Guest Commentary – Tangible Asset Tax

Thursday night and the ever popular guest commentary! I am pretty happy about having tonight’s guest commentary. As I often tell everyone here, this blog is certainly my thoughts, but I never wanted it to be a place where other ideas and thoughts are not welcome. I am always hoping that people will submit stuff from the opposite side of the political spectrum from mine. And tonight we have a guest commentary from a commenter that you all know, Chris Devine! I won’t attempt to define his political stance for him, but I have always viewed Chris as someone from the left, and we all know that is the polar opposite of where I stand. But true to form, Chris has offered a guest commentary topic that is interesting and well thought out. I look forward to seeing what everyone thinks of his idea and hearing what pitfalls people might identify.

Before we continue, I have also noticed that things have heated up here at SUFA a little bit while I have been largely MIA during the daytime hours. I ask that everyone take a deep breath, and remember that the point of the site is for us to better understand opposing viewpoints. When we begin throwing insults back and forth, we become no better than the Huffington Post or any other harsh site out there. I am not looking to single anyone out or even to “crack down”, but I am asking that everyone remember that there really is only one HMFIC at SUFA, and he says there is to be no personal insulting in the debates here. I understand the passion we all have for these subjects. If you cannot debate with certain people then I suggest you simply ignore their posts and move on to those that you find stimulating in a positive way.

It is important to remember that we have great problems in America, and the real problem, in my opinion, is that the politicians have done a tremendous job of dividing us and making us so hostile with one another that we cannot have a conversation and figure out that they are not on our side. All this garbage of personal insults, from both sides, does no one any good. And more important, it is not necessary. I would say that there are times when I feel Matthius or TexasChem or BF or whomever are not applying the proper logic to their conclusion, and I have told each one of them so when I think so, yet I would hope that I can say that none of them have felt that I have attacked them personally. Because it isn’t personal, it is merely a difference in perspective.

I have my own perspective. So does Chris Devine, Matthius, Buck, JAC, TexasChem, BF, Cyndi, G-Man, D13, Anita, and everyone else. If we refuse to learn from each other, then the site serves zero purpose. I am not interested in running a site where everyone simple agrees and pats each other on the back. I am also not interested in running a site where people cannot disagree without resorting to personal attacks on character or intelligence. There are plenty of each of those types of sites out there, and I don’t need to waste my time simply offering another one. SUFA is my passion, and I love what it has become because the personal attacks are not permitted, and we learn from each other. So everyone calm down and remain civil, because damnit, if I have to pull this blog over and come back there, there is going to be trouble.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program:

Before you rush to judgement (as I know some of you are doing simply because it is Chris and therefore you don’t believe that you can possibly agree), I submit that the proper path is to have a listen to what Chris has to say and then put some thought into it for a moment or two. For my part, I humbly request that we evaluate his idea without delving into the expected discussions about whether taxing as a premise is wrong. I know that some believe it wrong and others believe it right, and that is not going to change simply because someone presents a different way to tax. So let’s not waste our time debating the merits of taxing. Instead, let’s discuss the method of taxing that Chris has presented here. It is the first time that I have ever read something along these lines, so I will also be taking some time to think about it and come up with questions about it.

Tangible Asset Tax
by Chris Devine

Get rid of income taxes. It’s our last progressive tax and the one that causes the most heartache amongst the rich and poor (mostly the rich). In its place I suggest two taxes:

1. An end-user sales tax and

2. A Tangible Asset Tax (TAT).

What is a TAT? It’s a tax on the things you own. That’s it. No fancy jargon. No legalese. Nothing more than a tax on the physical objects that you possess. Simple, right?

What makes a TAT so good? Well, taxes are meant to be the dues we pay for living in a society. Those dues are supposed to be used to protect and maintain the necessities of our society (e.g., fire and police services, national defense, regulatory agencies, research grants, individual assistance for the needy, etc.). Without those services we wouldn’t have a stable economy and we would be under constant threat from enemies, both foreign and domestic. By taxing the things you own we could apportion the amount each of us owes in accordance with the amount we own that needs protection. If you have a lot that needs protecting it only makes sense that you pay a bigger share (and vice versa). Still with me?

You might ask how on Earth are we going to get people to be honest about what they own so they don’t cheat. Simple, tax them on what they insure. If it’s worth enough for people to insure, then it’s probably worth public protection. Also, if people are willing to avoid insuring something to avoid paying taxes, then why should we protect it? Some people will probably gamble on that, but after a few yachts and Ferraris get stolen (or bass boats and Chevys, if you prefer) without any way to recoup that loss, people will presumably wise-up and pay their dues.

Without an income tax we could dispense with all the arguments that say people have a disincentive to work harder. If you bust your ass to earn overtime and a bonus, why should you just see it disappear into the federal coffers before you even had a chance to put it into your savings account? However, if you use that money to buy things that need protecting then it seems obvious (to me anyway) that you should save a little bit to make sure it doesn’t vanish through accidents or crime. Similarly, if you are quite willing to live simply and save all your money, then why should you be punished for being prudent and frugal (we won’t tax investment income either so please pump that money back into the machine to keep it running smoothly)? But what if you just don’t make that much (or care to) and can’t save (or own) as much as the next guy? Well, the only tax you’ll pay is a sales tax.

But wait a minute, isn’t that regressive? Won’t those who have to spend their whole paycheck on necessities suffer? Perhaps, unless you offer exemptions for things like food, shelter and basic transportation. If you only pay taxes on the things you buy and keep (food is only borrowed for a little while) then you can avoid paying taxes altogether if you don’t want to splurge on luxuries, however modest. But if you like to shop ‘til you drop, then expect to cough up some change when the basket is passed. If you want to keep it safe then you’ve got to help.

I’m sure I can’t be the only one who’s thought of this and I’m sure there would be a great deal of pressure from the insurance companies, but I think I’m on to something here. With your help I’m sure we could work out all the kinks and propose a new tax model that does what it’s supposed to and minimizes all the bickering. What do you think?

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Comments

  1. USWeapon says:

    Everyone,

    Before I get into the topic of Chris’s guest commentary, allow me to simply start with a thread for the other stuff I talked about in the prelude (civility at SUFA). I realize that there may be some folks that want to comment on what I said or tell me to zip it. So here is a question or comment thread that is just for you to comment on that. The discussions and comments on Chris’s guest commentary can begin down at #2.

    USW

    • TexasChem says:

      I have always enjoyed the debates here on SUFA.It has always remained civil in my opinion; even though I have been acused of emotional responses in my postings! 🙂

      I don’t anger easily and if by some small chance I do get angry, it is at myself for not being able to assert the truth, reality, and necessity of the principles of my arguments.

      With that being said I am awaiting your response to my response of your fifth topic from your last blog posting USW! *wink*

    • I have finally gotten my fifteen minutes of fame!!!! Thanks for the shout out USW.. That made my

      day.I shout out back borrowing JACs five smiley award 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      • oopos..see how shocked I was.. Top that JAC! Weapon got six smileys from me.. Where’s My DEW, dangit, its still early.

    • All taxes are evil.

      (1) They are theft. They require violence on non-violent men to enforce.
      (2) They distort economic calculation with its replacement by political calculation.
      (3) It centralizes authority over diffuse and individual authority
      (4) Some part of the economy is damaged so to favor another part of the economy.
      (5) They are not dues to be paid for civilization or society. They are destructive to civilization and society.

      Those are the serious, but standard, problems with taxation.

      I’ll comment on Chris’ specific tax plans a bit later.

      • Chris Devine says:

        Okay, suppose it is a voluntary system. Nobody makes you pay or file any documents. If you think you can do better on your own, then best of luck.

        However, if you find out after the fact that you can’t do it alone and you need to avail of our services then we’ll help you out (but payment for services rendered will be due immediately and in full). No sliding scales, no payment plans. If you can’t pay you must sell some stuff until you can.

        Or suppose you do pay but it turns out you lied. You are in breech of contract and must pay the difference.

        How’s that sound?

        • Chris

          Okay, suppose it is a voluntary system. Nobody makes you pay or file any documents. If you think you can do better on your own, then best of luck.

          Absolutely!

          I can buy security services – who unlike the LEO’s actively and proactively guard me, my family and my property.

          LEO’s are come after I’m dead.

          My Security is there preventing my death.

          However, if you find out after the fact that you can’t do it alone and you need to avail of our services then we’ll help you out (but payment for services rendered will be due immediately and in full). No sliding scales, no payment plans. If you can’t pay you must sell some stuff until you can.

          Or, some others will offer payment plans and sliding scales.

          How’s that sound?

          Any voluntary offering of service is good.

          Any elimination of violence on free men is good.

  2. USWeapon says:

    Chris,

    First let me say thanks for submitting this. I am always a fan of hearing different ideas and alternatives in our search to make things better.

    The first question that comes to mind for me is whether you think that a tax like this has the capability to realistically cover the revenue gathered through the current income tax process? I am thinking about the fact that, if I recall correctly, the federal government gains roughly a trillion and a half dollars a year from income taxes. Taking that 1.5 Trillion away from them, do you think that these two proposed taxes will be sufficient to replace that? Or more important, given the increases in government spending on entitlement programs that we are seeing recently, will we be increasing the deficit, cutting programs, or taking in more than we currently do?

    I really am asking the questions I have in earnest. I have no idea how much digging into the numbers you have done, and I am simply attempting to ascertain whether this would be a feasible plan or not.

    USW

    • TexasChem says:

      Chris’ TaT sounds similiar to the local property taxes we pay here in Texas.I don’t mind them as long as the funds remain local.As far as federal taxes you all know I endorse a flat tax and repeal of the current Income Tax.

    • Chris Devine says:

      To be honest I don’t know. My guess is that if the money is generated in one form then it must be there regardless of how it is generated. I haven’t tried at all to crunch any numbers, just come up with a new paradigm that at least fits the claim that each of us should pay our fair share (by paying taxes in relation to the amount of property we own that is protected by public services).

      I think we should cut some programs. The defense acquisition process is ripe for the picking. There is far too much of an emphasis on expensive high-tech gadgets than proven systems and personnel. Having first-hand experience with the air force I have seen projects like the B-1 and V-22 that have just been huge money pits that would dwarf the amounts spent on individual assistance programs. I have also seen the privatization of military activities (combat and non-combat) that have not resulted in savings at all. All they do is siphon off taxpayer money into private accounts.

      I am all for efficiency (or effectiveness if BF prefers), any program that doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do should be up for cancellation. While some may see it as an insurmountable task, I think we need more than a little transparency and honesty in government spending. Start from scratch and stop all the bailouts and subsidies to businesses that aren’t viable or competitive. This might spell the end for Amtrak and the Post Office, but if nobody wants to use these services then they should change or die. Call it fiscal Darwinism. If we want Americans to use rail-travel then Amtrak needs to make their case. If the Post Office wants to survive in this world of email and IM’s then it needs to do more than just be a junk mail service.

      Let me repeat, ALL programs that don’t do what they’re supposed to need to be reevaluated. No pet projects. No feeling sorry for the mailman or defense contractors.

  3. How about we don’t pay any taxes?

    Let’s take our illegal immigrant problem and turn it into money. Since we have supported many countries around the world in aid and defense for many decades, let’s let them support us for a change.

    We could have a raffle/lottery system that would give X number of foreigners a chance at US citizenship. Since we have people that want to be here so bad they are willing to pay coyotes and human smugglers, let them pay us instead.

    First we have to kick out the illegals and lock down the borders and make really tough laws like Mexico has.

    Kind of kidding here, but on second thought…..

    • Chris Devine says:

      There already is a visa lottery, but it’s only available for people “from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.”

      http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/types/types_1322.html

    • Hi Dee,

      I suggest an Obama-Supporter tax. Those who believe that their leader has great ideas and policies could voluntarily sign up to have their taxes doubled, while the rest of us continue to pay the current rate. That way, they can put THEIR money where their mouth is, lead by example and demonstrate that the policies and programs are as touted. Once that occurs, the majority of Americans will gladly fund the effective and worthy programs and policies. I would do it if I could be convinced the money is well spent.

      On immigration, maybe we should consider duplicating Mexico’s immigration laws as much as possible. At least we’ll be able to say we’re ‘just like another country’. 😉

      • Hey Cyndi,

        I was reading some comments on one of the news sites after the health care bill passed. A businessman from Oklahoma said he figured out the cost consequences to his business and found he would need to lay off 6 people. He said all the employees were like family, so he was agonizing over who to lay off. Then he went outside for a walk, to clear his head. While passing the parking lot he noticed a few vehicles with Obama bumper stickers and decided they would be the ones to go. They voted for change and he was going to give it to them.

        • LOL! I’ve seen an email to that effect several times. I love the sentiment, btw. I don’t think the Obama voters getting their “Change” in that fashion is true. It wouldn’t take them long to figure out that they were discriminated against for their political views, and they would lawyer up accordingly. That said, the universe will deal with the Obama voters in the correct fashion. They can sing the praises of his policies all they want, and impose them on everyone as they please, but they won’t be spared the results of those policies anymore than we will. There IS justice, and a God. 🙂

  4. End user sales tax? What if (a) I buy something from you that bought from the store, and (b) I then sell it to BF who (c) sells it to USW who then at some time in the future (d) sells it back to you. Q#1 – Who pays the end user sales tax, you, me, USW or BF? Q#2 – since you got it back, do you pay the tax twice?

    EUST just ain’t a good idea.

    TAT? Q#1 – If I buy something, sell it, and at some later date buy it back . . . Just how many times am I going to have to pay taxes on it?

    My idea would be to dismantle the IRS. Replace ALL taxes with a small percentage earnings tax – kinda like “earn a dollar pay a dime” sort of thing. That way if DC needs more money then they must make sure all of us are earning money!

    • Chris Devine says:

      What I had in mind was the sale of newly produced goods. The sale of secondhand items wouldn’t be taxed.

      The problem with income taxes in general is that they disproportionally affect the poor and middle class whose wealth is mostly in the form of income. What I have tried to propose is a system where the amount you pay is directly related to the amount you consume and/or accumulate.

      • EUST – interesting idea.

        “What I had in mind was the sale of newly produced goods. The sale of secondhand items wouldn’t be taxed.”

        So when would it be a “newly produced good” and who gets to decide it? When it is manufactured? Then it could go to a distributor, then to a local retailer. That is two possible mark ups that the government isn’t getting the % sales tax on and we all know the government likes getting its hands in your pockets.

        Contrary to a flat sales tax, it sounds better because the tax is only paid once per product instead of every time it changes hands.

        • Chris Devine says:

          Similar to a VAT, producers would get a refund on the taxes they paid based upon the taxes they collect. If you buy supplies to produce something new for sale then you can recoup the portion of sales tax you paid from the amount you collect when selling your product. That way there will be no ‘double taxation’.

          • Excuse me, but isn’t the VAT based on the PERCEIVED value of the item and not the actual retail value? My question would be just whose perceived value do we pay taxes on?!?

      • So, correct me if I am wrong here. What you are saying is that if I work very hard, and then diligently save up for my retirement, I would be punished for doing that with higher taxes?

  5. A Puritan Descendant says:

    Chris, sounds fine to me. It has to be better than what we have now.

    Tho I do suspect the rich may take their chances and self insure. If I didn’t want to pay my share I know I would take my chances and I am not even rich. I would just cancel my insurance. If my house burned to the ground I would live one of my outbuildings and frame the start of another house with my sawmill and lumber.

    I suspect assets would need to be assessed or accounted for in some manner to deter cheats like me.

    • Chris Devine says:

      In California you can avoid the car insurance mandate if you put up a $50k bond. That doesn’t limit you to $50k if you are negligent and the damages are more than that. It’s just a way of proving you have the means to pay if you cause an accident. I’m not sure how many people would rather use that since insurance policies would cover you well above that for a much lower price.

      Rich people aren’t stupid and neither are their accountants and tax attorneys. My guess is that many would see that it would still be worthwhile to pay for insurance and taxes instead of gambling. I could be wrong.

      There will also be people on the other end who will take the risk, but they will quickly find out what happens when a friend or neighbor loses something valuable and can’t afford to replace it. I honestly believe that if people understand the benefits they will pony up.

  6. I need a little more info-everything I own-we’re talking clothes, jewelry, pots, pans, etc. I know you said things I insure and I insure most everything in my house. I also like to go garage selling. So keeping up with what I bought at a store and what some one gave me or I bought second hand-Seems complicated?

    • Complicated compared to what? The tax system we now employ is so darned complicated it would take 6 months to read the current tax code!

      Actually it is an angle I had not considered, but would be willing to try…SOMETHING needs to be done to the current structure to make it easier for the average Joe…

    • Chris Devine says:

      My idea is that you submit a copy of your insurance bill that shows the value of the items you are insuring. Insurance companies often ask for an itemized list of valuables to better assess the risk. If you have ingots of gold laying around but don’t make a reasonable effort to secure them, then the insurance is going to be expensive (if you can even find a company to give you a policy).

      Overall the idea is that by divulging how much your property is worth you give an accurate account of what your share of the nation’s wealth is. You can then be billed for your share of the costs to safeguard it.

      • I guess I was being slow this morning and putting the two taxes together in my head-so value of what I own is really just a list of big items and an estimate of all the small stuff.

  7. Seems good at first glance, give me a moment to thinkit through and so forth. Chances are, it will still seem good. the only thing is, to operate within a proper budget, fuding will have to be cut drastically. This means that, while I agree with the idea, its implementation may not agree with many who would otherwise be in your corner.

    • Chris Devine says:

      There is no room in the federal budget (or any budget) for programs that don’t work. If people spend their hard-earned money on something then it should work as advertised. No more lemons. If education or individual assistance programs don’t actually educate people or assist individuals (I said ‘assist’ not enable bad habits), then there is no reason for them to exist. Likewise, defense programs must actually keep us safe, not just enrich Boeing, Lockheed-Martin and their shareholders.

      When the government realizes it must actually solve problems instead of creating new ones there will be plenty of incentive to change. The same goes for any institution that gets its funding from the people it serves.

      • Gotta say Chris, I like this concept. Here is what I would like to see.

        Taxes based on what services you receive, with most being services you can opt out of. If a reasonable TAT tax was in place and it forced the governemnt into the spending level that would result (assuming no deficit spending), then it would go a long way toward being at the level of restriction I agree with. In addition, however, I would like to see come taxes based on usage, such as road taxes and other things that can be easily quantified based on direct use of service. Other services should be open to competition, and allowed to be opted out of entirely, meaning that taxes would not be charged, but then services would not be rendered, no matter the plight of the individual who opted out. Total exemption would be granted to anyone who chose to opt out of citizenship, but usage taxes and charges would be higher than for citizens.

        I dunno, it certyainly has potential, this TAT, I think it could combine with my own ideas on taxation to be the ultimate solution. I will continue to monitor this discussion to see what else pops up 🙂

        • Chris Devine says:

          Overall what I’m trying to propose is a mechanism for funding those services we all benefit from in a way that is proportional to use. A fair tax structure will do just that. This is no more than my attempt to take a stab at the problem.

      • “There is no room in the federal budget (or any budget) for programs that don’t work.”

        Shirley (pun intended) you jest?!?

        If I would list all the federal programs that our currant bunch of imbeciles in DC have funded which just don’t work, I would run out of space . . . 😉

  8. How about this novel idea. STOP SPENDING PERIOD FOR ONE FULL YEAR. I just don’t get it. LOI posted a list of the most ridiculous projects that stimulus money was spent on. That’s the kind of stuff that irks me to no end. PORK ,PORK, PORK. GIMME A BREAK. We shun our family and friends for not being able to manage money. Why for the love of God do we allow this stupid shit to go on in DC?

  9. Common Man says:

    Chris;

    I think it is a wonderful idea. Have some questions though:

    – How would this apply to businesses?

    – Would you pay it yearly on property based on estimated value?

    – How would you tax the farmers relative to seed needed to produce crop? How would they be taxed on equipment? Keep in mind that most of them (family farms) are not rich, however they have very high priced equipment items used to produce a crop (tractors and supplimental equipment can get up near $1m + in costs. Also, would you tax their crop since they would want to insure it, and if so would the tax be based on retail value or the cost of the seed?

    – Who would pay the tax in a ‘land contract’ arragement?

    – How would you asses the value of livestock?

    – How about physical assets like gold and silver which are purchased as an investment?

    – How about the tax on services like vacations, gambling, airfare, and other like services that are for all practical purposes temporary?

    – How about medicine?

    I think the concept has legs and is fair, but I would not hold much hope for it ever being adopted by a corrupt government; as it would put most of their objectives and programs out the door.

    CM

    • Chris Devine says:

      Regarding businesses, the sales tax would be very much like a VAT in that businesses could recoup the sales tax they paid on supplies needed for products they sell. The same would go for farmers and their seeds.

      You would pay TAT based upon the insured value as shown on your insurance contract/bill. When or how often is not something I have thought about much.

      Regarding farm equipment and such it seems that there would have to be reasonable exemptions for legitimate business expenses (including livestock) just like there would be on food, shelter, medical costs and transportation expenses.

      Physical assets are physical assets. A rental property is no different than gold in that respect. Gold does not provide dividends like a bank account and it does not provide liquidity or capital for further investment.

      I’m still not sure how services should be treated. Insofar as they are a product, then they would be subject to sales tax. That should cover the costs of safety and regulatory agencies. But since services aren’t something you accumulate and are not assets they wouldn’t be subject to a TAT.

  10. My argument against the TAT would be that it hurts lower income people more than it seems. I live in one of the few states with a death tax. Anything listed in the will is taxed. If you use a lawyer to get through the estate process, they often want to get a % of the estate, small %, but the more that is there the more they get, so it is in their best interest to list as much possible. Now all of this stuff is on record and who it goes to is on record. So any family heirlooms are going to be taxed yearly? Some people have some possessions that are quite expensive that the families don’t want to sell. How would a family on a limited income be able to afford the tax on an item that is very valuable that they would like to keep?

    This is just one situation out of many, but the TAT is an interesting thing I have not heard of before. For the above reason among others, it seems highly unenforceable and difficult to implement.

    • Chris Devine says:

      As far as estate taxes go a TAT would be owner-neutral. It wouldn’t matter if the property was owned by you or your parents, the tax would still need to be paid. Does this mean estate taxes would be abolished? Not necessarily. The two biggest arguments in favor of estate taxes are:

      1. To prevent de facto aristocracies from forming by successive accumulation of wealth in the same family.
      2. To foster hard work over inheritance.

      As far as I’m concerned estate taxes should not apply to people who are not rich enough to be considered part of a dynasty or those who won’t inherit enough to allow them to sponge of the old man’s hard work. No dynasties and no trust-fund brats.

      • Chris….I think, in order to get any support for a TAT….you would have to kill the inheritance taxes.

        • Chris Devine says:

          They’re almost dead already. But since they only apply to a tiny fraction of voters I think that they might be salvageable. Most people have been lied to about the nuts and bolts of estate taxes. If people really knew the reasoning behind them and how few people they actually affect, then it shouldn’t be too difficult to keep them. Famous last words.

      • I am saying that the government will know what you have because of the inheritance tax, so even if you don’t insure it they know about it.

  11. Good Morning, Chris. I have several questions for you.

    Tangible asset defined = In the context of accounting, assets are either current or fixed (non-current). Current means that the asset will be consumed within one year. Generally this includes things like cash, accounts receivable and inventory. Fixed assets are those that are expected to keep on providing benefit for more than one year, such as equipment, buildings, real estate, etc.

    Business questions first.

    Question 1 – Would you expect the TAT to apply to business. If so, would the accounting rules to define what a tangible asset is to get to the net tangible asset that is important to business. ( Net tangible asset = Calculated as the total assets of a company, minus any intangible assets such as goodwill, patents and trademarks, less all liabilities and the par value of preferred stock.)

    Question 2 – Would the value of the asset be adjusted for depreciation, like insurance companies do now when you turn in a loss? Business would be interested in this for replacement costs and balance sheet items. Even off balance sheet items. Example….. I buy an piece of equipment that has a 20 year life. I can either set up accelerated depreciation or depreciate if over the life of the equipment. If I were to sell that piece of equipment five years down the road, then I would only get its value at the time. If I lost that piece of equipment in a fire, I would get a certain value less depreciation. So, I can see where the accounting definition of you TAT idea would have to change.

    Question 3 – As a business, most equipment is covered for loss under a normal catastrophic coverage policy. In essence, most equipment is self insured anyway. Accelerated depreciation allows positive cash flow pertaining to that equipment and a prudent business person would take the cash flow savings and bank it for replacement. The catastrophic coverage is for fire, etc. if such happens before depreciation runs out.

    Question 4 – Would you identify TAT to apply to accounts receivables, cash, long term receivables, trademarks, long term outside investment, par value of stocks and bonds or current asset value of stocks and bonds? Would you allow for weighted averaging on stocks over…let’s say a 10 year period or the life of current ownership so that a basis could be established before applying the TAT?

    Question 5 – Would you include farms and ranches? Cattle, poultry, and crops? Land?

    Personal assets – In Texas, as mentioned, we already have a form of that in place. A good example…I own a Baron 58P (plane) and I am taxed on it now as a personal property. Boats, recreational vehicles, etc are already taxed….hence we do not have a state income tax. Personal income statements allow for depreciation and allowances. we self insure several items and, I think, more of that would happen to avoid taxation. I also think that the insurance records to not accurately reflect assets. I think that you would have to require the submission of personal income statements to adequately evaluate a persons assets. Most people want their income statements to reflect high values….why? To get higher lines of credit…. Since we are not currently taxed on income statements, that is why the values are higher.

    I see a host of problems….unless you can the entire tax system and require everyone to turn in a certified income statement.

    Do I make any sense here at all? Accounting principles and the tax codes are very complex but what I pointed out are some generic questions.

    • Chris Devine says:

      I knew this was coming. I tried to produce the spirit of a new law, but I didn’t say I could produce the actual letter of it. I’m not sure how capable I am of answering the overtly technical questions, but I’ll give it a shot.

      I would expect that legitimate business expenses would be exempt for the most part in order to provide incentive for economic activity. I was thinking more along the lines of personal property.

      Value should probably be adjusted for depreciation and inflation even if insured value is for replacement costs. That way people would be taxed based upon what they actually own, not the cost of replacing it since the difference between the two will fall under sales taxes when the new products are purchased.

      Non-physical assets like monetary instruments should not be taxed as long as they are in the market and providing the grease for economic machinery.

      Land that is used for business purposes should be considered a business expense and thus exempt.

      I like your idea about submitting income statements (even if it’s not taxed) to provide some background material for fraud prevention.

      • You answered what I wanted to know perfectly. I did not expect a tax expert opinion. I was interested in your response and I am reading all of them.

        I, personally, would be against a personal income statement to be rendered but such are rendered all the time to banks for credit purposes anyway….and is not the 1040 a form of personal income statement anyway.

        However, most people are now running afraid of government and the taxing authorities. It is very easy to hide assets and change nomenclatures and a lot of people are forced to do this. However, I think that you would have to eliminate all taxes in lieu of your TAT proposal.

        One thing that just popped in my little pea brain…..I would think that you would also have to eliminate appraising agencies and their ability to value in excess of market value.

        • Chris Devine says:

          With this proposal I am trying to get rid of most taxes in favor of creating a system that takes the overall budget and apportions the taxes according to how much each individual benefits.

  12. While I hate the use of FAIR in any discussion of taxes the fact of the matter is that the only tax one could call fair is one where those who use the service pay for the service.

    Any deviation from that becomes less and less fair.

    Deciding what type of tax to construct should be evaluated against some objective criteria. OK, not objective but my own biased criteria.

    Efficiency of collection.
    No double+ taxation.
    Effectiveness of collection.
    Efficiency and effectiveness of reporting.
    Openly visible to tax payer.
    Addresses annual cash needs for ABSOLUTELY NEEDED services. Basically fixed cost of govt.
    Tax payer must be able to pay the tax, no exceptions, without being forced to sell property.

    • Chris Devine says:

      I’m completely with you on the ‘fee for services rendered’ issue. What I’m trying to do is propose a reasonable mechanism to do just that.

      I think I agree for the most part with all the criteria you have suggested. You’ll get some hesitation from the usual suspects about what counts as ‘absolutely needed’. The joys of democracy.

      The last one is the only one to give me pause since I firmly believe in estate taxes as a tool to prevent trust-funder’s and dynasties. But I’m sure we could work something out.

      • Chris

        The minute we inject things like “addressing dynasties” we are moving away from objective into the subjective.

        Besides, most of these fortunes are lost by the second generation. And we often ignore the fact that transfer from generation to generation is one way to create independent citizens who do not need to feed from the trough.

        Boortz’s FAIR TAX addresses the criteria quite well. My hang up with it is the REFUND CHECK that must be sent out to all who want it. It places the govt in the position of invading my privacy for me to get the money back on basic living expenses.

        That and the RATE itself is far to high for the Federal taxes.

        But other than that I think it is a good proposal, and has some commonality with yours.

        • Chris Devine says:

          Regarding trust-funder’s and dynasties, it all comes down to the values we want to support as Americans. Do we want to encourage hard work, economic risk, and democratic processes? If so we should have systems in place to reduce the likelihood of people living off of others’ hard work and economic stagnation (trust-funder’s) and groups of people accumulating enough concentrated power to allow them to subvert the democratic process (dynasties).

          The cross-generational transfer of wealth is not something I want to stop in all its forms. The only time it should be hindered is when it poses a clear and present danger to American values (i.e., rarely).

          • Chris, you said ” Do we want to encourage hard work, economic risk, and democratic processes?”. Taxing the estates, in my opinion, would be a detriment to that end. Part of what drives some, me included, is to be able to leave something for my children/grandchildren so that they would have more opportunity than I did.

            I don’t think you are supporting taking everything from everybody who passes away, but anything taken from most would represent double taxation…something I really hate…even though it happens now anyway…

          • A Puritan Descendant says:

            you must also be against state run lotteries too?

          • Chris said:

            “Do we want to encourage hard work, economic risk, and democratic processes? If so we should have systems in place to reduce the likelihood of people living off of others’ hard work and economic stagnation….”

            You make this comment towards those freeloaders that get trust funds; I believe the entitlement mentality class would be a better fit to your statement.

  13. Bottom Line says:

    The insurance industry already has too much influence in government, and it’s none of the government’s/tax-man’s/anyone’s buisiness what I buy, sell, trade, own and/or insure.

    • Chris Devine says:

      If you use government services it only seems reasonable that you pay your fair share. If you have a better mechanism for determining that share, then by all means suggest it.

      • Bottom Line says:

        Chris,

        Sorry if I seem a little harsh in my assessment of your idea. Sometimes I like to save myself some typing and try to make my point in the least amount of words as possible. It’s kinda the way I think as well, I like to break it down a bit…hence “Bottom Line”.

        It’s not that your ideas are without benefit. Your ideas are creative and the “TAT” could work in my favor as I am poor and own virtually nothing. I would be required to pay no taxes.

        Here is my issue. There are already so many clever and creative ways to mandate and tax our money away and any time you add an irrelevent entity, you’re gonna have issues.

        Example of a clever and creative way to mandate and tax/steal our money –
        The government mandates that you buy type “X” insurance and regulates that coverage must be at least “Y”. The insurance companies love this because they are garanteed customers and a certain level of profit that they don’t have to earn. The government loves it too because it is another transaction and another industry to tax. They each get their cut of something that ultimately was coerced out of you. Buy insurance or be fined, jailed, beaten, tasered, and/or shot.

        Government = Law = Enforcement = Coercion = Violence

        The insurance companies end up with a vested interest in you being legally forced to buy what they sell. I call it Fascism and I don’t like it.

        Taxing us through what we insure is adding an irrelevent entity to the equation. Taxes are a concern between government and the people. The insurance companies should have no say in the matter or be forced to alter their business practices to jump through hoops for the tax-man.

        I can see a overly-influencial intrusive fascist beaurocratic disaster with “TAT”.

        Chris Devine – “If you use government services it only seems reasonable that you pay your fair share.”

        I don’t use government services other than things like driving on the roads. Which is why I see things like “gas tax” as reasonable. If my gas tax contribution keeps the stoplight working so that I don’t get hit, it is certainly reasonable.

        A fishing license is another. That $20 goes to maintaining fish populations in lakes and streams. It’s a fisherman’s contribution and is a collective benefit of all fisherman.

        Both are me paying “my fair share”. It is not reasonable to expect non-drivers to pay for traffic lights or for non-fisherman to pay to have lakes and streams stocked.

        I wish I had more time today to better articulate and further debate. I have to go bid a job.

        Perhaps I will be back later. Perhaps not.

    • That’s kind of how I’ve been thinking BL. Tax something only once if you have to. A national sales tax if you want to call it that. But I see this TAT as almost an invasion of privacy if it got out of hand. What if you don’t report anything, are the tax police going to come to your home and go thru your stuff?

      • They can do that now.

        • Bottom Line says:

          I know an old man who is a retired cop and keeps a gun next to his chair in the living room. He’s kinda senile, and if the wrong person scared him in the wrong way, they are liable to get shot. In fact, I know a few elderly folks that keep guns handy.

          I am just waiting to hear that somewhere a cop or government agent decided to do a warrantless “sneak and peak” search and got their head blown off by an 80 yr old woman with a shotgun.

      • Bottom Line says:

        Invasion of privacy indeed.

        Something just isn’t right about the government and the insurance industry making a coordinated effort to worry about what I have or don’t have, especially with the presence of an underlying threat.

        If they wanted to come to my house to look thru my stuff, I would laugh at them.

        I don’t own a house and what I do own can fit in the back of my truck.

        🙂

  14. Sorry, I forgot the other part of FAIR.

    Tax should be voluntary. I know BF says if its voluntary its not a tax but that is NOT my definition.

    Taxes are private money or assets paid to government.

    • JAC,

      “Tax should be voluntary.”

      I am with you on this, except if VDLG were to take hold, voluntary tax is where it would end. A mandatory tax would still be necessary to move us from big government. Didn’t the US start with revenue collected only from tariffs? Could a small government be funded by import/export fees only?

  15. Chris

    I think it was Jefferson who first proposed that those with more at risk should pay more in taxes. Thus the modern liberal/progressives throw his name at you when you attack “progressive” income tax.

    But lets chase the “more at risk” theory first as it relates to national defense. I propose that we all have the exact same thing at risk. That is our freedom and liberty. It is NOT our property or wealth but our freedom and liberty to acquire property and wealth.

    So in this regard, General Welfare, are those things that we all share equally and which apply to us equally. In my view this would be limited to the cost of maintaining Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Executive and the cost of maintaining a Defensive Military.

    Now we could debate who values their freedom more. But that would let all the lefties off and the other 20% of us would have to pay all the taxes 🙂

    Stamp Tax on legal documents addresses the “added risk of the wealthy” better than a TAT. One time tax when contracts are recorded.

    • Chris

      Should have said “Judicial” and not Supreme Court. The base federal judicial provides access to the courts for protection of our basic liberties.

      Anything above that is proportional to use. Thus the stamp tax on recorded documents.

    • Chris Devine says:

      I’ll support any mechanism that satisfies the ‘fee for services rendered’ condition. However, I think many people don’t recognize some of the services actually provided by government (e.g., providing stability and encouraging hard work and innovation). Safety and regulatory agencies (as part of the executive branch) will fit in that category provided they work as advertised.

      Also, if we reduce defense spending to the cost of actually defending this country I imagine substantial savings could be generated.

      • Chris

        Gee whiz, and we were doing so well.

        I agree many don’t realize the amount of services but I question whether most of those are appropriate.

        You said: “I think many people don’t recognize some of the services actually provided by government (e.g., providing stability and encouraging hard work and innovation).”

        Providing stability, as in national defense, I will agree with. Other stability? Not so much. In fact govt is destabilizing if you include our Treasury and Federal Reserve Bank. Maybe some room for discussion.

        Encouraging hard work and innovation, absolutely NOT the governments role. With one caveat that you mentioned. The tax structure and regulatory framework should NOT discourage hard work and innovation. This is a passive service, in that it costs nothing to NOT discourage.

        Your the Green Party guy so have you come up with a “use tax” concept for environmental protection yet?

        Go ahead and drop to the bottom. I am guessing your getting a little dizzy running between comments.

        🙂 JAC

        • Chris Devine says:

          Ideally the government would not be destabilizing the economy. But having a common currency and providing a court system for the non-violent settling of disputes is certainly a stabilizing influence. We can work on the rest.

        • Chris Devine says:

          I don’t like the idea of using taxes to discourage negative behavior (e.g., sin and excise taxes). I do support the use of fines for violating the law. Fines should cover the costs of fixing the messes and as a deterrent for others. As far as reducing bad habits go (like our dependence on non-renewable energy), I would prefer that tax breaks and such be used as incentives.

          • Chris

            I will support FINES when the govt stops keeping the money and starts giving it to those who were harmed.

            FINES are a lousy way to address bad behavior in a free society.

            Restitution must be made to those harmed in the actual value of the harm.

            Govt fines set an arbitrary limit on the harm and it is usually much less than the actual harm or much more than the actual harm.

            We don”t want Govt to have a “financing incentive” attached to its decisions.

            • Chris Devine says:

              I consider restitution to be part of cleaning up the mess. I also don’t like the idea of giving the government a ‘financing incentive’ to curtail bad habits. Parking tickets are evil. Speeding tickets should just cause a loss of the privilege of driving on public roads.

              • Chris

                “I consider restitution to be part of cleaning up the mess.”

                I agree. My point is that FINES never cover all the cost of clean up and they don’t compensate the injured for the harm actually done to them.

                Of course, many of our clean up problems today were the result of some govt complacency so in that respect I guess we all have to pay for not being more astute and diligent.

                USFWS budget increases with new listings of T&E species.

                EPA budget increases with new regulations for what ever it thinks necessary.

                Perhaps these are cultural issues regarding ethics and integrity. A little more conviction that as a govt employee I am responsible for looking out for the taxpayer’s dollar.

    • JAC said:

      “But lets chase the “more at risk” theory first as it relates to national defense. I propose that we all have the exact same thing at risk. That is our freedom and liberty. It is NOT our property or wealth but our freedom and liberty to acquire property and wealth.”

      Exactly what BF shared a couple days ago via his buddy Professor Rowley.

      • Chris Devine says:

        Freedom and liberty are certainly at risk and cannot be differentiated between rich or poor, but the loss of a mansion is a lot different than the loss of a studio apartment.

        • Chris

          The point is that there are values that are greater than others. I think the same applies to rights.

          The right to own property is worthless if my right to liberty has been obstructed.

          The loss of the mansion is meaningless if the rich man is no longer free.

          Thus our national defense is equally shared.

          The protection of the mansion against fire, theft of other, is a relative cost and not equally shared. He pays for the value of the protection he desires.

          But lets not forget that protection of private property is generally a local tax issue and not one of Federal Tax or even State Tax.

          • Chris Devine says:

            Ask Martha Stewart, Leona Helmsley or Michael Milken if they felt the same as the other prisoners. Better yet ask the other prisoners. The loss of liberty is certainly terrible, but giving up a life of luxury for a prison cell is a lot worse than giving up an apartment not much bigger than a cell.

            • Chris

              Your suggesting that freedom to Martha has greater value to her than my freedom does to me, because I am not as rich.

              I find that a bit off.

              Lets look at it another way, using your example. When threatened with loss of her freedom she was willing to spend a lot to defend herself. But only once the attack manifested itself.

              If we take the same approach to national defense then their is a shared cost that must be paid annually to maintain a defensive military posture.

              Should an actual attack occur, then obviously the cost of defense will increase. Real bullets, artillery and missiles fired at an enemy cost more than that expended in practice.

              So if we are actually attacked, you can jack up the sales tax and solicit donations from the rich. You have made the case that they value their freedom more so there is no reason to expect them to shun their duty.

        • No Chris the loss of a mansion is not different than the loss of a studio apartment. Your thinking is wrong here.

          If both locations are peoples’ homes, it is an equal loss – they have both lost their home.

          Might the insured value be different? Certainly.

          But that kind of thinking just pits us against each other – “you have more, you should pay more”.

          • Chris Devine says:

            Forget about going to jail for a second.

            I don’t know about you, but I’ve lived in tiny apartments and I’ve been to Biltmore Estate. If I had to give up my apartment to live in a smaller apartment I’d be pissed but I wouldn’t feel destroyed. If I grew up in Biltmore and one day had to live in a tiny apartment against my will I would feel destroyed.

            Just because the loss of liberty is shared equally amongst us does not imply that other losses are evened out in the deal.

        • Murphy's Law says:

          Disagree Chris…..but will start another thread below to elaborate.

          Murf

  16. Chris,

    Well done and thanks for putting yourself out here in our cross-hairs, hehe.

    I am against any TAT or property tax. Do you own a home or any land? You may have a deed, but in reality, you are leasing it from the government on a continuous basis. When you die, your heirs may have to pay a penalty to be allowed to continue paying said lease. If you study US history from a property owner’s perspective, you will fine our prosperity was enabled by the government “giving” land to people. “Taking” property will no doubt, have the opposite effect.

    Also consider the unfortunate person that looses their job. They struggle to make their car payments and insurance. Now they have to pay a tax also, just to keep making car payments? And without a car, future employment is less likely.

    I do like the ideal you are pursuing, a simple, fair tax system that eliminates special treatment and special interests.

    • Total Tax Burden Rising to Highest Level in History

      http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2010/04/graph_of_the_day_for_april_30.html

    • Chris Devine says:

      I do own a home, but not outright. The land we own is worth more than the mortgage so at least we’re not in the red overall. I am advocating for property taxes because it seems to me the fairest way to pay for public services based upon what any individual stands to lose if those services weren’t provided.

      I also proposed exemptions for food, shelter, and transportation to make things easier for the working poor and middle class. Also, unemployment insurance is one of the public services that would be paid for with tax revenue.

      • Toll roads are an example of the fairest way, pay for what you use.
        Apply that to most government services, let people pay for their schools, mail, etc. What is left, military, congress & the President could then be paid by import/export fee’s.

  17. Dag nabbit…..JAC

    Every time that I get my brain going in one direction to address a “specific” issue…..you have to always muddle things up by being………….logical.

    btw…how are you today, sir?

    • Sorry…left out what I was referencing

      JAC says: “But lets chase the “more at risk” theory first as it relates to national defense. I propose that we all have the exact same thing at risk. That is our freedom and liberty. It is NOT our property or wealth but our freedom and liberty to acquire property and wealth.”

      • D13

        I am well this morning Colonel. And how about you???

        Snow and rain here the past two days. From the 80’s back to 40 and lows in 20’s.

        The birds are all confused.

        • Oh…everything ok here….you know the usual 85 degree days with winds gusting to 55 mph…nice spring that bloomed all the flowers now on a speeding windy front up to you. Enjoy our flowers as they blow by….they are not here anymore.

    • Wake up D13. JAC is always right. JUST A CITIZEN He named himself that on purpose. 🙂

      • Anita

        That’s right my dear. WE are always right.

        Can’t top you six smiley award. I am simply too stingy to give out that one extra.

        🙂 🙂

        Big hug to ya.

        P.S. How big of a cabin do you want on that little lake of yours?

        JAC

        • I love hangin out with you knuckleheads….woops…no name calling..

          JAC.. I’m talkin no more than 2500 sq ft and really I don’t need that much. But I do hope to entertain my grandchildren some day. It will be up in less than two years. Can’t wait.

      • Yeah, I know….but I was trying to “get in the spirit” of the discussion without outside influence and preconceived ideas…..

        then he throws this freedom and liberty stuff in…knowing full well that it will hit my button (you know….shirt popping…chest out)

        He does this on purpose. 🙂

  18. Chris

    As I see it TAT is nothing more than a Property Tax.

    Property Taxes are evil or at least immoral in my view.

    It violates the basic criteria of the ability to pay. Those on minimum income or fixed income (retirees) are forced to liquidate property to pay the tax.

    It also places the government in position of “property owner”. The govt then rents your home and other assets to you each year for the tax value. If you don’t pay, they confiscate your property.

    But if we consider your tax placed on insurance then it is really not the property you are taxing. It is the value of the Insurance Contract. Back to the Stamp tax.

    Your proposal would force me to NOT buy insurance in order to avoid the tax. So now the govt has inserted itself in my decision to insure against loss.

    Which reminds me of another criteria.

    Taxes should be used to generate revenue in a neutral manner. Not to interfere with economic decisions of taxpayers.

    • Well said JAC, I veiw the property tax as the worst kind of tax. With income tax the government is only stealing part of what is yours, with property tax you never truly have anything to begin with. With a TAT all of your assets are just a job loss in a down economy away from being seized by the government. Property tax is the easiest way for government to exercise control over a persons finances, and assets.

    • Chris Devine says:

      To mitigate the effects on the poor and middle class I suggested exemptions for basic necessities like food, shelter, and transportation. This should lower the tax burden of those least able to afford it considerably.

      • The point isnt the amount paid, it is the fact that ownership completely belongs to the government. Even if I have an asset that is paid off in full, if I still have to pay taxes on it I do not truly own it. Just becuase I can afford the tax on something I purchase today does not gaurantee I can afford the tax on it in the future. What happens when I can no longer afford the tax on an asset but I still have the means to support myself. The government will seize the asset. My wifes engagement ring has insurance on it that was paid for when purchased. With the TAT pruposed I would have to report it and pay taxes on it. If I lost my job and could not pay taxes on it, the government could seize the ring. This would mean that I nor my wife never really owned said ring. We just held on to it while we paid a never ending debt on it. That sounds like indentured servitude where I work for a debt that can never be paid.

        • Chris Devine says:

          As long as your property is protected by public services you should pay your share for those services. One of those services would be unemployment insurance, thus giving you a means for paying your bills and perhaps a valid reason for postponing the payment of property taxes until you find a new job.

          • Chris

            I think we agree that if we use public service we should pay for it.

            It is simply the “property tax” mechanism that is obnoxious to our basic right to own property.

            The TAT amounts to a property tax as you described it.

            I think we can take the basic concepts and fins another mechanism that meets the goals and the criteria we seem to basically agree to.

            Consider this. Your Sales Tax would apply to the amount paid for insurance. Thus the value of my property is not relevant nor the govts business.

            It is only the amount I pay for insurance.

            • Chris Devine says:

              There is no reason sales tax would have to apply to insurance. I have kicked around the idea of exempting services altogether from sales tax if you don’t have anything tangible to show for it.

              • Chris

                I didn’t mean the sales tax would have to apply as you proposed it.

                I am suggesting it should apply instead of the TAT.

                That would address the underlying issues regarding “property taxes” or taxes that function the same.

          • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

            Chris,

            What if you elect to have your property protected by PRIVATE services rather than public ones?

            How would this affect your tax bill?

      • So, when you right away include exemptions, it’s just back to the wealthy paying for the poor. There’s nothing equal going on here.

  19. HEY HOW COME I HAVE A RED X ON MY PICTURE ???? I CAN’T HAVE SHIT!!!!!

  20. If we agree that our national defense benefits are equally shared then we can use a poll tax, as in the original tax per person, to assign the cost/benefit of national defense in a FAIR manner.

    In doing so, I EXCLUDE those under the age of 18 because they are not allowed to vote. No vote, then you don’t have to pay tax.

    2009 estimated population is 307,006,550. Of that 75.7% are 18 or over.

    If we assume a military budget of 5% of the GDP, prior to recent crash, of 14 trillion……

    We get a tax of $3,011.99 per person over the age of 18.

    Now this seems very feasible to me, because a purely Defensive Military should not cost 5% of a GDP of 14 trillion.

    Reducing military spending to around 500 billion would reduce the poll tax to $2151.43 per person 18 or over.

    I believe this addresses the FAIRNESS issue.

    But it may not be the most effective nor efficient. We would all have to file returns and send in the check.

    It does not address the cash flow needs for FIXED EXPENSES. Unless we send in monthly or quarterly checks.

    And then we need a bunch of IRS agents to make sure all 200+ million of us are in compliance.

    • Chris Devine says:

      A portion of our national defense benefits us equally (i.e., the freedom and liberty part). Another portion is decidedly unequal (the amount of personal property we stand to lose if attacked or invaded).

      • Chris

        If your premise is true then the military should be voluntary militia. Then those who have more property at risk will voluntarily pay more to protect it.

        If my premise is true, then a poll tax on all “people” 18 and over would be applicable and the military could remain a Federal responsibility.

        Yes BF, I know all the arguments so no reason to re-visit them.

        Consider this as well. If we accept the concept that “you have more at risk” based on the value of property, are we not perpetuating the concept that wealth is the more important value in our society.

        Would it not be better to focus on freedom and liberty and justice for all as our core values. Those shared by ALL Americans…..equally?

        • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

          “Consider this as well. If we accept the concept that “you have more at risk” based on the value of property, are we not perpetuating the concept that wealth is the more important value in our society.

          Would it not be better to focus on freedom and liberty and justice for all as our core values. Those shared by ALL Americans…..equally?”

          JAC,

          Money is, by proper definition, the economic good that is valued above all others by a society. Since it is of supreme value, virtually everyone in a society regards having more of it as “better”. This is NOT a bad thing, nor does it preclude, in any way, any concepts of liberty, freedom, justice, or anything else. They are NOT mutually exclusive concepts!

          In fact, they are concepts which are crucial to each other! Without the concept of private property and the realization that property has value, you cannot have freedom.

          In a free society, those that use more resources naturally pay more. Those that have more to protect naturally pay more for that protection if they DESIRE that protection. If they choose not to protect themselves and their stuff to the same level as some other guy with the same amount of stuff, then that is their choice, and they would pay less.

          Where we get into trouble is when we FORCE the guy with lots of stuff to not only pay for the risk to his own stuff, but pay for the risk to YOUR stuff as well, because you cannot “afford” it.

          • Peter

            I did not say money I said wealth. In Chris’ examples he is assuming real and personal property.

            I find the concept that those who hold more property as somehow placing more value on their freedom than me obnoxious to the concept of freedom itself.

            Private property flows from freedom. It is not a prerequisite of freedom. That is why it was listed as a right along with life and liberty.

            Freedom is my ability to live without fear of force by another. That means that freedom is the key to my life and my ownership of property.

            If I am not FREE then my other rights are forfeit all together, or subject to the whim of someone else.

            • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

              JAC,

              Natural rights do NOT “flow from freedom”.

              Natural rights just ARE.

              Life, Liberty, Property, Pursuit of happiness.

              These are your RIGHTS whether you are free on not! Of course, if you are not free, you are probably having one or more of these rights infringed upon, but nonetheless, they are STILL your rights.

              However, freedom is NOT a necessary precondition for the EXISTANCE of your rights. These rights exist, PERIOD.

              So while we agree that without freedom, your rights are being infringed, we do not agree that your rights “flow from freedom”.

              • Peter

                I did not say they do not exist. They are simply conceptual and thus exist independently as concepts.

                But without Freedom they do not exist in PRACTICE.

                If all rights are impaired without freedom then the ability to experience them, to benefit from them, to exercise them, flows from freedom.

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                JAC,

                Yes, I agree with you in that respect.

                It is accurate to say that the ability to enjoy and exercise our natural rights flows from freedom. In my view, it is incorrect to say that the rights themselves flow from freedom.

            • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

              I would argue that private property IS INDEED a prerequisite to freedom.

              Try to imagine “freedom” WITHOUT the concept of private property.

              In my opinion it simply cannot be done.

              If you have the following:

              Life
              Liberty
              Property
              Ability to pursue happiness

              THEN you have freedom.

              You CANNOT have freedom without these things.

              Some people might think I am arguing semantics here, but I think that this is critically important.

              You do NOT have freedom, from which flow your natural rights. You HAVE natural rights, from which flows the idea that you must be free in order that your natural rights cannot be infringed upon by others (and you cannot infringe upon the natural rights of others either).

              I believe this to be a critical distinction.

      • Chris

        I don’t think it logical to argue that the rich should pay more for defense because they have more wealth at risk and then in turn say that society has some right to prevent that same wealth from being transferred to the next generation.

        Did not the rich pay more for defending their property based on its value? Then should they not be allowed to transfer that wealth to their heirs, who will also pay more to protect its value?

        I disagree strongly with your premise but wanted to mention this apparent contradiction.

        • Chris Devine says:

          I don’t think we should interfere with the transfer of wealth from one generation to the next in the vast majority of cases. But when one person in a single lifetime accumulates enough wealth that his children will never under any circumstances have to work a day in their lives while still living in the lap of luxury, that is something we should address. I don’t think we should take it all (or even necessarily take it). But there should be a great deal of incentive for someone who has accumulated that much wealth to do something with it besides just give it to his kids (e.g., give it to charity).

          • Chris says: “But when one person in a single lifetime accumulates enough wealth that his children will never under any circumstances have to work a day in their lives while still living in the lap of luxury, that is something we should address. ”

            D13 asks: “Why?”

          • Chris

            The guy who earned it paid already so that is not an issue. So what if he gives it to his kids.

            If they do not work then they will spend it. Which means you will get the taxes on it. And hundreds of people will be employed providing the goods and services they consume.

            If they invest it then it is contributing to the economy. And of course they would then be getting an income.

            I don’t care whether they spend their life in the garden, drug house or studying philosophy. Why should anybody care?

          • Chris

            P.S. If we are going to stay true to our criteria then segregating one group of wealthy from another is purely subjective.

            This does not fit our “objective” criteria.

            Once we accept subjective then we accept govt’s “arbitrary” decision making authority.

            I say just let the transfer issue die a nice quiet death.

            If it truly results in a few land barons subverting the freedom of the rest of us, do you think it will not end badly for the rich in the long run?

          • Chris Devine says:

            My views stem from what I consider essential American values: we should reward hard work and we should do our best to limit threats to democracy.

            When a rich man gives all his wealth to his kids he is not rewarding hard work. He is making it possible for his kids to never have to lift a finger.

            But if his kids take that wealth and use it to accumulate even more wealth which they pass on to their kids, then they are effectively concentrating enough power into so few hands that they have the means to subvert democratic processes.

            Does this clear things up?

            • It clears your stance up to me….do not agree with it at all….but you cleared up your belief for me, anyway.

            • Allowing him to give HIS wealth to his children is rewarding HIS hard work. Otherwise, would his motivation to amass wealth be to give it to the government??? I think not!

            • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

              Chris,

              Your view omits one crucially important American value, and that is the value of freedom.

              If I accumulate vast amounts of wealth over the period of my life, that wealth is mine to dispose of as I see fit at the end of my life.

              I could bequeath it to my kids, or to my 100 cats, or I could donate it all to charity. Whichever I choose it is none of your business.

              Also, (being picky), we are not SUPPOSED to be a democracy. We are supposed to be a representative republic. The vast majority of the founding fathers realized that democracy pretty much does not work.

              • Chris Devine says:

                Don’t forget Alexis De Tocqueville.

                The founders knew that they had to balance individual rights with majority rule. I see no reason to change this.

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                Chris,

                Study up on your history a bit. I believe that you will find that the founders sought to AVOID THE TYRANNY of “majority rule”.

                The balance which they sought was to favor the rights of the individual in every possible case.

                They, of course, failed to actually ensure that this would ACTUALLY be the result of what they designed, but hey, they TRIED 🙂

              • Chris

                In essence what Alex found was that the realization of the American Dream was essentially tied to decentralization of govt and the power of private community organizations to “bind” the people into a civil and similar purpose.

          • Are you really Charlie Stella? The only other time I’ve heard this ridiculous take on passing on wealth to subsequent generations is from him.

            Who cares? If Donald Trump’s kids/grandkids/great grandkids never work a day in their lives because his estate supports them, why do I give a hoot? I don’t! My liberty and freedom is not effected whatsoever by this group.

            It’s the opposite side of the ever growing population that is hurting us – when those that won’t support themselves (nor their kids/grandkids/great grandkids) and expect society to take care of them. This group is taking away my liberty and freedom.

            • Kathy, you must be at least related to a carpenter…because IMO you nailed it with that last thought…

  21. This just sounds like a different version of class warfare to me.

    If you’ve made money (or especially god forbid you’ve inherited it) you somehow now receive more benefits and should thus pay more on “stuff” you choose to purchase with your money.

    If you are also supporting a sales tax, haven’t the buyers of stuff already paid tax?

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      Kathy,

      Sadly I do not think we will EVER be able to get rid of the mentality that “the RICH should pay more because (a) they use more resources and (b) they can afford it.”

      It is a shame that this has gone from faulty philosophy to worldwide dogma, but unfortunately at least for now we are stuck with it until we can somehow begin to truly educate people.

      On the surface, both a and b are demonstrably true, but at a deeper level the premise is flawed. However, most people BELIEVE the premise, so the flawed conclusion is extremely difficult to fight against.

    • Chris Devine says:

      This is not class warfare.

      Imagine the two of us own a plot of land, but not 50/50. You own 10% and I own 90%. If we get paid for letting cattle graze on that land how should we split the proceeds? What if we have to pay to get it plowed so we can grow crops. Should we pay the same amount?

      • If you are paying the 90% of the burden you get the proceeds. Show me where if I happen to have inherited, say, 100 million bucks and I choose not to work and I decide to live modestly and I do not consume any more resources than you…..and you have only 300 bucks in the bank….where is your justification then? Simply because I have more money I need to help you? Especially if I am one of those dreaded trust fund babies?

        • Meant to say 90% of the proceeds.

        • Chris Devine says:

          If you don’t consume any more resources than I do then you won’t pay any more taxes than I do. But if you have mansions and yachts to maintain then you most certainly will consume more. If you sell it all and put the money in a savings account then you won’t pay taxes on it either.

          I’m trying to come up with a system that covers the expenses of our economy and democracy in a way that splits the bill up according to how much each of us uses. There are no tricks up my sleeves. If you have a better idea then share it with me. I’m open.

          • Chris

            “in a way that splits the bill up according to how much each of us uses.”

            The ONLY way to do this is to tax the use.

            That means a Sales Tax, not a tax on the value of assets.

            • Chris Devine says:

              It’s gonna cost more to put out a burning mansion than it will to put out a burning trailer. That’s why I think there should be a property tax.

              Property taxes will cover the cost of protecting property. Sales taxes will cover the cost of commerce.

              • Chris

                Volunteer fire departments, funded by voluntary contributions and fees for fire fighting services rendered.

              • Chris Devine says:

                That might work for small towns, but I don’t know of any VFD’s in big cities. High rise fires should be left to professionals.

              • Chris

                VFD’s are very professional and would work everywhere if the Govt would let them. This is one of those “conditioning” things again. Private fire depts would also work in the big cities.

                Perhaps fire suppression insurance would develop instead of fire loss insurance.

                We are back to a chicken and egg thing.

                So lets let that one lie for now so we can focus on your proposal and other options that meet the goals and criteria.

              • Chris

                More trailers burn than mansions. Therefore the cost to maintain the fire department should disproportionately fall on the trailer home owners, not the mansion owners.

              • Chris Devine says:

                The trailer dwellers would collectively contribute more. But it’s not just about fires.

              • Then charge the beneficiary for the gallons of water used to fight the fire.

                It takes much less water to cool the ashes of the trailer than to save the mansion from total loss.

      • Does the person who has a 90% cut in the partnership get to have 90% of the say on what is done with the land, like any other business? If so shouldn’t those who pay more taxes have more valuable votes? Since one person pays 5 times as much in taxes than another person, then shouldnt he get 5 times as many votes. Since any action the government takes affects him 5 times as much I think based on your example he should.

  22. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    Chris said, “Well, taxes are meant to be the dues we pay for living in a society.”

    Ok, I know most people are commenting on this based on numbers, and that is fine. I (of course) have to comment on this philosophically, though I will attempt to throw in some reality as well (maybe :)).

    I certainly would not have worded that sentence exactly the way Chris did. We don’t all belong to some Country Club called the USA where we pay annual dues. If anything, I probably would have said something along the lines of:

    “Taxes are supposed to be what the citizens of a country pay to the government of that country for the provision of government services; however, in reality, taxation is currently merely a system designed to control the populace and skew their economic decisions in a direction desired by the government.”

    As we ALL know (or at least SHOULD know by now), the Government can (and does) sell trillions of dollars of our debt to the Federal Reserve and to domestic investors, foreign investors, foreign governments, etc. This is the PRIMARY way that government operations are funded. The secondary way that government operations are funded is for the Federal Reserve to simply print money and loan it to the government. Taxation is a DISTANT THIRD when it comes to funding government operations.

    The PRIMARY purpose of taxation is to cause the people to behave in ways which the government desires that they behave. Nothing more, nothing less.

    So, philosophically, we need to change this prior to even bothering to change the SYSTEM BY WHICH WE ARE TAXED. The system is not the primary problem. The REASON BEHIND THE SYSTEM is the primary problem!

    So, BEFORE we go worrying about the system used to collect taxes, there are a few changes we NEED to make first!

    1. The ONLY purpose of taxation should be the funding of government operations.

    2. Government should ONLY be able to spend what it takes in every year.

    3. Government should “divest” itself of activities that would be better handled and regulated by a TRUE free market (NOT A MERCANTILIST MARKET LIKE WE HAVE NOW). NOTE: Yes Chris, I know that you believe that a free market does a terrible (or perhaps even non-existent) job of regulating anything, but I think this is perhaps because we have not had anything even resembling a free market in so long that you do not truly understand the concept, and instead believe that mercantilism = capitalism, which it truly does not.

    There are MANY other steps I could list here, but those are certainly the “Big Three”.

    Once those 3 are taken care of, THEN we should worry about what system is used to tax us. Chris’s idea is a lot better than many I have seen, and he seems to have put a lot of thought into it, which is great.

    What it all boils down to is that eventually there should be no “taxation”. There should be PAYMENT for desired services that are provided by societal organizations which do not initiate violence on non-violent people, and the rates of payment should depend on things such as individual useage.

    Of course, we are a painfully long way from THAT ideal, but that is where we should be striving to go with this whole discussion in my opionion.

    Overall a good post Chris, and you have obviously thought it out quite a bit, and some of your ideas in the post are at least a vast improvement over the status quo. Good stuff to get us thinking today! 🙂

  23. A Puritan Descendant says:

    Uh oH… I have not had time to read all the posts and I have to run, but I just thought of a big problem with the TAT.

    What about old people on limited income but property rich. they might be forced to sell instead of leaving their wealth to their children. No?

    bbl

    • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

      Yes, that is a potential flaw with this idea. If you had limited INCOME, but a lot of accumulated WEALTH, it could be very bad for you!

  24. We’ve also tossed around the idea of sunsetting taxes. Isn’t that how taxes came about to begin with? To fund a war. If we need to raise money throw a certain charge out for every citizen to pay ONCE. Then be done with that charge. Have another cause? Justify the reasons for the needed cash and if it’s “deemed” appropriate then charge us again ONCE. $100 bucks each x 300 million a couple or few times a year adds up.

  25. So, before I get into other comments and Chris’ responses, I’m offering my own direct take on this plan.

    As taxes are evil, the less impact a tax has on the People, the better. No tax at all on anything is the best of all.

    Income tax is, arguably, the worst possible tax a government can levy.

    Politically, it enforces slavery and ownership of the People by the government. It is the most manipulative, it creates the greatest threats of class warfare and offers the largest intrusion into the economic lives of the People.

    Economically, it is a massive disincentive of economic prosperity and the single greatest source of tax avoidance and tax evasion.

    Elimination of income tax should be everyone’s primary goal in tax “reform”. Not “Fair” tax nor “Flat” tax…. NO income tax.

    So, Chris’ offering as a plan moves this tactic a step forward.

    Kudo’s to Chris.

    What makes a TAT so good? Well, taxes are meant to be the dues we pay for living in a society.

    I urge everyone at all times to always resist this argument.

    It is wholly faulty and an attempt to justify gross violence by government on the People.

    Never, never, never believe this very dangerous myth about “dues” of society.

    ….

    Chris is trying to justify taxation in general. I ignore this part of his argument.

    The justification that I support is the elimination of taxation – income tax. That is enough justification on its own.

    (1) It begins the mindset that taxation can be eliminated. If Income tax can be eliminated, then the others will begin topple.

    (2) As above, Income tax is the most destructive.

    Without those services we wouldn’t have a stable economy and we would be under constant threat from enemies, both foreign and domestic.

    If these services are valued, the free market will more than amply supply – without resorting to violence to pay for it.

    By taxing the things you own we could apportion the amount each of us owes in accordance with the amount we own that needs protection.

    The economic calculation of MY protection of self and property is MINE to make, and not one other soul’s right to make for me.

    The assumption here is that (1) a third party gets to value my property, not me (2) they are always right and I am always wrong (3) they get to judge my costs based on THEIR calculation.

    I may decided what is most valuable to “Chris” is the least valuable to me, and what is least valuable to “Chris” is the most valuable to me. Under Chris’ justification, I’m wrong and he is right.

    If you have a lot that needs protecting it only makes sense that you pay a bigger share (and vice versa). Still with me?

    I always urge everyone to attack any justification for taxes.

    Do not let any justification stand. See taxes as they are – out and out theft and violence of government upon the People.

    This may not necessarily void taxation as it stands – however, it will set up a series of active, albeit small, steps to ending the enslavement of the People to their government.

    The only justification of any tax that may carry merit is eliminating a far worse tax with a less horrific tax.

    Simple, tax them on what they insure. If it’s worth enough for people to insure, then it’s probably worth public protection.

    As an idea, it is interesting.

    However, this will not lessen class conflict, but increase it.

    I self-insure much of my own property. I take a percentage of income and set it aside for “self-insured” property in general.

    High valued property, but easy to sell if stolen, like jewelery, tends to have huge premiums. Often, it makes sense to simply set aside these premiums yourself into a fund that covers a larger percentage of such assets for their loss.

    A millionaire does not necessarily insure his Ferrari (beyond legal requirements) – it is just too expensive, and if a man can spend such money on a machine, he probably can afford its loss too.

    Again, this plan will weigh far heavier on the People who have assets that are at risk, but cannot afford its loss – the upper-middle class on down.

    Further, this tax – like all taxes – is regressive.

    People will avoid this tax by pressing down the value of all their goods.

    Lower quality goods will begin to displace higher quality goods due to tax. This will impact the economic calculation of business systemically across society – cheap will overwhelm quality.

    Without an income tax we could dispense with all the arguments that say people have a disincentive to work harder.

    …among a number of massive and unacceptable insults of the government upon the People.

    But wait a minute, isn’t that regressive?

    All tax is regressive (economically) and oppressive (politically) – nothing in the Universe can change that as a fact.

    I’m sure I can’t be the only one who’s thought of this and I’m sure there would be a great deal of pressure from the insurance companies, but I think I’m on to something here.

    Perhaps.

    What I like about it is that it is feasible simply because you have kept the #1 reason Income tax actually exists…

    …political manipulation of economic outcomes….

    With your “exemptions” list, you still maintain “tax credit/penalty” manipulation of Society – the primary reason taxes and the tax code exists.

    I’m sure they are a lot of problems with your plan and a lot devils in details…

    …but as far as a way to eliminate income tax – interesting….

    PS: Insurance companies will not resist this at all – indeed, they may actively promote it. It costs them nothing and they will become even more powerful lobbyists – they become the IRS.

    They will begin to demand government law requiring insurance on all goods.

    Government will love this idea – no such thing as “self-insured” thus, more revenue by Chris’ plan.

    Insurance will love this idea – everything needs insurance! “Money for nothing …”

    • That’ll do Flag, that’ll do. hehe, well said.

      Hijack and request. Can you get this to Stossel? So much for the land of the free….

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

      Didn’t the US start with revenue collected only from tariffs? Could a small government be funded by import/export fees only?

      • LOI,

        Didn’t the US start with revenue collected only from tariffs? Could a small government be funded by import/export fees only?

        Yes, and yes.

        It is still suffers all the defects of tax – oppressive and regressive, however, probably impacts such the least of all.

        It relieves in-country citizens of any reporting to government.

        Imports would decrease as would Exports. But the internal economy would increase.

        A lot would have to change, though. Expansion of mining and drilling of oil and resources, etc…..

      • PS: I’ll pass it on to JS

    • Black Flag,

      I self-insure much of my own property. I take a percentage of income and set it aside for “self-insured” property in general.

      High valued property, but easy to sell if stolen, like jewelery, tends to have huge premiums. Often, it makes sense to simply set aside these premiums yourself into a fund that covers a larger percentage of such assets for their loss.

      A millionaire does not necessarily insure his Ferrari (beyond legal requirements) – it is just too expensive, and if a man can spend such money on a machine, he probably can afford its loss too.

      I don’t think this is true. First, the risk (liability) of owning and driving a Ferrari is very high, and the insurance rates reflect that. So the cost of meeting just the legal requirements will be high. Second, most wealthy people have umbrella insurance to protect them from overall risk. In order to purchase umbrella insurance, all under-lying risks (vehicles, property, etc) must be insured to a certain level (usually 100/300 or 100/500). You can’t exclude certain risks, because it’s too difficult to separate one risk from another when a loss occurs.

      People will avoid this tax by pressing down the value of all their goods.

      Lower quality goods will begin to displace higher quality goods due to tax. This will impact the economic calculation of business systemically across society – cheap will overwhelm quality.

      I think cheap already overwhelms quality quite a bit!! 🙂 All the “durable goods” we now purchase have built in life spans, and repairs are often more expensive than replacement.

      I had this general thought too. Would people insure fewer things or chose lower limits to avoid/lessen the tax, but them expose themselves to greater risk?

      PS: Insurance companies will not resist this at all – indeed, they may actively promote it. It costs them nothing and they will become even more powerful lobbyists – they become the IRS.

      Just give us your money – we’ll take care of you… 😉

  26. A Puritan Descendant says:

    related subject:

    After the American Revolution ended and just before the Contstitution was completed, the Shays’s Rebellion arose in Massachusetts. This was over a combination Poll/Property tax system. The Poll tax, taxed each household/farm for each male over the age of 16 along with a property tax on the farm. This tax was to be paid with hard money. Hard money was in short supply at the time. Farmers mostly traded with a bartering system.

    Most everyone of age at that time had served in the American Revolution. The State of Massachusetts had taken on debt for the American Revolution. The soldiers/farmers were paid with promissory notes. These soldier/farmers desperate for hard money, sold these notes to wealthy banker/merchant type speculators from eastern Massachusetts for a fraction of the full intended value of the notes. After the war, the State decided to honor the full value of the notes now owned by the speculators who often were involved in the state government. (note: Other states only honored a fraction of their own promissory notes). So now these same farmers were to pay the debt of the full value of the notes through the poll/property tax system. During the Shays’s Rebellion these speculators who had purchased the notes, contributed funds to support a militia to put a halt to the Shays’s rebellion.

    So the farmers first served in the American Revolution, then were paid with promissory notes which they sold at a fraction of there value, then later were forced to pay the full value of the notes that they had sold in the first place through this Poll/Property tax system. Talk about getting the ‘short end’ coming, going and then once again.

    A great read on the subject and I believe to be the most accurate and well documented is “Shays’s Rebellion The American Revolution’s Final Battle” by Leonard L. Richards 2002

    • A Puritan Descendant says:

      (note: Other states only honored a fraction of their own promissory notes).

      Should read > (note: Other states only honored a fraction of ‘the original value’ of their own promissory notes).

    • Don’t forget that the Government marched out troops who then fired on these Revolutionary veterans….

      • A Puritan Descendant says:

        ‘State’ government.

        Keep in mind they were protecting the Springfield Armory from those of the Shays’s Rebellion. As the Rebellion’s soldiers approached the Armory the State’s troops fired directly at them and the Rebellion’s soldiers ran away and a few died.(Simply put).

        Interesting is that one of my cousins ‘Luke Day’ leader of one group, Blew it for the Rebellion. He did not wait for a 3rd group to help out. Otherwise had they gotten control, it has been said they intended to use the arms to march on Boston! Things could have been much different today. Who knows…….

  27. Chris Devine says:

    A few modifications:

    The national defense part of the budget is shared equally and is the only tax that is not voluntary. If you can’t afford to pay then you have to perform some form of community service (e.g., military service, fire-fighter, police, teacher, etc.). Since you live in this country and are in need of defense just like everyone else then you have to pay. If you don’t want to pay your share of the defense budget then move somewhere else.

    Get rid of the estate taxes in exchange for one man/one vote. You and your family can keep all your wealth, but the prospect of angering the rest of the voters is your incentive to be a good neighbor and not a dick.

    If you choose not to pay taxes you forfeit your right to vote in addition to public services. If you change your mind then you must pay for the services you use in full and on demand. Gamble at your own risk.

    Sales taxes are not negotiable if you buy from publicly inspected merchants. If you want to take your chance with black market goods, go ahead. But if you get food poisoning or are injured by a faulty product then expect to pay out of your own pocket and don’t expect to have our courts settle your dispute.

    Any comments?

    • The national defense part of the budget is shared equally and is the only tax that is not voluntary. If you can’t afford to pay then you have to perform some form of community service (e.g., military service, fire-fighter, police, teacher, etc.). Since you live in this country and are in need of defense just like everyone else then you have to pay. If you don’t want to pay your share of the defense budget then move somewhere else.

      Incredibly vile. There is nothing of value that is worthy of non-voluntary payment. Nada, zilch.

      If you need violence to pay for it, it ain’t worth it.

      Historically militias were self-funding – the wealthy (not being stupid) funded much of the militia’s and men volunteered and bought and brought their own weapons.

      No reason that can’t work today.

      Chris’ plan however has been shown to be very successful as a model – such as the Swiss.

      Sales taxes are not negotiable if you buy from publicly inspected merchants. If you want to take your chance with black market goods, go ahead. But if you get food poisoning or are injured by a faulty product then expect to pay out of your own pocket and don’t expect to have our courts settle your dispute.

      This is not a tax – it is an insurance scheme or an industry association scheme – and I support these ideas… so Chris, good idea!

      It is not a tax as force is not used to create the service or compliance.

      If a person buys outside of a association, you cannot avail yourself of the associations protections – such as compensation from the association’s insurance fund nor its enforcement on the supplier.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        I think we are definitely beggining to get the idea…

        If we can have Chris demonstate even to himself that funding the NON-VIOLENT and self-organized aspects of a large society is at least FEASIBLE and not mere fantasy, he may begin to realize that maybe freedom ain’t really so bad after all 🙂

    • Chris

      Short on time at this very moment but it looks better.

      By the way. We kicked the property tax thing around hard but I got confused. I was assuming you are proposing a Federal Tax system but the more it went on it looked like you are trying to find a “single” system for all levels of govt.

      Which is it?

      • Chris Devine says:

        I’m trying to devise a tax system that would work for any level of government. Some things are better handled locally and some things need the combined resources of a nation to manage effectively.

        • Chris Devine

          OK! I like the concept as once we find one that works we could impose it on all States and localities via an Amendment. Incominnnnnnnnnnnnnnng! Ha ha ha.

          More serious. Is it possible to get agreement on the concept that property taxes essentially override our right to own property?

          Do we agree that such a right exists and should not be taken without just cause?

  28. Where are the rest of the frogs today?

    I see little eyes popping up from the water, watching but no singing.

    Maybe BF was right.

    • Maybe they do not want to enter the fray and risk contradicting one of their own 😉

      Fortunately, I have no such constraints on me – I attack Peter, JAC, USWep, G-Man, LOI, Jon et al …. I have no ideological loyalty! 🙂 😉

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        ‘Tis better to be loyal to ideas than ideology 🙂

        • Good one, Peter! 🙂

        • Loyalty to Reason and Logic over ideas.

          And above all, loyalty to FREEDOM and LIBERTY.

          For without these you will be hard pressed to use Reason or Logic and your ideas may well be muddled by the coercive forces imposed by others.

          • TexasChem says:

            Loyalty to Natural Law and Righteous Morality over reason and logic: as reason and logic CAN and HAS been used to implement immoral laws.”Unjust laws are not laws!”
            If you are applying reason and logic in a moral vs immoral setting you cannot fail to see the importance of Natural Law as being beneficial to society.

            Freedom and Liberty are immediate by-products of adhering to Natural Law and a Righteous Morality.

            Natural law theory accepts that law can be considered and spoken of as a sheer social fact of power and practice and as a SET of reasons for action that can be used as SOUND reasons and therefore normative for reasonable people addressed by them!

            • Tex

              Now I see why we argue. You don’t share the same meaning of Reason and Logic.

              These two critical faculties CAN NOT result in the passage of immoral law.

              Whose Righteous Morality? Yours? By what right to you or anyone else get to tell me what is “righteous”.

              So if you do not succumb to emotion as you say, and you have no loyalty to reason and logic, what does that leave. Oh yeah, whim and mistizism.

              • TexasChem says:

                Well Jac, *ponder* lets just see if I can come up aith an example of reason and logic being used to facilitate the passage of an unjust law without the use of natural law and a righteous morality…*yawn*

                Since our topic this evening seems to be taxation lets just take the implementation of our glorious progressive income tax.

                Introduced by the government to garner votes from the general poplace since the general populace earns low amounts of money – The more money you make the higher the percentage you will pay.Thus in paying less taxes they would be more inclined to vote for the politicans that pushed for lower individual tax brackets!

                Do you not think that those that initiated this tax used logic and reason to implement this?

                Since taking wealth from one to give to another with the threat of physical violence goes against natural law and what a righteous man would deem moral; using your own reason and logic you should be able to see this one for yourself!

                So you see my good fellow IMMORAL reasoning and logic can definitely lead to the passage of an unjust law!Criminals use reasoning and immoral logic all the time do they not, to plot and bring about an illegal or subversive act?

                Healthcare reform.
                Taxation without representation.
                Civil rights infringements.
                Genocide.etc.

                Simply put; an unjust law is one of immoral design, against natural law out of greed, ego or lust for power to increase ones influence in the society it was created in.

                The only whim and mistizm I see being preached is that of one espousing coercion of the readers here to mislead them from fundamental societal ethics.

                JaC spouted:”Whose Righteous Morality? Yours? By what right to you or anyone else get to tell me what is “righteous”.”

                TC:With that simple statement you prove my point that we must have a moral base so that we have no failure within our societies basic moral principles.That statement is a moral failure on your part in regards to your not identifying a base for righteous morality.

              • TexasChem says:

                Alea

                iacta

                est…

              • A Puritan Descendant says:

                I certainly could not have said it any better. So glad you are here at SUFA!

          • TexasChem says:

            The spread of evil is the symptom of a vacuum. whenever evil wins, it is only by default: by the moral failure of those who evade the fact that there can be no compromise on basic principles.

  29. Test Question for SUFA

    Why do we have govt imposed fire departments?

    Hint: Who is the real beneficiary of having full time fire departments paid by tax dollars?

  30. http://thisiscommonsense.com/?p=5798

    Remember, the Free Market System benefits enormously the consumer, not businesses.

    With the ability to withhold their money, consumers are the KING of the Free Market Economy.

    Businesses encourage government intervention because they can invoke government violence to force customers to buy or to limit competition so to exclusively buy from a supplier.

  31. Very interesting idea Chris!

    At first this raised all kinds of questions – would the tax apply to Liability or only Physical Damage (for auto and home policies), personal vs business, etc.

    I saw some of the comments about depreciation, inheritance, etc.

    None of the above matters. The vast majority of Americans purchase insurance in the same fashion. Home/Auto policies with limits that increase as the value of your home/car increases. Same for businesses – they protect their assets. If your Homeowners Policy has an annual premium of $1000, I can get a pretty fair estimation of the value of your home.

    So, if your annual premium is $1000, you get a bill for $1100, and the insurance company forwards $100 to the government.

    But, if you think about how much you pay for insurance annually vs how much you pay in taxes, if your annual premium is $1000, you might get a bill for $2000, and the insurance company forwards $1000 to the government…

    There can be exceptions and different rates for certain types of policies – farm insurance might be taxed at a lower rate, while yacht insurance might be taxed at a little higher rate.

    At first, I thought insurance industry might balk at this. They would not want to be the ‘tax collector’ for the federal government. However, the insurance industry makes it’s profits on the margins – collect premiums now, invest it for a while, pay losses later. They might like the idea of collecting this tax, holding the money for a little bit, and then forwarding to the government. And they might like the idea that lowering your premium by $1 allows them to lower the bill they send to you by $2…

    Still thinking…

  32. The flat national sales tax is a good idea. I also like the idea of the tax on stuff worth insuring, except that I think that part of it would lead to big fat tax codes full of exemptions and govt intrusion like we have now. Government, being government weould begint o require insurance on more and more things (like how about you’re taxed on the health insurance that the govt. is forcing you to buy). If you could write the insurance tax in a way that is both simple and restrictive to government, then I think you’d have something.

    My favorite scheme though is the constitutional one of apportionment, where states are taxed, but individuals are not (by the federal govt).

    But almost anything to get rid of the IRS would be great.

    • Good point about government requiring more and more things. It has a track record that proves you have a valid concern.

    • TexasChem says:

      Ooops Michelle, were losing the battle.The IRS just hired what 15k or so new employees to “collect” new taxes from our UNPRECEDENTED Presidents urgently required Healcare Reform Legislation!

  33. TexasChem says:

    So…since our POTUS believes that at a certain point a person can make enough money *snicker*; I can’t hope but wonder does he think it morally legitimate to take any money we make above what he considers each individual social class needs to survive and redistribute it?TAXATION MENTALITY.Socialist belief system.

    • Judy Sabatini says:

      Who the hell is he to decide when a in a certain point of ones life, they have made enough money. Not at the rate and way this country is going. There might not ever be enough made.

    • Do not overlook that statement. He means it.

    • I have a question for those that go left here on SUFA. What is the deal with being anti-business and anti-wealthy? I really, really don’t get this. Yet, we hear it all the time from this Adm.

      Was there something in your background, a professor that got to you, a situation you found yourself in, what is it?

      I really don’t get why someone elses wealth is any concern and would love to hear your take.

      • A Puritan Descendant says:

        I can’t speak for everyone on the ‘left’ but I know of some who have extreme envy for those who have obtained more than themselves. I don’t understand it either because I have never felt that way. I just wish they would realize that wealth is not of a finite amount. If someone else has ‘more’, it does not equate to others having ‘less’. Real wealth is created. Capitalism is the best path to creating wealth. Save your pennies and then use those savings to create wealth. Do it wisely and in time one will be reaping endless benefits of their own creations.

      • I saved cash-o-plenty for about five years. My friends kept pestering me about “come up off of some cash, you can’t take it with you.” Well when I bought my property the same friends said “man I wish I had the cash to get something like this”. My response: “thanks and you could have had something like this but you were too busy buying beer & smokes to get anywhere”. To which I have to hear more woe is me whining.

        • A Puritan Descendant says:

          The trick is to save and create/invest long enough until you reach the point where you can buy drinks and smokes all you want and always have plenty left over for lobster.

          I think you have it figured out 😉

          • Yeah but now I still drag them along and I still have to hear them whining. That’s what friends are for I guess. 😉

  34. I tried to read most of what was written but there is far too much and too many other things that need done. First TaT sounds too much like the personal property tax (not real estate tax which we also had) we had in IL when I was young. I remember a tax assessor coming into the house and looking into everyroom. He also asked about other assest such as stocks and bonds. For farmers this included all livestock and equipment. For business, all inventory was included. The tax date was April 1 so everyone had sales in March to deplete inventories. It was a cumbersome tax to impose and therefore costly to administer and was invasion of privacy. IL replaced it with the income tax. I am not sure that was an improvement.

    CA also had a business inventory tax for many years. I never experienced it but I hear that trucking and moving companies made a killing tranporting inventory to warehouses in Nev. before April 1 and the return trip after April 1.

    I do not see this as anything more than a sales tax on insurance. Most of the insurance I purchase is liability insurance. It is to protect me from damage claims by others. Other than the PP rider on my homeowner’s policy and collision on one vehicle, I have no PP insurance. So inorder for your TaT to raise significant amounts, the rates would need to be very high. High rates encourate avoidance mechanisms.

    JAC gave these criteria:

    “Efficiency of collection.
    No double+ taxation.
    Effectiveness of collection.
    Efficiency and effectiveness of reporting.
    Openly visible to tax payer.
    Addresses annual cash needs for ABSOLUTELY NEEDED services. Basically fixed cost of govt.

    Tax payer must be able to pay the tax, no exceptions, without being forced to sell property.”

    I agree with all of them.

    I posted several days ago terms underwhich I might go along with a national sales tax (NST). I oppose a VAT because it is assessed at too many points, involves too much bureaucracy, and is hidden from view. All taxes should be open and visible. A NST is assessed at the final point of sale to the consumer so is easier to administer. I would only agree to a NST if all other federal taxes were eliminated with the exceptions of tariffs and the income tax. (BF I have heard your objections already.) Elimination of all other federal taxes eliminates the bureaucracies that goes with them. Yes, a NST is regressive but it is no more so than a VAT or your TaT. In fact I think the TaT is more regressive because you never stop paying on the purchase. Currently CA assesses a PP tax on vehicles. I certainly think long and hard before replacing a vehicle with a new one in this state. It is one of reasons my backup vehicle is 39 years old (also no smog required).

    Follow the KISS principle. Eliminate the inefficient taxes, keep all taxes visible. I hate the income tax but do not see any way around it at this time. It too should be simplified. The wealth of the nation and its people will go up dramatically if the tax burden is simpler, more efficient and actually reduced. So the goal is to similtaneously reduce the size of government.

    In addition, as many have stated, I firmly belief the government should live within its means. The Fed should be abolished and the printing press brought back under government control. Spending should be limited to tax income. Emergency spending (borrowing) is sometimes necesssary but should be net zero over a ten year running average. I might allow bonds for capital projects but their length would be limited to 1/2 of the usable life of the physical entity created by them. All government programs, taxes etc. should have a sunset clause. Future Congresses should be forced to reevaluate programs for effectiveness.

  35. So, Obama is in town to speak at the U of M commencements. I’m seeing serious overkill on the number of helicopters overhead for security puposes. While its pretty cool to watch squadron after squadron of helos in formation…and other aircraft never seen on a normal day…and the highways getting shut down so his royal hein-ass can be swept around…This is just MY quaint little city. I feel sorry for Ann Arbor right now. How much security is necessary in a blue state, in a blue city (Ann Arbor), and a blue campus. $$$$$$$ GEEZ!

    • Yeah, but Anita, you’ve got those militias over there….

      And then there’s those people that fly into Detroit with bombs in their panties…..

      That thumb is a very dangerous place…

    • Murphy's Law says:

      Wow….I wonder what is the carbon footprint of all those copters, other security, etc? Is Algore nearby protesting?

      Oh WAIT! I forgot……we don’t ask those questions of the left. It is not allowed.

      😉

      Murf

    • Wow, that was quite the speech given by The One today. I hope all the young, easily influenced people in the audience will think through his words instead of the instant adulation we usually see from that crowd.

  36. I thought at first this was more of a sales tax. As a property tax, I cannot support it. I have seen retired persons ruined by property tax. They have very limited income, but a lot of property. Increases in land value, etc. have increased their taxes, and they find themselves having to sell land to pay taxes. That is just vile.

    • A Puritan Descendant says:

      Retired people in the state of Maine, especially ocean front, have been hit hard. Out of Staters buying ocean front property drove the valuations way up and the real estate taxes followed. So yes I agree with that. And what about farmers who have a bad year or two, they have lots of land equipment and buildings to be taxed.

      Funny how often simple ideas turn out to not be so simple.

  37. Conspiracy Theory……

    Was this recent Gulf Coast oil spill really an accident?

    • Cyndi P says:

      I find the circumstances rather suspicious. I haven’t heard any speculation as to the cause yet. Have you?

      • No, that’s why I ask.

        A mere, what, four weeks ago BO throws out the bone of considering offshore drilling and then this happens?

        Seems pretty “convenient”.

        • Cyndi P says:

          Yes, it does, and don’t forget the coal mine collapse. I think the coal mine incident was a real accident. That happens fairly frequently and always has. But how often do oil rigs just blow up for no reason? How often does an oil rig blow up for no reason, and the press is silent as to what caused/might have caused it, and who can be held accountable? What if there’s another one or two in the near future? One can dismissed easily enough, but if there are more, well then? I think it could have been an accident, sabotage, or terrorism. We’ll never know the truth. We’ll just have to see how it plays out and if there are anymore incidents and how those are spun.

          • Cyndi P says:

            Hmmm…….the author better not make too many connections or suppositions. He could end up like Vince Foster, or the fellow that looked up certain passports during the last election run-up. Have you read the commnets?

          • Cyndi P says:

            Holy-moly, if this is true…..

            http://www.eutimes.net/2010/05/us-orders-blackout-over-north-korean-torpedoing-of-gulf-of-mexico-oil-rig/

            A grim report circulating in the Kremlin today written by Russia’s Northern Fleet is reporting that the United States has ordered a complete media blackout over North Korea’s torpedoing of the giant Deepwater Horizon oil platform owned by the World’s largest offshore drilling contractor Transocean that was built and financed by South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. Ltd., that has caused great loss of life, untold billions in economic damage to the South Korean economy, and an environmental catastrophe to the United States.

            Most important to understand about this latest attack by North Korea against its South Korean enemy is that under the existing “laws of war” it was a permissible action as they remain in a state of war against each other due to South Korea’s refusal to sign the 1953 Armistice ending the Korean War.

            To the attack itself, these reports continue, the North Korean “cargo vessel” Dai Hong Dan believed to be staffed by 17th Sniper Corps “suicide” troops left Cuba’s Empresa Terminales Mambisas de La Habana (Port of Havana) on April 18th whereupon it “severely deviated” from its intended course for Venezuela’s Puerto Cabello bringing it to within 209 kilometers (130 miles) of the Deepwater Horizon oil platform which was located 80 kilometers (50 miles) off the coast of the US State of Louisiana where it launched an SSC Sang-o Class Mini Submarine (Yugo class) estimated to have an operational range of 321 kilometers (200 miles).

            On the night of April 20th the North Korean Mini Submarine manned by these “suicidal” 17th Sniper Corps soldiers attacked the Deepwater Horizon with what are believed to be 2 incendiary torpedoes causing a massive explosion and resulting in 11 workers on this giant oil rig being killed outright. Barely 48 hours later, on April 22nd , this North Korean Mini Submarine committed its final atrocity by exploding itself directly beneath the Deepwater Horizon causing this $1 Billion oil rig to sink beneath the seas and marking 2010’s celebration of Earth Day with one of the largest environmental catastrophes our World has ever seen.

            To the reason for North Korea attacking the Deepwater Horizon, these reports say, was to present US President Obama with an “impossible dilemma” prior to the opening of the United Nations Review Conference of the Parties to the Treat on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) set to begin May 3rd in New York.

            This “impossible dilemma” facing Obama is indeed real as the decision he is faced with is either to allow the continuation of this massive oil leak catastrophe to continue for months, or immediately stop it by the only known and proven means possible, the detonation of a thermonuclear device.

            Russian Navy atomic experts in these reports state that should Obama choose the “nuclear option” the most viable weapon at his disposal is the United States B83 (Mk-83) strategic thermonuclear bomb having a variable yield (Low Kiloton Range to 1,200 Kilotons) which with its 12 foot length and 18 inch diameter, and weighing just over 2,400 pounds, is readily able to be deployed and detonated by a remote controlled mini-sub.

            Should Obama choose the “nuclear option” it appears that he would be supported by the International Court of Justice who on July 8, 1996 issued an advisory opinion on the use of nuclear weapons stating that they could not conclude definitively on these weapons use in “extreme circumstances” or “self defense”.

            On the other hand, if Obama chooses the “nuclear option” it would leave the UN’s nuclear conference in shambles with every Nation in the World having oil rigs off their coasts demanding an equal right to atomic weapons to protect their environment from catastrophes too, including Iran.

            To whatever decision Obama makes it remains a fact that with each passing hour this environmental catastrophe grows worse. And even though Obama has ordered military SWAT teams to protect other oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico from any further attack, and further ordered that all drilling in the Gulf of Mexico be immediately stopped, this massive oil spill has already reached the shores of America and with high waves and more bad weather forecast the likelihood of it being stopped from destroying thousands of miles of US coastland and wildlife appears unstoppable.

            And not just to the environmental catastrophe that is unfolding the only devastation to be wrecked upon the United States and South Korea by this North Korean attack as the economic liabilities associated with this disaster are estimated by these Russian reports to be between $500 Billion to $1.5 Trillion, and which only a declaration of this disaster being an “act of war” would free some the World’s largest corporations from bankruptcy.

            Important to note too in all of these events was that this was the second attack by North Korea on its South Korean enemy, and US ally, in a month as we had reported on in our March 28th report titled “Obama Orders ‘Immediate Stand-down’ After Deadly North Korean Attack” and which to date neither the Americans or South Korea have retaliated for and giving one senior North Korean party leader the courage to openly state that the North Korean military took “gratifying revenge” on South Korea.

            And for those believing that things couldn’t get worse, they couldn’t be more mistaken as new reports coming from Japanese military sources are stating that North Korea is preparing for new launches of its 1,300 kilometer (807 miles) intermediate range ballistic “Rodong” missile which Russian Space Forces experts state is able to “deploy and detonate” an atomic electromagnetic pulse (EMP) device, and which if detonated high in the atmosphere could effectively destroy the American economy for years, if not decades, to come.

        • Yes, it is very coincidental.

          However, be careful of creating conspiracies where simple incompetence explains the circumstance.

          If the incompetence begins to require complexity to achieve the circumstances, that’s when the ‘hair on the back of the neck’ should stand up.

          I don’t see anything but simple incompetence in this matter.

          • Oh I agree…..at this point.

            But when you think of the difficulties of getting CapNTrade through, the forces behind the Chicago Climate Exchange, the timing, the responses (or non) of the MSM and others in the Adm. such as the EPA Director, SWAT Teams? It all just makes you go, hmmmmmm.

  38. Murphy's Law says:

    Chris-

    I believe your statement “Ask Martha Stewart, Leona Helmsley or Michael Milken if they felt the same as the other prisoners. Better yet ask the other prisoners. The loss of liberty is certainly terrible, but giving up a life of luxury for a prison cell is a lot worse than giving up an apartment not much bigger than a cell” misses some very important truths. It could only be true when seeing through the tunnel vision of: my life value= stuff I own.

    Before I go further, let me explain something here (I will try to be brief, and I am going somewhere with this)- I have worked with people with varying degrees of disabilities for many years, from mild to extremely severe. Some are totally dependent on caregivers for all their needs. Many of those who are the most dependent spend their waking hours very agitated, frustrated, and self-injurious. I have tried to understand, have learned from those who have done more research than I……and the reasons have much to do with their inability to have basic control over their lives. They have wants and needs, and often almost no way to communicate those needs. They are fed when and what someone else decides to feed them…..no choice over the texture of the clothes they wear, taken only where others take them and not where they wish to go. They respond often by being self injurious, fussy, agitated, or just sleeping to escape the crushing despair they feel. But I learned from a very experienced, wise professional this, and the longer I live the more I’m convinced it applies to everyone….

    All of us have 3 things that are of extreme importance to our quality of life- agency, anticipation, and association. Briefly defined, they are (please forgive the dangling participles):

    Agency- the ability to have control over my life

    Anticipation- something to look forward to

    Association- someone to enjoy doing things with

    Possessing agency, anticipation, and association means I can choose where I live, how hard I work, what type of work I do, what I wear, with whom I associate, what I eat, how I spend my free time, my money, etc. All three of these have this in common- I AM ABLE TO MAKE MY OWN CHOICES.

    Politically speaking, a system where capitalism and the free market rule give us the most of all three. Socialism takes some away, communism takes more away, absolute dictatorships take even more away.

    Prison takes just about all of it away. That’s why it is punishment. Doesn’t matter if you are Martha Stewart or Joe Blow making minimum wage living in a small apt. Joe still got to decide where he lived, what he ate, what he wore, which of his buddies he got drunk with on Saturday night, etc. If he wanted to work harder, he had the choice of doing that and bettering his lot in life, you know, like Martha did. Joe loses the same thing Martha loses in prison…..control over his life. Now he lives where someone else says he lives, eats what and when someone else says he eats, wears clothes issued to him, cannot get with his buddies at the local watering hole for a few beers or watch the big game at a party at his or someone else’s house on the 52 inch plasma TV. His loss of freedom is the same as Martha’s and hits just as hard.

    So Joe loses freedom, and Martha loses freedom and expensive things……you say the loss of the things and the freedom is much worse than just losing the freedom. Yet that ignores the reality that many wealthy people throughout history who have had much to lose in the way of both freedom and “things” were quite willing to lose the “things” in order to keep their freedom.

    Are things really so important to you that you would truly be “destroyed” at their loss?

    I’ll bet that when the rubber meets the road, you would value your freedom far more. You may be to the left of me politically, but I bet you are not shallow. And anyone who tries to come up with a way to get rid of the IRS could not be too bad! Your article is interesting, your premise is also. I don’t think a TAT is necessarily the way to go though, because I believe it will lead to many complicated definitions of what is and isn’t exempt. Criminy, we already have that!

    But a good article, and I’m enjoying all the posts!

    Murf

  39. Cyndi P says:

    Uh-oh…

    http://www.nationalenquirer.com/reports_obama_cheating_scandal_vera_baker_investigation/celebrity/68590

    Weren’t these folks right about Edwards???? Maybe they’ll offer some money for the gay bathouse stories, and that Sinclare fellow. LOL.

    • Chris Devine says:

      You got something against gay bats?

      • ROTFLMAO………

        Cyndi…come on girl, a little humor!! Your post “gay bathouses”, get it bat houses. As opposed to bath houses!

        Chris made a funny, give him his due.

        Go ahead, it will only hurt a little.

        🙂 🙂

        A Sunday hug for you my dear.
        Bring down the blood pressure.
        JAC

        • Cyndi P says:

          I’m not very nearly as familiar with gay bath houses as Chris, so pardon my mistake! 😆 I don’t know much about gay bats or where they live, either!

          As the stories go, ‘our’ Dear Leader doesn’t believe ’tis better to give than receive’. I’m told its bad form not to return the favors. Maybe someone with a better sense of humor than me can clarify, LOL!
          BTW, not that I care one way of the other if he’s AC/DC or whatever, just don’t lie about it and damn near everything else in his past. Just be truthful. If he’s as wonderul as we’re expected to believe, it’ll show.

    • Cyndi P says:

      Drip, Drip, Drip…

      When Barry met Billy
      Thomas Lifson

      I am much less interested in the recycled National Enquirer report of an Obama tryst with a mistress than I am with the question of when Barack Obama first met William Ayers. The estimable Ed Morrissey of Hot Air previews a new book that claims to have uncovered evidence that the two men met far earlier than the campaign’s claimed date of 1995. Ed quotes the book’s co-author Aaron Klein:

      In just one of the revelations in this politically radioactive release, the book uncovers for the first time where and how Obama first met Weatherman founder Bill Ayers – and it is much earlier than previously believed.

      In his 1995 autobiography, Dreams From My Father, Obama writes about a speech given during his college years in connection with Students for Economic Democracy. SED was a campus group affiliated with Tom Hayden, one of the principal organizers of Students for a Democratic Society, the 1960s antiwar movement from which Ayers’ Weatherman splintered.

      The book ties Obama to a number of other radicals who were associated with SED’s parent group, whose founding members included fellow antiwar protesters, a politician known to be a communist collaborator, and a founding member of the Black Panthers.

      Tom Maguire of Just One Minute, one of the sharpest Obama skeptics of all, writes:

      And my guess as to when they met? 1988 seems like easy money – per “Dreams From My Father”, Obama was working on a city-wide push for education reform as part of a coalition coordinated by Bill Ayers. Per this hypothesis, Ayers then resumes his collaboration with Obama in 1995 on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge.

      But Steve Diamond wants to go even further back:

      Barack Obama visited the house of Tom and Mary Ayers, parents of former Weather Underground activist turned education professor Bill Ayers, in the mid-1980s to thank the Ayers’ for their support of his education, according to Allen Hulton, the letter carrier who delivered mail to the Ayers’ Glen Ellyn home at that time. Glen Ellyn is a suburb of Chicago, southwest of the city.

      Hulton spoke to King Harvest at length about his experience. The statement by Hulton is the first eyewitness account of a possible relationship between Obama and Tom Ayers and the first that dates his relationship with the Ayers family to the mid-1980s.

      The postman always rings twice, and apparently was chatty with the missus:

      “Mrs. Ayers told me that her family had been helping out a brilliant young black man,” Hulton said and whom he believes she said was from Kenya. Hulton said that over the period of six to ten years that he delivered mail to the Ayers home he had numerous conversations with Mrs. Ayers, one conversation with Thomas Ayers and several brief encounters with Bernardine Dohrn who he said lived at the home for several months at one point in time. He never met or saw Bill Ayers at the home.

      As to the encounter:

      As Hulton was on the sidewalk walking away from the Ayers house a tall and thin young black man was coming up the same sidewalk towards the Ayers house.

      Hulton recalls that Obama said hello and introduced himself and stopped to chat with him in front of the Ayers house. “I recall that his ears stuck out a little bit. He was more gaunt then than he appears now. His name was an unusual one and when I saw his photo during the campaign it brought back my memory of the event,” Hulton said.

      Mr. Obama explained that he had taken the train out from Chicago to visit the Ayers’ in order to thank them for their help with his “education.” At this time, Mr. Obama had recently graduated from Columbia and would soon enter Harvard Law School. Hulton and Obama “spoke for a few minutes, first chatting about the Ayers family,” Hulton said. Hulton said he did not learn whether the help Obama received from the Ayers’ was financial or in some other form.

      Steve Diamond earned my deep respect during the presidential campaign for his thorough research into the origins and operations of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. He is a man of the left, but first and foremost, an honest scholar.

      When you have as many areas of your life deliberately obscured as Obama does, there is always the chance of being caught in a major lie.

      http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2010/05/when_barry_met_billy.html

    • I thought she had been whisked off to Martinque…..

  40. The following is a partial quote from a person who was a frequent lecturer at temperance meetings. The individual was asked, “Should alcohol sales be banned on Sundays?” I do not have the entire response but an edited version from the book I am reading. I will try to redact the second authors comments except where explanation is required. I thought the response could have been posted yesterday but it’s origin is 19th century. Your job, should you chose the mission, is to name the author. The response:

    “I have given the matter some thought…. So long as the soil produces fruit and grain, ardent spirits will be manufactured and used as beverage…If you prohibit the sale of intoxicating liquors in one country, the article will be obtained from the adjoining one; if the state abolished traffic of ardent spirits; importation of the same from neighboring states will be resorted to. “
    [Point 2 refers to the Constitution and the ban on establishing a state religion.] “That clause was placed there by wise men,… by men who were careful students of history…. When tyrants ask you to yield one jot of your liberty, and you consent thereto, it is the first link forged in the chain that will eventually hold you in bondage.” [By example, he recounts the history of the Irish.] “that noble race….whose bravery immortalized every battlefield…, permitted the English lords to be centuries in forging their fetters, inch by inch, here a little, and there a little until today they are in helpless bondage.” [And the laws of Mexico] “intended to prescribe and regulate a person’s religious belief, were the first moving cause that inspired the Texas patriots to draw their swords…History teaches us that men composing all denominations of religious faith, when clothed with ecclesiastical and temporal power combined, have been tyrants.”

    “Let us suppose that the Quakers, the Jews, the Seventh day Baptists, and others that believe that the Saturday… is the day God set apart, should get control of the legislative branch of government “ [and decree Saturday to be the holy day.] “What do you suppose the religious people who believe that [Sunday] is… the day that Christ ordained, would say? Would they not all proclaim that such a law was a violation of the constitution?… We must remember that this is a land of equal rights to the Jews as well as to the Gentiles.” [referring to immigrants] “Our friends, the Germans, are a class of immigrants I have made exertions to secure. They purchase our lands and pay us cash. Some of them have settled on land that was considered unproductive without irrigation, but through their skill and industry this dormant soil blossoms… and brings forth immense treasures of wealth. When, in our distress, we beckoned these peaceable, intelligent and hardy pioneers to our shores, we promised them an asylum of freedom. I can never give my consent to the passage of any law intended to regulate the manner in which they, or any other class of people shall observe Sunday.”

    “To declare it to be a crime to …drink wine in moderation would, in effect, accuse Christ and the holy apostles of a sinful practice. The first miracle of our blessed Savior was the manufacture of wine out of water. It was performed at the request of His mother at the wedding of her niece, His cousin. The object of the miracle was to furnish stimulant…to prolong the mirth and joy of the wedding party. We must presume, therefore, that Christ and his disciples made use of wine as a beverage.”

    “I am a sincere Christian, …nowhere in the New Testament can we learn that any agency save moral suasion was invoked to make people religious or moral.”

    “I do not object to total abstinence. I believe that total abstinence is the only way by which some intemperate drinkers can be saved. I know it from my own experience. When a person’s appetite for stimulating beverages becomes uncontrollable, he should ‘touch not, handle not.’ If I cannot indulge in the use of the same in moderation, it is my misfortune. To undertake to prescribe rules for conduct for others more fortunate, by legislative enactments, is a species of legislation that will not be tolerated in a free land.”

    • TexasChem says:

      Sam Houston by James L Haley.

      • Yep, Govenor, General, President, Senator Houston, p316. I was hoping you Texans would hold fire and let the others guess. Certainly a libertarian view from the past.

        • TexasChem says:

          Sorry we tend to have itchy trigger fingers!

          I believe him to be alluding to one of these Capital Vices wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.

          In moderation; as a Christian I see nothing wrong with the consumption of alcohol.Keeping the Sabbath holy is wise to rest up from a weeks worth of labor yet we shouldn’t fail to realize that the time is meant to be there to fellowship with your neighbors and study and worship God as well.Not bad social behavior is it to set aside one day to strengthen community bonds through friendship and discussing the wonders of the universe.This incorporates trust into a society.Anyways I’m begining to rattle on it’s late and I have some work to finish up.

          Good nite SUFA folks!

          • I forgot to mention the date, ~1853. Houston was an alcoholic. His wife convinced him to jump on the wagon. Many of the battles we are fighting now have been fought since the founding of the country.

          • It you study biographies, you will find that most – and I mean almost everyone one – of men who are history’s “Named and Famous” were alcoholics

            (PS: alcohol was discovered and named by Muslims)

            It is of no surprise.

            Changing the world – whether by violence or by ideas – is incredibly stressful and terrifying.

            Strong drink steels the nerves. Often a stupor helps forget the horror and the pain.

            From Alexander to Churchill, from Plato to Goethe to BF ( 🙂 ), …staggering drunks.

            • Oh boy…..

            • Ha, ha! That explains a few things. 🙂

            • Some of those are manic-depressives (bipolar) hence alcohol is a form of self medication. Ex: Churchill Lincoln was had symptoms of bipolar disorder.

            • Cyndi P says:

              Didn’t the ancient Egyptians brew beer? What about the Romans and their vineyards? Don’t they pre-date Islam?

              • Cyndi,

                Yes, but they “discovered” alcohol – that is the “substance” itself, not just the effects.

                They discovered “distillation”.

                Arabic chemists also used al-kul to refer to other substances such as essences that were obtained by distillation…

            • A Puritan Descendant says:

              John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, all drank hard cider. John Adams even had it for breakfast. I don’t know that they were alcoholics or not. Some people as myself can drink cider/alcohol in moderation and not lose control and stop in an instant. Other’s lose control and are often are alcoholics. I guess it may be in the genes as to alcoholism.

  41. Tex Chem:

    You maintain that Reason and Logic led to a progressive income tax among other evils in the word. I maintain that is a False claim. It is in fact the result of incomplete thinking. Logic would reveal the contradictions if applied properly. That is the definition of reason and logic. As a reminder to everyone here are the definitions we have been working with:

    Reason: The ability to think, form judgments, draw conclusions, etc… To think coherently and logically; draw inferences or conclusion from facts known or assumed.

    Logic: The art or skill of non-contradictory identification, or the science of correct reasoning, science which describes relationships among propositions in terms of implication, contradiction, contrariety, conversions, etc…

    Rational: Example; a rational opinion is one based on or derived from reasoning. Rational argument is one showing reasons, not silly or foolish, in other words sensible.

    Ethics: That branch of philosophy dealing with the study of standards of conduct and moral judgment, moral philosophy. A system of moral standards.

    Moral: Relating to, dealing with, or capable of making the distinction between right and wrong.

    So let’s address your specific examples.

    @Tex: “Introduced by the government to garner votes from the general populace since the general populace earns low amounts of money – The more money you make the higher the percentage you will pay.Thus in paying less taxes they would be more inclined to vote for the politicians that pushed for lower individual tax brackets!

    Do you not think that those that initiated this tax used logic and reason to implement this?”

    Your first paragraph explains a decision making process based on political desires, basically whim, not on any application of logic or reason in the philosophical sense. A “reason” is stated but that is not USING reason, it is just a political excuse. So, my answer is NO. They did not use logic and reason, they used ideology.

    @Tex: “Since taking wealth from one to give to another with the threat of physical violence goes against natural law and what a righteous man would deem moral; using your own reason and logic you should be able to see this one for yourself!”

    I agree. Reason and logic would reveal that stealing from another is essentially the initiation of force against and innocent person and is thus contrary to the long term survival of humans. Thus it is irrational. Because it is antithetical to our well being it can be called wrong, unethical, or immoral. Because I have used reason and logic to address the question I know that stealing contradicts the natural law because it contradicts survival of the humanity. I have also concluded that it is wrong and thus immoral.

    In short, I have used reason and logic to “determine” what is moral, as have countless numbers of other humans. I would say they are rational and thus righteous. To be a righteous person without thinking rationally is not impossible. As they say, even the blind pig finds an acorn once in awhile.

    @Tex: “So you see my good fellow IMMORAL reasoning and logic can definitely lead to the passage of an unjust law!Criminals use reasoning and immoral logic all the time do they not, to plot and bring about an illegal or subversive act?”

    Reasoning and logic involves a thought process that will reveal TRUTH if applied properly. It a process of correct thinking and can be neither moral or immoral. The conclusions can be right or wrong. Logic, properly applied, can not reach a wrong answer, because the answer would be illogical. For logic is the process of identifying the “contradiction”. Immoral answers are the result of faulty thinking, fallacy, whim, all rationalized as logic by those who do not think properly.

    Criminals to not apply reasoning and logic in the true and complete sense. That is the key point here. They act according to whim, desire or their mental handicap. They may apply some problem solving to plotting their crime, and you or they may call that some form of reasoning or logic. But it is not, because the thinking is incomplete. It stops at the point of finding the best way to commit the crime. It does not pursue the complete answer to the question of the crime. What is the logical outcome in the long term, the big picture if you will?

    Do you really believe it is logical and rational to steal from others or commit violence on others when it can result in your personal destruction?

    @Tex: “Simply put; an unjust law is one of immoral design, against natural law out of greed, ego or lust for power to increase ones influence in the society it was created in.”

    I concur that immoral laws are also unjust. But here is the kicker. Immoral laws can also be just depending on the definition of “justice” you select. The definition you select must be based on some process of thought that will help you determine what is right and wrong relative to mankind’s long term flourishing. That process is called reason and logic.

    Those things we determine to be moral or immoral, good or bad, and ethical or unethical, must be discovered. They are purely human concepts. They do not exist independent of humans. Thus, loyalty to logic and reason is paramount to discovering the TRUTH, to discover that which is TRULY moral and immoral.

    @ TEX: “The only whim and mistizm I see being preached is that of one espousing coercion of the readers here to mislead them from fundamental societal ethics.”

    I do not preach or speak for the coercion of others nor do I coerce others to mislead them about ethics. I DO espouse the use of reason and logic to discover what those “fundamental societal ethics” SHOULD BE, as opposed to what is “generally accepted” because someone else declared it to be so. Just because society has come to accept certain rules as “moral” does not make it TRUE. You only have to look to your favorite bogey man for the examples.

    Tex, I provided ample evidence to contradict you claims about legalizing prostitution. Your answer is to accuse me and others of coercion, some attempt to undermine “societal morals”. I have provided evidence that your “moral” violates the base “moral” principle of non initiation of violence against the innocent. That my dear fellow is a contradiction, and we know how those work out according to “natural law”.

    @ TEX: “TC:With that simple statement you prove my point that we must have a moral base so that we have no failure within our societies basic moral principles.That statement is a moral failure on your part in regards to your not identifying a base for righteous morality.”

    I completely agree that we must have a moral base from which to build on. How do you identify this “moral base” if you do not apply reason and logic? Your only other choices are whim or magic.

    The proper moral base will not in itself prevent other immoral principles from arising all by itself. Without the use of reason and logic we will not know whether those other principles “contradict” the moral base. If they are in contradiction then they must be eliminated.

    I HAVE identified a Moral Base Tex. In fact it is discussed here almost daily. That is why making “laws” to make prostitution “illegal” is in fact “immoral”. As Black Flag tried to explain, society may decide it does not condone such behavior. That is fine and consistent with human nature. It is also fine to use non-violent means of dealing with the issue, such as education and sharing of what is deemed proper values, etc. These may be forms of coercion but are non-violent in their nature. But the minute you pass a “law” to enforce your view, you have sanctioned violence against another person when that person has done nothing to harm another person. That my dear friend is a violation of the Base Moral Principle itself.

    Regarding your last comment, I have no idea what the distinction is you are trying to draw between a righteous morality and morality that is not righteous. If a principle or action is determined MORAL by use of reason and logic, in other words it has been found to be the TRUTH, then how could it be considered anything but righteous.

    Happy Sunday to you and yours.
    JAC

    • I find your logic hard to argue against JAC, I find it hard to put my finger on the problem but I sense it is there, something that’s just not quite right with your reasoning-I think maybe it’s that it seems to leave out the psychological and emotional harm that some of these non violent freedoms can do to people.

      • V.H.

        YES, freedom can result in harm to those who do not live it properly. IF they are not mentally prepared.

        But that is not the measure of how we judge our actions against other humans, which is the subject of ethics and morality.

        Besides, as we all know causing oneself emotional or psychological harm does not require indulging in one of these behaviors you are thinking about.

        In fact I propose that if we understood freedom and operated from the moral base of non initiation of force we would learn to appreciate ourselves and much of this “damage” would be eliminated. When a person becomes truly self centered, when they are truly proud of who they are, I doubt they would fall into prostitution or drug abuse.

        Big hug to you as well this blustery Sunday V.H.
        JAC

        • I thought the measure was causing harm-Prove that harm isn’t done to society by allowing man to be free to follow his most basic animal instincts-show that it won’t influence the next generation negatively-My whole point is that all harm isn’t easy to prove, isn’t always immediately apparent but it is harm none the less. Things like basic decency-don’t use the bathroom in public, don’t have sex in public, basicly don’t act like an animal in the public view. You see these laws as somehow immoral, you see freedom as some magic pill that will stop people from acting like animals-I see man acting like man-some will be decent and some will love their new freedom to be animals-the only change I see is the decent will be the ones being punished. I think back in history where people were free from governmental law and I suspect that what was enforced by the individuals or their organizations wasn’t based on the concept of absolute freedom but on societal norms of the time. I seriously doubt that in the history of our country that there has ever been a time where people in a society where ever absolutely free.

          • V.H.

            Lets start with this one thought that is tied to your last conclusion.

            We are LESS FREE today than we ever have been, that is the Europeans in America. The Natives had freedom worked out pretty well.

            In fact, I am willing to bet that the number of LAWS imposing upon us diminishes as we go back in time.

            Yet it is the moral depravity of today’s modern society we use as an example of what might happen with MORE freedom.

            If then was more free and yet less depraved, why do we reach a conclusion that assumes the exact opposite is true?

            Either the moral depravity was greater then than now, or our view of moral depravity is distorted. Otherwise, more freedom will actually increase what we consider to be “civilized” behavior.

            One other key point here. It is NOT freedom that is judged against the “harm” criteria. It is the action of humans towards other humans that is judged in this way.

            Again V.H., look to Nevada for your test. Bars are open 24/7, prostitution is legal, gambling is legal yet the vast majority in the state are hard working family and church going folks. It is not a perfect example but it is much closer than the darkness you fear.

            Have faith in humanity my dear.

            JAC

            • For the record, I agree with V. I think morals have declined quickly in America in the last twenty years. Your example of Nevada may be correct but there are still laws in effect which still keep things like V is refering to in check and people basically obey those laws. But given the absence of decency laws things could get too far out of hand and result in the doom & gloom V is afraid of.

              Look at Matt for instance. He’s all in favor of letting people run naked in the street. I for one would love to see Matt naked one time just for kicks but I wouldn’t want to be forced to look at him naked daily. YUK! I sure don’t want my kids to see him naked ever and if he ever commited some sex crime on my child I would have no problem pulling a Lorena Bobbit on his um…ass.

              Absolute freedom sound good on paper but with moral decline in the picture also I don’t thimk its feasible anymore.

              Hi Matt 🙂

            • I could only agree with your hypothesis if I believed that past periods of lack of laws actually meant that the morality of the time wasn’t enforced -I suspect it was-As far as then compared to now-We may have more laws that limit our freedoms but our laws on morality I would say have been loosened so where the fault lies for our moral decline is up for debate. As far as Nevada-we are talking about controlled lifting of the ban on some things that were considered immoral not the wholesale lifting of all moral law, which Anita pointed out. I will agree that legislating morality endangers our freedom so I am very interested in any ideas that would keep us from becoming even more imprisoned by our laws but I simply cannot agree that having some basic moral laws on common decency is immoral and I am very doubtful that the removal of them would be good for society.

              • V.H.

                There is no amount of “law” that can make a society “moral” – but there is an abundance of “law” that can make society evil.

                Always, always, always understand that law is violence

                Do you believe if you beat your child enough he will eat his veggies?

                Well, he may – but the moment he can, he will seek his revenge on you in some other manner.

                In other words, you will create – by the use of violence to enforce your morals of veggie eating – a manifestation of some unintended but violent consequence somewhere else.

                You cannot achieve compliance to some morals by violence!

                All you will enforce is either a REVOLT or SLAVERY.

                Society naturally evolves to a moral behavior WITHOUT the use of violence.

                Moral behavior is successful behavior.

                People do not like liars and cheats, nor the unclean or the rude.

                People naturally avoid these people.

                It is a natural feedback loop that requires no violence to enforce.

              • What I know BF is that if I am on public streets with my children and some idiot is lying around naked with his girlfriend having sex-I want to have some way to stop him from doing so-I do not want or believe I should be the one going to jail.

              • V.H.

                Do you really believe that people would act in this manner as a normal function of society?

                Why are you so worried by non-violent “outliers”?

                Do you really believe that beating them up will stop them?…. or encourage their rebellion?

                Do you not see this act as a sign of rebellion?

                The more you demand structure and dominance over the behavior of others, the more the natural feedback loop of man will be resistance and rebellion.

                The tighter you want to squeeze them, the more they will resist and rebel and enforce themselves on you.

              • Yes, BF, I believe there are people who would do this, on purpose, just to shock the general public while laughing in your face. I do however see your point but I am not talking about anything at the moment but basic decency and anyone who objects to not being allowed to do these things in the public view are just self centered jerks who have no respect for what anyone thinks.

              • V.H.

                Hold this to your heart:

                “If you do not believe in freedom for those you despise, then you do not understand freedom at all”

              • I understand freedom and I also understand abuse of freedom-I also get that to live in a society there has to be some level of respect for ones neighbors and that you can by your actions forfeit your right to freedom.

              • V.H.

                The only way you can lose your freedom is by breaking the freedom of others.

                If you demand respect in exchange for freedom – you are a tyrant – is called “kowtow”

              • Then call me a tyrant because in my opinion I am not limiting their freedom they are limiting mine. They are free to do as they wish just not on public property.

              • V.H.

                So if they declare you are limiting their freedom by looking at them, can they come and beat you up?

                Be careful in assigning breaches of freedom

                If you are there -voluntarily- and you can leave -voluntarily- they haven’t done a thing to you.

                If you twist the situation into using force on them, you will have breached THEIR freedom.

                The consequences on you and your children may be infinitely worse than merely a witnessing of disagreeable behavior.

              • You are attempting to change this into a discussion of whether limiting their so called rights is a danger to our other freedoms and I have already agreed that it is a danger, this conversation was on whether or not having decency laws was immoral and whether or not these laws cause an increase in moral decline. To your question- these people have a right to come beat me up the minute I invade their private property or anyone else’s and peer thru their windows or their fence to watch them.Oops, wrong place. Ignore, moving

              • TexasChem says:

                Ever been to Carnival in Brasil BF ?

              • V.H.

                conversation was on whether or not having decency laws was immoral

                So we are talking about my point!

                V.H.

                ALL LAW IS VIOLENCE

                The moment you say “Law

                you are saying:
                …let’s beat up this person because (insert excuse)

                You’re excuse better damn well be a good one, because it will – guaranteed – be used on you and your family too.

                If you think you can beat someone with a club because they dress funny or do not dress at all – believe me, you and your family will be beaten because of the way you dress too

                and whether or not these laws cause an increase in moral decline.

                Do not concern yourself with moral decline or improvement

                There is NOTHING overt you can do to improve it.

                There is PLENTY you can do to diminish it!

                Worry about your own morals.

                Worry about protecting freedom FOR EVERYONE.

                If people act disagreeably, do not interact with them.

                Interact with those that you prefer.

                LEAVE the rest alone!

                TexasChem

                Not Brazil’s but many other Latin countries have “Carnival” which to varying degrees are more or less similar.

              • Moral decline affects my children so it is doubtful that I will ever ignore it antmore than I would ignore my toilet overflowing into my house.

              • Solving an overflowing toilet by smashing it is not a solution.

                Try not feeding more paper.

              • You’re right smashing it isn’t the answer much better to be able to call rotor rooter to take care of the problem.

              • V.H.

                Don’t worry about someone else’s overflow – worry about your own.

                If their house “smells” – leave.

              • I have no problem leaving their house-we haven’t been talking about their house.

      • TexasChem says:

        The lack of structurally sound moral absolutes is the problem my finger landed upon.

        • You are attempting to change this into a discussion of whether limiting their so called rights is a danger to our other freedoms and I have already agreed that it is a danger, this conversation was on whether or not having decency laws was immoral and whether or not these laws cause an increase in moral decline. To your question- these people have a right to come beat me up the minute I invade their private property or anyone else’s and peer thru their windows or their fence to watch them.

          • oops wrong place. Ignore this, Moving up above and ignore the ignore part of the above post. 🙂

    • TexasChem says:

      Posted this @ Jon and @ you here JaC in case you weren’t keeping up with the discussion in the other thread.

      Without a universal morality, one that applies to all human beings, taken from Natural Law which is the belief of perfect law based on equity, fairness, and reason, by which all man-made laws are to be measured and to which they must (as closely as possible) conform, there can never be a free society as you gentlemen put forth. Without the structurally sound moral absolutes given by adhering to Natural Law it is impossible.Our current status of government is ample proof of this. Natural law is derived from the concept that the entire universe is governed by cosmic laws on which human conduct should be based, which can be deduced through reasoning and the moral sense of what is right or wrong given through the will of the Creator.

  42. Murphy’s Law

    Hey Murph, just wanted to thank you for posting the stuff about working with mentally challenged folks. I found the three concepts accurate based on my own discoveries in working with my son.

    I would only add that the frustration from lack of control can also be self imposed by the handicap itself. Part of the issue of Autism Spectrum is the inability to form the thoughts needed to control behavior or to communicate desires or feelings accurately. So in essence the result of wild behavior is acting out against the frustration of their own inability to control their internal situation.

    I see this with my boy a lot. He can suddenly get very upset and there is no external stress. I have found it is because he is struggling with his own thinking at that moment. Such as when you ask him “why” he did something or to tell us what he did today at school. He will get upset and say “I don’t want to talk about it”. When I press him as to why he is upset he will sometimes say, “my brain is working right”.

    Bottom line, many of these folks actually recognize themselves that something is not working properly and can’t express their frustration and feelings to us, because of the problem we call X, Y or Z. All we see is the acting out.

    Best wishes to you and your family.
    JAC

    • Murphy's Law says:

      JAC-

      You wrote: “the frustration from lack of control can also be self imposed by the handicap itself. Part of the issue of Autism Spectrum is the inability to form the thoughts needed to control behavior or to communicate desires or feelings accurately. So in essence the result of wild behavior is acting out against the frustration of their own inability to control their internal situation…….many of these folks actually recognize themselves that something is not working properly and can’t express their frustration and feelings to us, because of the problem we call X, Y or Z. All we see is the acting out.”

      Wow- perfectly said. I have a grandson with special needs and I see this in him as well.

      Thanks for the additions……I could not have put it better.

      Big hugs to you and your family….

      Murf

  43. Cyndi P says:

    On progressivism………

    Progressivism is all the rage nowadays, with liberals having jettisoned the “liberal” label for the less maligned tag of “progressive.” In truth, “progressive” is a better name, more accurately describing the movement and its extremely broad, precariously unpredictable direction.

    Here is the essence of the problem with progressives and their movement, which is a gigantic problem for all of America: One of the only things we really know about progressives, and that they know about themselves and their ideology, is that they favor constant “change,” “reform,” an ever-shifting, ongoing “evolution,” or, yes, progression. And therein lies an inherent, significant difficulty: Progressivism offers no clear, definable end. The goal post is always moving, forever pushed farther away. Ends are never ends; they always “progress” with culture and society — all along relying on the ludicrous assumption that the changes are always (or largely) good.

    For the rest of us, this ambiguity is troubling — bordering on maddening — as we can’t, by the very nature of progressivism, get an answer from progressives as to where, exactly, they intend to stop or take the country.

    Such lack of clarity can be disastrous for any group, from a non-profit organization to a company and its shareholders. For a political movement, however — one that endeavors to run a nation (if not a world) and exact policies that increasingly regulate and control individuals and their lives and property — it is terribly alarming. In fact, it ought to give contemporary “liberals” pause.

    Consider what else we know about progressives, evident from a track record of roughly one hundred years: They consistently advocate more and more centralization of power through collectivism and wealth redistribution. Inescapably, this leads to a progressively powerful state, one composed of widening regulations and agencies and departments — launched mainly under the presidencies of Wilson, FDR, LBJ, Carter, and now Obama — fueled by a (literal) progressive federal income tax that in less than thirty years skyrocketed from 1% (1913) to over 90% (1940s). It is a one-way expansion of power sliding almost entirely toward the national government.

    Needless to say, this is, as a matter of plain fact, fundamentally antithetical to America itself — that is, our republic as conceived by its founders. The American system is based on limited government, on eschewing a single federal Leviathan, on limited taxation, and on circumscribed control over the citizenry. Of course, to the progressive, this means that the Constitution itself is unsuitable, as it too must always evolve; the Constitution is always a work in progress, never good enough, and certainly not etched in stone. (It’s exasperating when progressive presidents like Obama and FDR wrap themselves in a publicly professed love for the Constitution. This is rhetorical pabulum — mere cynical public relations.)

    As for those of us who are conservatives, who basically define ourselves by a shared vision with the American founders as expressed in sacred political documents like the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and, among others, the Federalist Papers, progressivism is a political nightmare. For conservatives, the public knows more or less where our goalpost sits: it was erected circa 1776. We believe that America got the framework right long ago.

    As one of our few truly conservative presidents, Calvin Coolidge, put it in an extraordinary speech flagged by my colleague John Van Til, we seek “to reaffirm and reestablish those old theories and principles which time and the unerring logic of events have demonstrated to be sound.” We believe that the ideals of 1776 must be maintained. That year included not only America’s Declaration, which spoke to the ages when it invoked the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but also the essential wisdom of Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations. Going back farther still, conservatives ground their philosophy in the Biblical superstructure of moral absolutes, as did the founders.

    Can’t our progressive friends likewise give us some semblance of guidelines? Alas, they cannot, by their very definition. And their aversion to absolutes is made far worse by the reality that modern progressives, unlike their forebears at the start of the last century, are shockingly secular. (Woodrow Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt, for instance, were devoutly religious.)

    Now, with that said, here’s where the confusion has the potential to become downright lethal: It’s bad enough when progressives get their hands on the federal government. There, their penchant for increased centralization ultimately bankrupts a nation. Yet, think about the consequences of their philosophy when applied to the very life and culture of America. Consider the progression by progressives on Culture of Life issues.

    Take the example of Planned Parenthood, dear to the progressive heart. It took off in the 1920s and 1930s under Margaret Sanger, initially as the American Birth Control League. At first, Sanger and friends wanted birth control. They also advocated eugenics. Sanger was a racial eugenicist. She had hideous views, not only toward the poor (“human weeds,” she called them), to the mentally disabled (“imbeciles” and “morons”), but, among others, to black Americans. On these last, progressives today dare not raise the grim specter of Sanger’s “Negro Project” or infamous 1926 speech to a KKK rally in New Jersey.

    But what about abortion? That gets to my general point in this article: The Planned Parenthood progressives weren’t there yet. They had to warm up to the annihilation of the unborn.

    Indeed, it will shock pro-lifers and pro-choicers alike to hear this, but Margaret Sanger initially denounced abortion. “It [abortion] is an alternative that I cannot too strongly condemn,” wrote Sanger in the January 27, 1932 edition of The Nation (page 103). “[T]he practice of it merely for limitation of offspring is dangerous and vicious. … [S]ome ill-informed persons have the notion that when we speak of birth control we include abortion as a method. We certainly do not.”

    Nonetheless, for these progressives, what began as birth control and eugenics — aimed at stopping life at conception — needed only a few decades to snuff out life after conception, to the point where Sanger’s organization is now the world’s largest provider of abortion. Sanger’s progressive progeny picked up her torch and set the barn ablaze.

    As with nearly everything progressives do, where they started wasn’t enough. Birth control and eugenics couldn’t satiate the lust, which became a bloodlust for “abortion rights.” Planned Parenthood’s progressives blindly bowed to the next level, beckoned by what Pope Benedict XVI calls “the anonymous power of changing moods and current fashion.” (Such power, notes Benedict, crucifies truth.)

    And, naturally, once legalized abortion came along, it, too, was not enough, which brings us to where we are now. Today, the progressives running the asylum are telling us that abortion ought to be funded by taxpayers. Here’s a new nadir in their evolutionary chain, one poised to poison the very soul of America.

    Abortion, likewise, will not be enough; no single issue ever is. So what’s next in the progressives’ progression in the Death Culture? Euthanasia? That’s where their European brethren have arrived. Death panels?

    Where does the train stop? Where does the march that advances the Culture of Death finally cease?

    It serves us all — including unborn future generations — to want answers to some hard questions as far as ultimate objectives are concerned. I beg progressives for some kind of contours, a guess at a vague estimate: Could you please, this time around — where human life is concerned — establish some boundaries, set an end-goal or two, offer an inkling of predictability, a modicum of reasonable expectation, some flicker of a suggestion as to where you want to go?

    Unfortunately, they can’t, as such is the crux of their philosophy. It looks like progressivism is nothing more than another manifestation of the left’s rot of moral relativism, changing terms, definitions, and, indeed, truth itself — on matters like life itself — as the march merrily moves along.

    This is very disconcerting stuff, voted into office by millions of oblivious Americans who mindlessly voted for “change.” Well, it is progressive change that they’ll now get.

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/05/progressive_death.html

    • Murphy's Law says:

      Cyndi-

      Quite a meaty post……well written. Unfortunately I was unable to open the link- I have a new computer with Windows 7 on it and I haven’t figured it all out yet. But I completely agree with your example of Planned Parenthood and how it has moved so far away from its origins…..of course some of Sanger’s views were horrible and should have been flushed down the toilet where they belonged. But using abortion as birth control is just as hideous and horrible, and most just accept it as normal now. And I have heard that there are those who believe (among them one of the famous scientists who discovered the true molecular structure of DNA- I just can’t remember if it is Watson or Crick who proposed this) that a baby should not be considered fully human with rights until 3 days old……that way if something is found to be “wrong” with the baby the parents can kill it and it will not be considered a crime. You know, just like they can do it now right up through the birth process, through partial birth abortion. He just said extend the right to kill a baby for 3 additional days……

      unbelievable…..unthinkable….but to me so is abortion in the first place.

      Again, thanks for the post.

      Murf

      • Cyndi P says:

        Hey Murph,

        American Thinker has lots of good essays. I didn’t write this thus can’t claim PP as my example, though I think its a good one.

        The idea that a baby isn’t a human with rights until until 3 days old is new to me. That’s pretty horrible. I would go with full human rights with 8 months after conception. I figure if a baby can live outside of the mother without major medical intervention then we have a full human with full rights, no ifs, ands, or buts. I think abortion is a symptom; meaning that if a woman would rather have an abortion than her baby, there must be something seriously wrong in her life. But that’s just me.

        Hope your having a good evening. I’m off to the beach where my Lefty honey-pie is waiting for me under the coconut tree…

        🙂

        • Murphy's Law says:

          OK- wasn’t sure if you wrote it or not. But a great post.

          I actually don’t think the idea of a baby not being a human with rights for 3 days after birth went anywhere- but he did propose it. I don’t have a reference, though, would have to look for that.

          Murf

          • Cyndi P says:

            It just goes to show you what some of these “Progressives” are capable of. The same crowd also proposes culling human populations, especially Americans and Australians. The folks that want this have decided that Mother Earth can comfortably accommodate 500 million humans. Gee, what do with the surplus 6+ billion. And to think Obama is beholden to the environmental movement. Scary.

  44. Judy Sabatini says:

    This was just sent to me.

    CNN News, not Fox — You won’t believe this!!

    Has congress gone nuts?
    And I thought Obama was done inflicting indignities to the American people! Please pass this to as many Americans as you can.
    I KNEW this was going to happen. (That way Obama wasn’t lying when he said illegals would not be able to get medical coverage under his ObamaCare plan. His simple fix is to make them all legal first.)
    EVERYONE–PLEASE TAKE TIME TO LISTEN TO THIS–IT TELLS ABOUT THE BILL GOING THRU CONGRESS RIGHT NOW REGARDING IMMIGRATION.
    EVEN CNN IS UPSET ABOUT THIS!!!!!!!!!!
    Pass this on after you watch it.
    NOTICE THAT THIS IS FROM CNN, NOT FOX!!!
    http://d.yimg.com/kq/groups/17260182/1610997888/name/FTC-vi26.wmv

    This 2-minute video should be mandatory viewing for every US citizen. If you have never passed anything on before, pass this on!
    Every American should be outraged!

    • Hi Judy!

      Seems this country is heading right down the toilet. With all the problems facing the European countries, one would think that at least more than one elected person could see this as a country killer. The damn Progressives have no clue what they are doing, and frankly, they should be huntable, just like the rascilly rabbit! 😆

      G!

      • Seem’s to me there is a much bigger plan, and this is just a piece of the puzzle. I never really liked puzzles. 🙂

      • Judy Sabatini says:

        Hey G

        Seems like it’s heading, I think it’s already there. Getting to the point you can’t do or say anything anymore, everything is catered to illegals, and yet, we legals can’t get do diddly squat.

        What do you suppose that puzzle is G? Seems like everyday you read and hear about more and more crap they have planned and nothing for the better. I think our founding fathers are rolling over in their graves.

        BTW, how you doing?

        • I’m doing fine. I’m sure you seen the pics of the pole barn and it’s progress. It should be be 100% complete by Memorial Day.

          The puzzle, interestingly, is still undefined for the most part, but it sure is starting to mirror the path that Hitler took. Many month’s ago, USW did an article on the “brown shirts”. Now we have this immigration issue. Obama has said he wants a “National Security Force as strong as the military” in the past. Add it up, then look at past great Empires. Many past Empires military were primarily immigrants, which made it easier to control the citizens and crush their discontent.

          I know, I’m long on imagination!

          G!

          • Judy Sabatini says:

            Yes I did see the pics your dad sent, and it looks like it’s coming along just great. I thought it was a shed, what’s a pole house? Please don’t tell me that’s where you keep poles either.LOL

            G, your imagination just be more truth than we know. All I know is, that this country had better start to wise and gear up before it’s too late. It’s getting scarier by the day. We need to get this country back on the right track before we fall off it.

            • I’ll get back with ya tomorrow, I’m pooped and the bed is calling.

              Night!

              G!

            • Pole Barn: Instead of digging a normal foundation and filling it with very expensive cement, you drill some holes and plant the equivalent of telephone poles in them. Then build the structure on the poles. Pole barns are normally used to store machinery or hay or straw. They do not normally have lofts like old fashioned barns. You can shelter livestock in them but then lifetime of the poles would be reduced due to the waste.

              We had an RV shed here made with poles but the fools did not use treated timbers. It kept getting shorter every year until my son made like the Hulk and pushed it over. We now have a respectful Gambrel barn/garage with full loft. I used it as training for my boys to show them they could build something much bigger than a computer. They stuck with the computers. It also proved that this old man could out climb teenagers.

    • Hi Judy,

      Lou Dobbs hasn’t been with CNN since about last November, so this is old tape.

      Hope your are doing well!

      • Judy Sabatini says:

        Hi Dee

        Doing fine, I didn’t know that was an old tape, it was sent to me this after noon by a friend.

        How you doing?

        • Hey Judy,

          We’ve been busy with spring garden and tree planting. We have 18 tomatoes set out and at least that many we have to find homes for, I got carried away with the seeds! It is really too early to plant tomatoes here, but we got some of those Kozy Coats and they are working great.

          We are going to try to make G-Man’s tomato brandy when they start producing.

  45. If anyone is interested in finding what all the hullabaloo is all about in Arizona, I posted SB-1070 in its entirety on my website. Anyone with half a brain can see that it does nothing but direct local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration laws in the absence of the federal government who is not enforcing them.

    Just thought you would like to know.

    Also, I looked at as much of the national news as I could stomach today and I noticed that all of these so-called “spontaneous” protesters had very professional looking custom made signs. And someone needs to tell Nancy Pelosi that their rhetoric was very violent and hateful sounding – unlike the people in the TEA party movement.

  46. A pundit’s view

    …On Paying Protection Money


    The government as a racket. The mob runs it.

    The mob collects protection money. Pay the mob, and other mobsters will leave you alone.

    A famouse Libertarian’s father had a business and used to have connections to the mob. He ran certain low-level communications operations for it, or so he admitted to.

    One day, two men came into his shop. They said he would have to pay them protection money. He was polite. “I’ll have to check with my partners.” He named them. The two apologized profusely and departed. He never saw them again.

    This is pretty much how government works. You pay one set of crooks a predictable cut, and they protect you from the others.

    As long as the top mob can protect you, it may be worth paying.

    The problem will come when the top mobsters no longer can offer protection.

    That day is coming, according to Jacques Barzun and Martin Van Creveld, two well-informed historians. When this happens, the nation-state will start to fall apart, they both believe.

    Caesar was a thug.

    He sent troops to Israel.

    Jesus did not enter the tax protest movement.

    He went about His recruiting and teaching work, day by day.

    The Roman Empire is long gone. The church isn’t.

    Then there were the Jews who died on a mountain top, Masada, in A.D. 72.

    They were revolutionaries: Sicarii.

    They fought the Romans by stealth. They murdered Jews who cooperated with the Romans. They committed mass suicide by having each man kill others, until only one man was left. He killed himself. They did this to avoid the sin of suicide. They had a strange view of morality. They are gone.

    My view is that the positive work that we do undermines evil.

    We can also do what we can to monkey-wrench the works legally.

    We can use the Web to undermine the government’s legitimacy.</b.

    We can spread true stories of petty tyrants and real stupidity. Use ridicule.

    The goal is to replace the system by shrinking it. Maybe we can inherit that small segment that is legitimate. The goal is to outlast the dolts who run the system.

    For this, we need capital and time. To pay taxes seems a cheap way to buy time. Time is on our side.

    I think suicide missions, whether literal or symbolic, are wasteful.

    The system is not weakened by … attacks.

    Such attacks draw forth updates of the Patriot Act. The way to undermine the system is by replacement, recruiting, and ridicule.

    You can’t beat something with nothing. It takes time, capital, and experience to produce something of value.

    The mob always overplays its hand. So do bureaucrats.

    I resent the level of taxation, but the system is going belly-up. It will default. We have work to do.

    Don’t let annoyance deflect you.

    • Cyndi P says:

      Another good post, Flag. These are some things to think about. I never thought of government as being a mob operation before…..

  47. Cyndi P says:

    Black Flag,

    Has your wife heard about this yet?

    http://www.naturalnews.com/028687_Henry_Waxman_health_freedom.html

    • Yes!

      There is no end to insult.

      • Cyndi P says:

        I’m pretty unhappy about it. One of my investment news letters mentioned that this would be happening, and not for good reasons. Well, here we are a year later, and it turns out the letter was right, AGAIN.

    • Here’s an article that attempts to explain a little about the goings on.

      I’m so sick of this back door, underhanded crap.

      http://www.newswithviews.com/NWV-News/news196.htm

      • Cyndi P says:

        Damn Marxists. I hope they’re out of power soooooooon! I’m signing the petition!

        • Chris Devine says:

          Cyndi,
          have you ever read The Communist Manifesto or Kapital? Have you read anything by Marx?

          I’m just curious because you seem to use terms like ‘Marxist’ and ‘socialist’ pretty frequently even though I have seen little evidence that you have any idea what they really mean.

          It would be really refreshing to see you add something to these discussions besides cut-and-pasted articles and over-used ad hominem cliches.

          • Cyndi P says:

            Yes, Chris, I have. Marx says the middle class persons must be eliminated. I believe this is the objective of the Left in general and of this regime in particular.

            “It would be really refreshing to see you add something to these discussions besides cut-and-pasted articles and over-used ad hominem cliches”

            I consider your words above a personal atack and not useful to this discussion. USW requested this sort of attack be avoided here at SUFA. I am respecting his wishes. Please do same if you want to communicate with me.

            • Chris Devine says:

              The bourgeoisie are not the middle class in the sense you and I would use the term. They are the owners of the means of production. In other words, they are the wealthy elite. While you may have your own opinions regarding the aims of the left or this administration, it seems pretty obvious to me that the corporate-friendly politicians are entirely dependent upon the bourgeoisie for their funding and support. They won’t bite the hand that feeds them unless they take their dentures out first.

              The left I belong to is a friend of the working man and woman. We support individual liberties and are tolerant of other viewpoints and lifestyles. Justice and freedom are our goals. No one I support has any intention of nationalizing all industries. As such we draw as much inspiration from many Enlightenment thinkers as well as contemporary theorists.

              We are not anarchists, socialists, Marxists, or any other ‘-ist’ you might want to label us with. We are liberals and proud of it.

              If you think my criticism of you is unfair or harsh, then accept my apologies. However, I stand by what I have written as reasonable assessments of what I have seen and I would gladly justify such criticism using your words as proof.

              If I think you’re wrong I will say so and explain why. If you think I’m wrong feel free to do the same.

              • Cyndi P says:

                I agree with your first paragraph, 90%. I consider myself productive. For example. I sew dresses. Literally dozens of women have asked me to sew for them. To do that, I will need to get a business license, I must run my business according to the rules of the community here. Then there is the tax issue. Should my little sewing business make enough money to put me above the overseas tax exemption, then I have to find a tax consultant who understands my situation, document and pay for the services because my time is limited and I choose not to become a tax expert. Thanks to all the regulation and taxes, I find its not worth my trouble to sew for other members of my small community. AAFES offers several sizes of the same style dress for them to choose from.

                On the second……you may well intend good intentions, however, the expression “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions” come into existance for a reason. I earn just under $50k a year, minus any overtime. I am working class. Though you intend to help people such as my self, I believe I will be what’s known as collateral damage if the policies you support are implimented. Please, don’t do me any favors.

  48. http://xkcd.com/135/

    Required Raptor calculations …

  49. SK Trynosky Sr. says:

    Sorry to come in so late on this one. There are a lot of good ideas above.

    I personally have always favored the National sales Tax idea. The first requirement however, is that it replace all other federal taxes. This would require a constitutional amendment I am sure.

    The tax would be for everything we buy. there are proposals out there that exempt certain things or create a floor where let’s say the first $40,000 of goods purchased wouild be exempt for a family of four. I am not sure I like the idea. Everybody should have a stake in the society and all should feel the tax pain involved. However, this is one of the points that deserves debate.

    My primary reason for the National Sales Tax would be that it is about the only way that I can think that we can reduce fraud. Get rid of all tax dodges. Eliminate all exemptions and pay for what you buy.

    There will be those who scream it is unfair but what the hell, so is life. Obviously if I earn $ 40,000 per year I will be buying a lot less than someone earning $ $ 400,000,000 so, they will be paying a whole lot more. I realize this is not “progressive” but I never understood “progressive” taxation anyway. Simple percentages work fine for me.

    As part of the revamp, all bennies, company cars, company paid vacations, company paid insurance etc would be treated as purchases for the recipient. Remember what I said, no dodges. I just see way too much fraud out there. I see neighbors who, on paper earn far less than I living a much better lifestyle. I, as a former government worker, saw the Housing and Medicaid fraud up close and personal. This off the books stuff is becoming more rampant daily.
    It feeds the illegal alien pipeline into the country and even regular citizens and their bosses use it to dodge FICA taxes. Since both parties are breaking the law, no one has an incentive to squeal.

    From a tax collector/accounting point of view I would think it much easier to compare inventory on hand every month with taxes collected. Baring a natural catastrophy, there would be a figure for wastage and anything in excess by a vendor would set off red lights.

    As much as it pains me to say it, inheritance should not be taxed. They have been taxed already. In reality this benefits the, if you will, poorer of the rich since they, unlike the Kennedy’s and Rockefeller’s are not able to take full advantage of the special tax dodges created for them by them. I have been told that much of what the Kennedy’s have is not owned personally. They don’t have taxable income but allowences. The last Kennedy known to have actually worked was I believe Joseph P. Sr. Under the universal Sales Tax plan, any mansion, sailboat, Lincoln, airplane or whatever provided by the family to the individual will be taxed as income. Any plane owned by the family corporation and used at different times by different Kennedys wiuld be taxed as a private airline ticket would and would be based on the cost of flying one person from wherever to wherever based on fuel, salaries, fees and depriciation.

    Now, of course all of the above would be a pipe dream. Can you imagine the number of tax lawyers and accountants out of work, not to mention government employees? The rich will scream loudest of all despite the fact that on the surface they benefit.

    The issue of “resales” bears study. Right now, an automobile may be resold many times before it is scrapped. Each time there is a new owner, tax is collected on the value. Never did seem fair to me. At the very least, a rebate by the state should have gone to the seller to offset the tax he paid on the “full value”. I am sure the same holds true for any other property which much be registered with the state.

    • S.K.

      Get rid of all tax dodges. Eliminate all exemptions and pay for what you buy….

      From a tax collector/accounting point of view I would think it much easier to compare inventory on hand every month with taxes collected….

      Of course, you missed the whole reason exemptions exist. They are not “dodges” – they are purposeful manipulation by government on the People.

      The tax system is not meant to be easy. It is meant to be hard. Believing you are helping “tax collectors” or “accountants” is folly. They want complexity – it makes the manipulation much more granular and specific to a group or class of people.

      • SK Trynosky Sr says:

        Agreed, and that is why I want the system reduced to the lowest common denominator which of course could never be allowed to happen. Classic Catch 22.

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