we might want; more expensive gasoline and regulations add as much as a 25% to the cost of a new House. Government puts mandates on our health insurance that raises the cost of health insurance for all Americans whether they wanted to insure for hair transplants, chiropractors, or drug rehab or not.

    Last year Americans worked 42 days to pay for the cost of federal regulations. Federal regulations cost us more than 10 percent of our incomes. Those costs are embedded by law in products and services and the wily politicians hope that we will direct our anger at the companies forced by regulations to include features we as consumers didn’t ask for, couldn’t say no to and might not want at all.

    The true total cost of government = government spending + the regulatory burden. And government spending is, in Obamaworld, a much larger number than total taxation. Obama, Reid and Pelosi have spent trillions of dollars that they had the courage to take in tax revenue. The deficit spending in 2009 was $1.4 trillion and in 2010 is scheduled to be $1.5 trillion. The expected deficits for the next ten years (leave out for a moment the higher taxes and spending of government health care) are calculated—by a government trying to minimize the number—at $9.8 trillion.

    There are two ways to limit the cost of government. The first is to change the Congress and the White House and elect a government that will actually focus on the size of government. The second is to move from a high spending state to a low spending state. Connecticut citizens work 250 days to pay for government—total government spending plus the regulatory burden. New Yorkers, 243. New Jerseyans, 249. These taxpayers can save a month of one’s income each year by moving. South Dakotans work 201 days a year. Texans, 213. Nevadan’s, 216.

    The tax burden is too high. Americans should not (on average) work 3 plus months a year to pay taxes. But the true cost of government—government spending plus regulations takes that cost to more than half the year.

    The goal of the left in America is to trick Americans to focus on the deficit. Here the left has a solution: higher taxes, specifically a Value Added Tax. We must keep our focus on total government spending and the solution to the problem is then clear. Spend less.

    Grover Norquist is president of Americans for Tax Reform and author of the book “Leave us Alone: Getting the Government’s Hands Off Our Money, Our Guns, Our Lives.”

    • Our Government in action!

      Slow Day in East Texas

      It’s a slow day in a little East Texas town. The sun is beating down, and
      the streets are deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and
      everybody lives on credit…..

      On this particular day a rich tourist from back east is driving through town
      He stops at the motel and lays a $100 bill on the desk saying he wants

      to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one to spend the night..

      As soon as the man walks upstairs, the owner grabs the bill and runs next
      door to pay his debt to the butcher.

      The butcher takes the $100 and runs down the street to retire his debt to
      the pig farmer.

      The pig farmer takes the $100 and heads off to pay his bill at the
      supplier
      of feed and fuel.

      The guy at the Farmer’s Co-op takes the $100 and runs to pay his debt to
      the
      local prostitute, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer
      her “services” on credit.

      The hooker rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill with the hotel
      owner.

      The hotel proprietor then places the $100 back on the counter so the rich
      traveler will not suspect anything.

      At that moment the traveler comes down the stairs, picks up the $100 bill,
      states that the rooms are not satisfactory, pockets the money, and leaves
      town.

      No one produced anything. No one earned anything. However, the whole town
      is now out of debt and now looks to the future with a lot more optimism..

      And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the United States Government is
      conducting business today.

  25. A Puritan Descendant says:

    Off Topic and unreal…

    “The Maine Human Rights Commissions taking heat over a proposal to ban schools from enforcing gender divisions in sports teams, school organizations, bathrooms and locker rooms, saying forcing a student into a particular room or group because of their biological gender amounts to discrimination.”

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/04/08/maine-commission-moves-ban-gender-specific-school-bathrooms-teams/

    • No doubt based on the naked conversations of a couple days ago, Buck and especially Matt will be just fine with this.

    • SK Trynosky Sr. says:

      Until such time as the plumbing has been changed, the transgendered person must and should conform to his or her biological sex regarding the rest room that He/she uses. The school board, at its discretion may provide a gender neutral bathroom for said student but should not, in any way, be mandated to do so.

      Regarding athletics, In any sport where it has been demonstrated that the biological differences between male and female do not, in any way, influence the outcome in an athletic contest, such sport may be opened up exclusively for male-female-transgendered competition. I would suggest that a sport such as shooting would qualify as would NASCAR racing. On the other hand, biathlon and bicycle racing would not.

      In the past the issue was addressed but not completely settled when Dr. Renee Richards a former male became a female. Dr Richards was a ranked amateur tennis player as a male. After the surgery he wished to continue as a female. The six foot two inch one hundred ninety pound Dr. Richards was noit readily accepted into female tennis.

      Regarding Matt and Bucks ideas on nudity the other day, I would proffer that the human race has survived on this planet this long precisely because we have entered into a binding social contract with each other. the gist of this contract is that we will do all in our power NOT to piss off each other. This contract was understood and not written. I have noted that whenever government meddles in these areas and tries to legislate behavior it tends to actually piss off everyone and brings us all closer to Armageddon. The transgendered nonsense alluded to in the article is a classic example of common sense having taken complete leave of the entire state of Maine. I am sure that it will soon leave the entire United States also.

  26. I’ve learned a lot from talking to the nail salon owner where I go (yes, another vice to go along with my shoes).

    We’ve talked often here at SUFA about the ignorant masses (ie people.are.dumb) but if there is one group that shouldn’t be included in this stereotype is the immigrant (the legal type). There is often a story of extreme struggle to come to our country and what we offer. They don’t take it lightly.

    His take: the poor in this country are treated too good as they don’t seem to feel the need to change their situation. He says they should feel more hunger, they should feel more pain, not like what he experienced in his native Cambodia and then Vietnam, but certainly should never, ever have enough or feel it important to have their nails done (like he sees often – is even asked if he accepts food stamps in exchange). He always wonders about the lack of pride by the poor in this country. He says they must understand that when they accept “free” housing/food/health care, it means someone else is paying for it. How can they accept this again and again? No pride.

    He says Obama is like the communist book he and his family were forced to read – it all sounds great – that everyone will be equal. He ways everyone never can nor should have equal outcome as the input is not the same. He talks about his decision and coming to the US, his commitment to his documents and path to attain citizenship, his education to learn a trade, his risks to open his own salon. He is only asking to reap the rewards of his sacrifices – not the neighbor next door who made even greater sacrifices/risks and thus has greater financial rewards, nor the neighbor on the other side who made no sacrifices/risks.

    Simply, he gets it. We could all learn a lot from listening to their prospective.

    • Hey Kathy,

      I just read your post to me from a couple of weeks ago. I never can get on here anymore because it’s been blocked at work and I don’t have internet anymore. US, all blogs at work have been blocked, not just you.

      As soon as we can get Broadband down here in the sticks where I live, I’ll get internet. As long as it’s just dial-up though, to hell with it.

      Me and mine are fine for now but as for myself, I am becoming more militant feeling toward the corrupt fools in DC everyday. I’m starting to get tired of just talking about it and doing nothing while those idiots just roll along and do anything they please to us “ignorant masses”.

      Well let me tell you. Us masses are starting to get pissed. Nay, we are already far beyond pissed. I’m sick of hearing people who’s only excuse they can spout for Obama is “Bush did it too!”. Yeah he did. That ain’t no excuse. That just makes Obama look stupider than Bush, and that takes some doing.

      Your Asian friend Kathy sounds like my kind of Immigrant. The kind this Nation was built with. Instead of the kind we get these days who walk in here looking for a free ride. Or the ones with the “Plantation Mentality” that the Master (the govt) is gonna take care of everything and we don’t have to lift a finger. Those kinds are going to destroy us out of pure damned stupidity. They don’t care what happens as long as thay are taken care of.

      I don’t know how much things will change after the midterm elections, but it better change something or Obama and his pals might come to be known as the first US Government to foment another American Revolution.

      Good luck to you Kathy and to all the rest of Ya’ll on here. It will probably be some time before I can get back but I’ll try. Adios, Compadres!

      • Hey Esom, good to hear from you!

        I understand your anger, but as JAC often reminds us on here, we need to keep it in check and just take the appropriate actions that we can. Not easy, believe me.

  27. Black Flag said about taxes in a post above:

    “Your acceptance means that people who did NOT earn the money are BETTER at spending the money.”

    This is precisely what I am against. I am against entitlements and welfare handouts –whether it’s giving taxpayer $$$ to welfare moms and old ladies and gentlemen — OR *especially* to “too big to fail banks”, financial institutions and companies in bed with the government. I am against oligopolies and crony corporatism — none of this remotely has a thing to do with real entrepreneurial capitalism.

    Taxes are meant for legitimate role of government — to maintain our police, our courts and national defense. We have rights – we dispense from that basis to government certain powers and the funds to implement in order to protect our economic and other freedoms.

    I say, fire the bloated bureaucracy, put them back in the productive workforce. Taxes pay the civil servants, that’s it. I advocate for separation of Economics and State. I am not an advocate of government-enforced charity programs, no matter how good their espoused intentions and how tempting their rationale for justification. The welfare state is destroying our economy our freedoms and our country. It’s the reason why people are buying and reading a 52 yr old book, *Atlas Shrugged* in droves and carrying “John Galt” signs at tea parties.

    • Hi Janet

      You had me cheering right up until….

      Taxes are meant for legitimate role of government — to maintain our police, our courts and national defense.

      Why do you believe defense (military/police/fire) is a different economic good then say apples, automobiles, and banking?

      Taxes to pay for ‘defense’ is as wrong as taxes to pay for car manufacturers.

      We have rights – we dispense from that basis to government certain powers and the funds to implement in order to protect our economic and other freedoms.

      You certainly have the right to pay anyone or group whatever you want to do for you what you want (non-violently).

      But why do you believe I have to pay for something that I do not want, but you do?

      I advocate for separation of Economics and State.

      Well, not totally. It appears some Economics you want the State to involve itself.

      And that’s where the problem starts.

      If you can justify why the State should be involved in provisioning “this economic good”, Buck and Mathius will have a very easy time justifying why the State should be involved in provisioning “this, and this, and this one too”.

      I am not an advocate of government-enforced charity programs, no matter how good their espoused intentions and how tempting their rationale for justification.

      Their rational is exactly the same justification as you use for “defense”.

      The welfare state is destroying our economy our freedoms and our country.

      The State is the destroyer of economies and freedom and all countries.

      It’s the reason why people are buying and reading a 52 yr old book, *Atlas Shrugged* in droves and carrying “John Galt” signs at tea parties.

      Interestingly, please find *somewhere* in that book Galt/Rand says “defense” is worth taxes. Find anywhere where Galt/Rand promotes taxes for anything.

      In a fully free society, taxation—or, to be exact, payment for governmental services—would be voluntary. Since the proper services of a government—the police, the armed forces, the law courts—are demonstrably needed by individual citizens and affect their interests directly, the citizens would (and should) be willing to pay for such services, as they pay for insurance. – Ayn Rand

      Now, I wholly disagree that ‘government’ proper services are defense – but that a different thread of debate that has nothing to do with taxes.

      • Black Flag, I believe taxes in a more rational society work best when voluntary — a rational free people will value their constitutional republic, not take it for granted and proudly be glad to contribute to maintain police, courts and national defense. See more in my post#29 below.

        • Janet,

          I would agree that much of the abuse of governments would be stymied if their access to monies was controlled by the individual citizens choices – ie: voluntary payments.

          But this will never happen.

          Taxation is a tool of manipulation – more so revenue – it is IMO hopeless to consider that the government will lose its most powerful tool of influence over the most important class of citizens – the wealth creators.

          • LOL – Never say never. I guess I just don’t have the crystal ball you do!

            I concede that in a culture that does not understand what reason is and isn’t, no longer grasps the political concept of individual rights and is a sacrifice “valuing”, collectivist statist one like ours is clearly becoming — then yes, taxation is definitely one means of manipulation of those power-lusters currently in office.

            This is the misapplication of the monopoly of force. Your neighbor can’t make you pay taxes. Government has the power of force — it’s the gun that can make you do anything (not just pay taxes.) Especially when free citizens let themselves be lulled into ideologies of statism.

            Regarding your comment that it is hopeless to consider government will lose its most powerful tool of influence over the most important class of citizens — the wealth creators:

            I suppose you’d tell that to George Washington and the Founding Fathers — and to hell with the fought for and hard won grandest political experiment that threw off the oppressiveness of the British Kingdom?

            I can just imagine you and others like you standing in front of George Washington telling how much you liked his idea of a New America throwing off tyranny — but frankly, George — it’s a hopeless cause!

            You better look to yourself and examine further some of your own misplaced thinking that would lead you to a position such as stated above. George had a greater vision to strive to attain. Some of us do too. With a little more mental work and courage, you could too.

            • Janet

              LOL – Never say never. I guess I just don’t have the crystal ball you do!

              It is not a “guess” nor a “crystal ball”.

              It is an evaluation of the Politics necessary for it to happen.

              For ‘voluntary’ payments to be implemented it must happen through a political process

              Agree or disagree?

              If you agree, politicians would need to vote for it

              Agree or disagree?

              If you agree, please tell me a motive that a politician would have to hold for him to diminish his political influence so to pass this measure

              But men go into politics to increase their political influence, not diminish it – therefore, the path that needs to be followed – simply does not exist.

              A revolution would be required – that is an wholesale overthrow of the current political order.

              However, I assume this is not your goal.

              I suppose you’d tell that to George Washington and the Founding Fathers — and to hell with the fought for and hard won grandest political experiment that threw off the oppressiveness of the British Kingdom?

              So you are recommending revolution???

              I can just imagine you and others like you standing in front of George Washington telling how much you liked his idea of a New America throwing off tyranny — but frankly, George — it’s a hopeless cause!

              No.

              I read your comment as a path using non-violent political mechanisms for your change.

              I say such is impossible

              If you are, however, advocating for violent political change, then any and all bets are off.

              You will create a political upheaval – and out of that upheaval nothing can be predicted.

              It may be better or worse or not much different.

              There is no way to tell.

  28. Defense (military, police — and courts, not fire) are not merely a different economic good. I repeat — not simply an economic good. Military, police and courts are not apples, autos, and certainly should not be like or a part of banking. It’s a moral issue. The three are necessary to maintain a free society.

    We institute governments among men. Based on our rights, the one all-encompassing power we give to the state is a monopoly on force. This force is entrusted to civil servants to be implemented when necessary and used to protect our rights. The standards are rationality and objectivity. If the citizenry do not understand the value of these two as a minimum in their society, then they no longer possess the means by which to be worthy of let alone maintain their freedoms — which includes their economic freedoms, of course — just as you see happening today, as the police, courts and national defense are a mess!

    The libertarian idea of competing governments in a nation-state can only degenerate to factionalism and anarchy. (As you can tell, I am not a libertarian. There is a rational justification for instituting governments among men.) It’s not a matter of mere economics. To emphasize it yet again — it’s a moral issue – individual rights and freedom, or nanny state, gulag and furnaces.

    With some due respect, Black Flag, you will have to carefully read Ayn Rand’s article, “The Nature of Government”, also, “Individual Rights” which I think USWeapon has links to? If not, you can find on Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights website.

    If you do bother to read, let me know. It will be a basis from which I’d be willing to discuss further.

    • Hi Janet,

      Defense (military, police — and courts, not fire) are not merely a different economic good. I repeat — not simply an economic good. Military, police and courts are not apples, autos, and certainly should not be like or a part of banking. It’s a moral issue. The three are necessary to maintain a free society.

      Police are there to enforce the law of government – they are not there to maintain a free society!

      The courts have confirmed this in a civil suit: Police have no obligation to aid any civilian. Their duty is solely to enforce the law as they see fit.

      Simple proof: You know what a “Police State” means….

      Military is not there to protect YOU – they are there to protect the GOVERNMENT.

      Simple proof: Military killing their own citizens and ‘war’….

      “Security services” as the name implies are an economic good and service and follow the laws of economics – no more and no less than any other economic good.

      This failure to understand this fundamental aspect of Human Action and economics leads to many disastrous decisions.

      Where as for your personal security, you can chose between numerous companies and offerings – even use more than one – to satisfy your security problem.

      However, with the government-police and military – they are monopolies and like all monopolies suffer precisely the same economic ills – ever increasing costs with continually diminishing quality

      We institute governments among men.

      This is a myth.

      First, there is no “we” – I (and millions of others) take no part or refuse to take part in institutionalize anything.

      If one abstraction of humanity that can be traced to a cause of almost every debauchery en masse of humanity, it can be traced to institutions.

      There simply does not exist the “we” to make claim of the existence of an authority over the People – it is completely a myth.

      All it takes is “one” to say NO – (and here I am) – and the “we” ain’t a “we” any more – it is “you and your friends”.

      No matter how many friends you have, you cannot Rightfully compel me to you rules.

      Prof. Rowley has a blog where I post often and today he posted a similar thought as you – I’m going to repost a part of my comments:

      If “every man, therefore, soon comes to the conclusion, that his individual interest, as well as that of the community at large, will best be served by entering into some common bond of protection: all agree to become amenable to the decision of their fellows, and to obey certain general arrangements… “ but in those arrangements justify their violence on the non-violent, they simply become the very brute they organized themselves to resist.

      The end, therefore, is simple – “Might is Right” becomes legitimized, and Freedom dies and with it, the collapse of civilization

      http://charlesrowley.wordpress.com/2010/04/10/the-proper-sphere-of-government/#respond

      Next, no government has ever existed by grant of the people – it has all – every one of them – been by the power of the gun.

      There have been worse abusers and less worse abusers – but all have been abusers and killers of innocent people.

      Based on our rights, the one all-encompassing power we give to the state is a monopoly on force.

      You have no right to inflict violence on innocent people.

      You cannot grant a what you do not have.

      Therefore, by what Right are you granting such a monopoly?

      This force is entrusted to civil servants to be implemented when necessary and used to protect our rights. The standards are rationality and objectivity.

      One can be perfectly logic – but with a faulty premise – will reach a perfectly wrong answer.

      You have no right to force anyone to your will.

      You cannot grant that right to civil servants to do these actions on your behalf.

      Using force on your neighbors does NOT promote or empower their rights.

      It is very objective – and objectionable – and rational in the sense of expanding evil.

      But it is not your Right.

      If the citizenry do not understand the value of these two as a minimum in their society, then they no longer possess the means by which to be worthy of let alone maintain their freedoms — which includes their economic freedoms, of course — just as you see happening today, as the police, courts and national defense are a mess!

      They are a mess because they are a monopoly. They are not immune to economic law.

      If by force, competition is prevented, what is left has NO motivation to improve service.

      Add to this that the service provided is paid by compulsion and force, so the only economic lever left against monopolists – financial boycott – is also destroyed.

      With no direct competition, and no threat of boycott and financial duress – why are you surprised the service quality goes down and the price goes up? You can’t chose anyone else, and heck, you can’t stop paying for it either!!

      Their “profit” is guaranteed – their payments are in the mail before you even saw your part of your check.

      For most people, they simply cannot conceive of free market security services – it is beyond their understanding.

      So, for most people, arguing that the real “fix” for their personal security would be to allow the free market to solve it is akin to telling a man 500 years ago he didn’t need the Pope to pray to God. That man 500 years ago would call you a witch or the devil himself. Today, the nouns used in description are different, but the implication is the same!

      So, the only plausible solution to the monopoly of protection services is to put back the power of the boycott – the ability to pay or not to pay for the services.

      If it is to be a monopoly – then the people must have the power to withhold their money should the service be unsatisfactory. That is, end taxation.

      The libertarian idea of competing governments in a nation-state can only degenerate to factionalism and anarchy.

      And my response would be … so?

      Anarchy (no ruler) is, strictly, a philosophy of freedom – so to ‘degenerate’ to freedom seems to be what you want. It is what I want!

      Factions – why not? Why does BIGGER and more distant governance be so important for you?

      What is better, the politician who works and lives next door or the one who rules your life 1500 miles away?

      The same complaint I’m sure you’d make about “Global Governance and World Government” is completely applicable for the individual to use against “Federal” Governments.

      The closer the politics to the citizens, the more responsive it is to the citizens. The mayor has to live in the same city he screws up as you do. The President does not.

      (As you can tell, I am not a libertarian. There is a rational justification for instituting governments among men.)

      I haven’t found one, yet.

      There exists no right to inflict violence on non-violent people.

      All government, regardless of its creation and principles, = all of them = demand the power to inflict violence on non-violent people to enforce their edicts – the primary edict, taxation.

      As its founding principle is the root of all human evil – the initiation of violence on the innocent – the manifestation of such founding principle will always, always and always lead to tyranny and mass slaughter of humanity. 10,000 years of government has proven me correct so far – 100% governments have ended in tyranny – 0% have avoided it.

      It is either hubris or self-blindness to believe that the United States government is immune to such expressions of evil.

      It’s not a matter of mere economics. To emphasize it yet again — it’s a moral issue – individual rights and freedom, or nanny state, gulag and furnaces.

      You call forward “individual rights and freedom” to be protected by the entity that destroys individual rights and freedom. And – this is rational???

      There exists NO MORAL that is so worthy as to destroy a man’s rights to achieve such Perfect Moral.

      I am an avid reader of Rand, and others. We can discuss Rand to your hearts content however, I must point out some things about me.

      I am not Rand, nor a “Randian” – if there are similarities in beliefs and theories, it is by accident.

      This applies to any philosopher or philosophy out there. I am my own thinker. If I use quotes or comments from others – which I do often – it is NOT because they gave me their idea – but it is because they articulate MY idea better than I could.
      The old “I couldn’t have said it better myself” …..

      The additional benefit of this is that I am quite able to change my mind and opinions if the reasoning and logic so dictates – because I am not married to an ideology. I am devoted to freedom.

      As far as economics, I am an ardent student of Mises and the Austrian School. This is not a philosophy but a study of a Law of Nature, called Human Action. Economics is a deep, long-studied hobby of mine.

      • How fast a month can go by. Too busy re-reading Ayn’s Rand’s, “The Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology” (the non-fiction work that she will be eventually remembered for more than any of her fiction works, since it solves philosophically the long-time “problem of universals”.) Also re-reading “For the New Intellectual” as well.

        But guess what BF! — I’m not a “Randian” either! (Although I have read just about every piece of writing she’s ever written.) I don’t deify anyone, especially Ayn Rand. But I admire her ideas, a full philosophical system and benefit by guiding my life by a moral code of rational self-interest rather than by creed of sacrifice.

        Your faulty logic, equivocations and contradictions in your post above are too numerous to address. (not too clear on distinctions and specifics between innnocents and non-innocents either.)

        When you state you’ve been reading Ayn Rand, I get the idea that it’s more like you’ve been looking at the words on the page rather than actually comprehending them. I don’t know what you’ve been reading, but it hardly seems you’ve done justice to the two articles I recommended above.

        BTW, I’ve also am amply wide-read in economics: Hazlitt, Hayek, Bastiat, White, Ricardo, Friedman, and of course, Mises (I own and read most of his works.) I admire his ideas deeply, but Objectivist economists have pointed out his epistemological flaw.

        You hold a post-modern existentialist view of “freedom” rather than grasping freedom as a strictly political concept. The progressive educationists have triumphed in your case, I’m afraid. I’d suggest the antidote of — more Ayn Rand! Read her article, “The Comprachicos”.

        Well, no more time to indulge in discussions with you, BJ. I’m off to participate in the “Atlas Shrugged Revolution” and Objectivist activism. And you’d better hope we win. Otherwise you’ll find yourself living in the America of your ideal — Somalia.

        • Janet

          Your faulty logic, equivocations and contradictions in your post above are too numerous to address.

          Almost always those that say this mean:

          “I can’t find a thing in your argument that I can even hope to debate, and it makes me frustrated”.

          (not too clear on distinctions and specifics between innnocents and non-innocents either.)

          It is pretty simple concept, Janet.

          If you get all bottled up on the word “innocent” – wheewww….

          But, for the sake of furthering dialogue how about

          “Someone who does not deserve to be harmed”

          When you state you’ve been reading Ayn Rand, I get the idea that it’s more like you’ve been looking at the words on the page rather than actually comprehending them.

          One must look to read.

          I don’t know what you’ve been reading, but it hardly seems you’ve done justice to the two articles I recommended above.

          As I said, I do not promote Rand nor argue from her position.

          BTW, I’ve also am amply wide-read in economics: Hazlitt, Hayek, Bastiat, White, Ricardo, Friedman, and of course, Mises (I own and read most of his works.) I admire his ideas deeply, but Objectivist economists have pointed out his epistemological flaw.

          Such as?

          You hold a post-modern existentialist view of “freedom” rather than grasping freedom as a strictly political concept.

          Freedom has nothing to with politics, which is why you are probably confused about it.

          The progressive educationists have triumphed in your case, I’m afraid. I’d suggest the antidote of — more Ayn Rand! Read her article, “The Comprachicos”.

          Rand does not interest me.

          Well, no more time to indulge in discussions with you, BJ. I’m off to participate in the “Atlas Shrugged Revolution” and Objectivist activism. And you’d better hope we win. Otherwise you’ll find yourself living in the America of your ideal — Somalia.

          I love it when people use Somalia, it allow me to say:

          “And your version will most certainly doom us to the same as Stalinist Korea or Russia!”

          • It’s telling that you so completely left out these United States of America. Of course.

            As for me, I have no trepidations over defending that intellectually and unprecedented grand experiment we need to get back to.

            Also, no surprise you’re mind is closed to Ayn Rand’s ideas. Of course.

            • Janet

              It’s telling you left out the Industrial Revolution as the greatest cause of prosperity of mankind. Of course!

              …unprecedented grand experiment…

              Ah, exactly Janet!

              You have NO PROBLEM being an intellectual – spewing great thoughts and ideas – as if YOU know the RIGHT answer!

              But that’s the problem.

              You don’t.

              You don’t have a clue.

              And your ideas – like Marx – end up slaughtering hundreds of millions of people.

              But unlike an engineer who suffers consequences when the bridge he built falls down, you as an intellectual suffer none of the consequences of the horror you may inflict with your ideas. It’s a (shrug) “oh well, maybe next time” and off you go.

              You believe that, somehow perhaps the finger of God has touched your brain, and YOU KNOW what is right for other people.

              You are SO SURE you are willing to use violence and force to press it on other people.

              I know statistically I’m a whole lot smarter than you.

              But the difference between you and me – though I believe I know what is the right thing for other people to do for their own self-interest, I hold a very high level of uncertainty and that perhaps, just maybe, I might be wrong.

              With that uncertainty, even if it is minutely small, is more than large enough to stay my hand of force.

              I am uncertain enough that I do not believe my brilliant ideas on how other people should act is worthy of violence to force people to comply.

              You hold no such constraint.

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      Janet,

      “Competing governments in a Nation-State” is not a “Libertarian” idea. Not sure where you got that one from.

      A “Libertarian” idea is NO government and no “Nation-State”.

      I do not know why you persist in believing that a voluntarily organized society which is voluntarily funded would not be possible. You claim that the military, the police, and the courts are necessary to our freedoms, and then you go about supporting a way of funding and providing them which directly CONTRADICTS the very concepts of freedom which you are claiming to support.

      • Peter,

        I’ve been aware of the libertarian movement for a long time. Libertarianism as a movement prides itself on embracing many differences under a broad umbrella as long as they all agree to toss the term “freedom” freely about.

        There are libertarians who advocate the idea of competing governments (maybe there is less advocacy of this now compared to a couple of decades ago). I am also aware that there are those like yourself and BJ who advocate that, in effect, “the only good government is a dead government”.

        BTW, did I say anything about how a government should be funded and supported (?). Anyway, my “idea of freedom” does not contradict “concepts of freedom”.

        As I said to BJ, a post-modern existentialist “concept” of freedom is seriously misconstrued. without a precise and accurate definition of “freedom” which is specifically a *political* concept, this progressive understanding will continue to thwart man’s efforts in defending his own rights, life and happiness. (See Man’s Rights” and “The Nature of Government” by Ayn Rand.)

        I actually do believe that individuals in a society can organize themselves voluntarily under a government granted the monopoly of force with limited powers to protect our rights. I also believe that one day men will better understand how they can voluntarily fund such a limited government. But, while it was closest to that with our Founding Fathers, it is nowhere near that today. The moral code that regards man as a sacrificial animal must be utterly rejected and replaced with the moral code of values based on rational self-interest before that can come about.

        • Janet,

          without a precise and accurate definition of “freedom”

          USWep put an entire post regarding “Positive” Freedom – which you seem to espouse, and “Negative” Freedom, which is what I promote.

          Perhaps read that post and comment there regarding your (mis)understanding of freedom.

          I actually do believe that individuals in a society can organize themselves voluntarily under a government granted the monopoly of force with limited powers to protect our right

          What right does a man have to use violence on a non-violent man?

          Your position requires such a right – yet, you cannot defend such a right.

          Your position, thus, is built on quicksand and tyranny.

          • A government built on defense and protection of individual rights uses violence to protect the innocents against criminals, dictators and sovereign foreign invaders.

            There is no such thing as “positive” and “negative” freedoms. Such terms are poorly conceived and defined.

            “The Ayn Rand Lexicon” is free online. You, I and anyone reading this post can go “look” it up online and many other definitions and thoughts there as well. That depends, or course, on if you’re interested.

            • Janet

              A government built on defense and protection of individual rights uses violence to protect the innocents against criminals, dictators and sovereign foreign invaders.

              No such beast exists.

              You cannot build protection for evil by instituting the very evil you need protection from.

              Government is violence – it destroys individuals in the name of the State – “Nothing outside the State, Nothing but the State, Everything for the State”

              In your paragraph, you even highlight it

              “(We need) Government to protects from Government[=Dictators] and Government[=Sovereign foreign invaders]”

              And you see no contradiction here??

              There is no such thing as “positive” and “negative” freedoms. Such terms are poorly conceived and defined.

              You are a bit confused about the terms.

              It is NOT “Postive”=”Good” and “Negative”=”Bad”,

              It is “Positive” as in “acting” and “Negative” as in “non-acting”.

              Freedom is NOT an act – you are not free to swim like a fish or fly like a bird.

              Freedom is a non-act – the LACK OF IMPOSITION from another man. It is when another man DOES NOT ACT ON YOU that you are free.

              Read the post – it is very well done and clear.

              if you’re interested.

              Always interested, but I’ve “been there and done that” already.

  29. USW, thanks for visiting the my site. I am new to WordPress and I really appreciate your comments. I have not written on this subject yet but it is something I want to tackle in the future. For all USW followers who visited my site and left comments, thank you! I left replies to your comments on my site.

    Yes, I do not know all the intricacies of US tax law. My argument is on a macro and moral level. Those who have worked their butts off and made it to the top are fortunate–fortunate to have been born in this great country where upward mobility is possible. Once on the top, the rich should pay more than the poor. The poor are not some amorphous blob of lazy people–many are trying to make it to the top just like the rich. Things should be made easier on them than it is on the rich. The rich can only get richer, while the poor can move to the middle class and the middle class can move to the upper class. Now, not everyone in this country can be in the upper class, but everyone should be able to meet his or her basic needs and be guaranteed life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Its hard to pursue happiness–start a small business, travel the world, write a play, invent something–if everything is going to meeting ends meet. Therefore, those who can easily pursue happiness and can make ends meet 100 times over should have to pay more for roads, bridges, the armed forces, and social services. We are in massive amounts of debt because we ran two wars while cutting taxes for the wealthy by trillions. As one poster pointed out, under Clinton, everyone did relatively better. Under Bush, the income gap grew tremendously. The tax code should work to raise all boats, not just the one class. One other issue I had is when someone commented on a local article that they saw in which 47% of Americans pay no taxes. They claim that those making under 50k dollars can pay no taxes with write offs. That is true, but the article also cited that the wealthy can virtually write off all of their taxes as well http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Nearly-half-of-US-households-apf-1105567323.html?x=0&amp;.v=1. Everyone should pay their share, making $1 a year to 1 billion a year. But the size of the share should differ based on how much one can afford.

    Thanks, check back at the4freedoms.wordpress.com for a different perspective on various issues in the future.

  30. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    “The poor are not some amorphous blob of lazy people–many are trying to make it to the top just like the rich.”

    Yes, that is true, and the ones that are genuinely trying to make it to the top will generally have to much pride and self-worth to rely on the government for help, because they understand that to do so would be to steal someone else’s money, and that someone else had actually EARNED it.

    I know I am over-generalizing here, but there are, broadly speaking, 2 types of “poor people”.

    Type I will do whatever is necessary to better their own situation. If they do go on some sort of government assistance, it will be for an EXTREMELY short period of time, and they will HATE every second of it until they get back on their own feet, because morally they KNOW that when they take government assistance they are stealing from someone who earned it.

    Type II does not care, and is perfectly happy to live off of whatever the government will “give” them, and thinks that they have “earned” it simply by being a “member of society”. This type does not care that they are stealing from someone else who earned it, because they feel that that person who it was stolen from has too much to begin with and doesn’t need to have that much, so stealing from them is somehow morally ok.

    The way government assistance programs are currently crafted, they generally reward the “poor” people who fall into type II, and penalize the people who fall into type I, which is precisely the opposite of the behavior that these programs should be encouraging.

    Giving freely of your own wealth in order to help your fellow man is noble and virtuous. Using a societal organization to force people to part with their own wealth in order to support their fellow man is NOT.

    One is voluntary, the other is renamed and badly disguised theft.

  31. Chris Devine says:

    I’m not sure if this was discussed, but considering that the top tier of earners in this country own the majority of assets doesn’t it make sense that they should pay more for the public services that protect those assets? That being the case it doesn’t seem so outlandish to me that the rich pay a disproportional amount of the taxes (in relation to their share of the population). But if you own X-percent of something it makes sense that you should pay X-percent of its maintenance.

    • What do you mean by “assets”? Do you want them all equally spread around — communism? or the product of these assets controlled by the state — fascism?

      Even poor people own what they own — in a free country that respects and protects rights — poor to rich and everything in between — everybody owns everything that they own! Free countries are societies of contract, not aristocracies, oligopolies, or rules by men. We strive to have objective law — or should at least to return to it.

      A reasonably determined percentage in the form of a flat tax paid by everyone will work — until the day that that free society is based on the moral code of rational self-interest rather than than that of self-sacrifice. Then enough men will see the value in paying voluntarily for their government. At least, that’s long time been my thinking.

      • Janet,

        But your position falls on the sword of “Public Choice” – that is, who determines “reasonable”? You? Me?

        No such determination can be made morally and without invoking evil.

        With the Public Choice, those in power will determine it to be maximum on those they despise, and vote to exclude themselves.

        • Here we get closer to the heart of the problem and where some grave mental errors arise on your part.

          The standards of “reasonable” are not a matter of “Public Choice”. What is reasonable is a matter of objectivity, not subjectivism (your error here) or intrinsicism . The branch of philosophy, known as the science of knowledge, epistemology, addresses these schools of thought regarding what we base man’s knowledge upon.

          The Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, by Ayn Rand is revolutionary in the field of epistemology, and gives the proper foundation to a new moral code which will properly underlie a politics that champions, defends and protects individual rights. (Other professional Objectivists have written about the flaws in post-modern subjectivism and intrinsicism.)Individual rights cannot be properly defended by men who regard themselves as self-sacrificial animals.

          There’s always hope, even for Libertarians. Decades ago I met a Libertarian who actually had run as a third-party candidate in a small town. He is an ER MD in Charlotte.

          He joined our small group at the time to study Ayn Rand’s works more in depth (many Libertarians like to claim that Ayn Rand “speaks” for them).

          Years later I ran into him at an Objectivist conference on Staten Island. I asked him “What are you doing here? I thought you were Libertarian!” His reading had lead him to better understand Rand’s ideas, and convinced him of truth and practical application to his life and the real world.

          Now he is playing a prominent role in distributing Ayn Rand’s materials at the very active Charlotte tea party.

          There are other previous libertarians like him as well.

          • Oh, and to add about my post-libertarian friend — he’s living a very full, rich and enjoyable life as well.

          • Janet,
            I went through Rand’s philosophy on my path from theocratic conservative to libertarian. There is a great deal missing in her philosophy, and some conflicts with concepts I choose to remain open to (such as quantum mechanics). I find her stuff excellent and influential, if a little incomplete.

            I am a libertarian, but not an anarchist like BF. I do not disagree that limited government is a necessary evil. I am not sure what your concept of libertarian is, but what you keep alluding to does not seem especially mainstream in modern libertarian thought.

            I like objectivism, but there are aspects of Rand’s morality that were poisoned by her personal issues with certain concepts and the corruptions of altruism that she saw the effects of. The carrying forward of an action without thought or objective consciousness was the very failing that made her reject many of those concepts out of hand as if they were impossible to pursue in an incorrupt fashion.

        • Janet

          The standards of “reasonable” are not a matter of “Public Choice”. What is reasonable is a matter of objectivity, not subjectivism (your error here) or intrinsicism

          Bizarre statement.

          The basis for determining such “reasonable” action can only be applied to yourself.

          It cannot be applied to others – for that is a matter of judgment and who are you to judge another person?

          gives the proper foundation to a new moral code which will properly underlie a politics that champions, defends and protects individual rights.

          There exists no moral code worthy of force to implement.

          Your morals may be reasoned from your principles. Good on you.

          But that does not make your principles mine! Nor does it make your principles “right”.

          You cannot Prove the rightness of your principles to me. Your principles are premises – that is unprovable by definition.

          Thus, you cannot prove my (or anyone else) principles right or wrong by using YOUR principles as a measure!

          Individual rights cannot be properly defended by men who regard themselves as self-sacrificial animals.

          Perhaps this may be true.
          But it is wholly irrelevant to me

          I am not required to defend OTHER MEN’S RIGHTS. Whether another man surrenders his rights or not matters not one wit to my rights.

          To demand that I must defend another man’s rights CONTRADICTS your own principle of self-sacrifice. Why should I risk my life to defend the rights of a disinterested and obviously weak man?

          Oh, and to add about my post-libertarian friend — he’s living a very full, rich and enjoyable life as well.

          There an infinite number of right answers to the question of “human”.

          It’s nice to see he may have found his answer.

          But that does not mean everyone else’s answer is wrong.

  32. Simple way to reduce profits – get a 100% free market.

    In such a market, the following cycle occurs:
    1) Business makes profit, inviting competitors into the market segment
    2) Increased competition for labor, suppliers, and customers reduces profit margin

    Repeat until profit margin is effectively zero (equal to alternative rates of return) – ta-da, money has been effectively allocated, there are exactly as many people producing exactly as many goods at exactly the price people want to pay etc etc.

    Ok overly simple sure but I just wanted to post something to let people know I’m still alive! 😉

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