Of Tea and Taxes

We interrupt this church-themed blog for a post regarding the most state-ish of all matters: taxation.

I’ve heard a lot the past couple of days about wealthy people who think that they are being taxed without being represented. Apparently, the fact that the wealthiest 10% of the population are represented by less than a majority of Congress is a problem. To me, it’s democracy. And so to protest, they recommend sending the President bags of tea or throwing tea into bodies of water. To me, that’s littering, not to mention the waste of perfectly good tea.

And then I’ve heard from people who describe themselves as anti-tax. This astounds me.

I have concluded that those who are self-professed “anti-tax” are individuals who:

– have no children. If they did, they’d care about how public education was funded. Also, they themselves are not recipients of public education. At the very least, I assume they never took a class in Civics.

– have no elderly parents or grandparents. If they did, they’d care how Medicare was funded. They plan to die young enough and/or healthy enough not to need any assistance.

– are in fact, the picture of perfect health, and so do not care about how medical research is funded.

– have their own home security system, and so do not care about how law enforcement or criminal justice are funded.

– do not use electricity, fire, or other combustibles, and so do not care about how fire departments are funded.

– do not own or operate vehicles, and so do not care about how highway maintenance is funded.

– are in possession of a personal arsenal, and so do not care about funding the security of our nation or it interests (it should be noted that I am largely opposed to my tax dollars supporting a bloated defense budget, but, as we have men and women engaged in battle, I think I should help fund whatever efforts we can to keep them safe, rather than calculating out the portion of my taxes that go to military spending and refusing to pay).

– do not know a single person living near or below poverty line. At. All.

I therefore presume that the majority of anti-tax folks are the only members of their families, and live alone in self-sustaining underground bunkers.

Me, I’ll pay my taxes, because by doing so I help my fellow citizens and together we pay for services I need and could never afford on my own. And I’ll keep my tea where it belongs, in a cup in my middle-class-home kitchen, thanks.

Yeah, most of that is a little tongue-in-cheek. But I challenge one, just *one*, anti-tax or even anti-progressive-tax adherent to explain to me how their position isn’t a horribly callous, short-sighted, and incompassionate one. Should that happen, I may drop a bit of my sarcasm, and may also be chivalrous enough to recommend that they vet their slogans for innuendo before publicizing them.

22 thoughts on “Of Tea and Taxes”

  1. This is a revolt of the privledged, who are using poor (sometimes literally poor) dupes as surrogates to some how prove their “right” to be free-riders in this nation. The make the fatuous assumption that if everyone didn’t contribute, society would go on in some form of paradise. They fail to comprehend that society would cease to exist under such circumstances. All of this is the blustering tantrums of those who want everyone else to work, while they reap the benefits, which is ironically the basis of their critique of welfare. Go figure.

    1. Sidney, thanks for reading and commenting! That’s an interesting comparison to the critique of welfare; I hadn’t thought of it like that before.


  2. Your conclusions are grounded in convenient prejudice rather than reality. Tax protesters are productive patriotic American who are acting in the best spirit of our participatory democracy. Theirs is an act of conscience. To silence such protest would be rank injustice. These tax protesters are not a problem for America. These tax protesters are the hope of America.

    This tax protest is not about children. Neither is it about elderly parents and grandparents or health care. It is not about police or fire protection nor criminal justice. This tax protest is not about highway maintenance not is it about our nations legitimate national security interest. This tax protest is not about poverty. These are all red herrings. Other than national security, they are issues that are dealt with at the local and state level where the primary burden for payment falls on the shoulders of property owners. The vast majority of tax protesters are themselves the parents of children as well as the children of parents and grandparents. Many of them know policemen, firemen and even lawyers and judges. Some of them are policemen, firemen, lawyers and judges. And many of these tax protesters are all too familiar with poverty both in terms of individual persons and personal experience. No these issues are not legitimate to this discussion. They are only red herrings.

    This tax protest is about a federal government that like a exploding cancer threatens the lives of everyday Americans with punitive legislation, unfunded mandates and a tax policy that is increasingly based on the demonization of individual initiative and hard work and the deification of dependence. This tax protest is an affirmation of those who refuse to quietly surrender their future to those who have no idea of where they are going but who expect someone else to step up and pay the fare for the trip. This tax protest is reflects a refusal to stand aside while fiscally blind inept politicians are allowed to launch our nation into a black hole of mounting debt where all hope of any return is lost in space.

    This tax protest is an affirmation of those men and women who actually know what it means to run a business, produce and sell goods and services, satisfy customers, develop new products and services, take risk where reward is profit and failure is loss. This tax protest is an affirmation of those men and women who employ men and women, paying salaries and benefits and paying the multiple employment taxes that drive up the cost of goods and services to all consumers. This tax protest is an affirmation that the future of America is dependent on men and women who work and produce and not a federal government that only taxes and spends.

    1. Thomas,

      Thank you for reading and commenting. I certainly would never seek to silence a protest for any reason (other than violence or abuse done to others); I value the freedom of speech and assembly, and support people acting in conscience in attempt to affect change. I reserve, however, the option to critique that conscience or reasoning where I see it being faulty, as is the case here.

      Frankly, I remain unconvinced by your argument. Local taxes do largely fund public education, road maintenance, and public services like police and fire departments. But some of these receive federal funding as well (I’m thinking of the not-so-efficient No Child Left Behind attempt, or Head Start). Besides, the people who oppose taxes have often opposed local tax increases as well, which we are certainly facing in these times of recession here in Vermont, resulting in huge state layoffs. And you cannot dismiss health care for the elderly, support for people living in poverty, or medical research as being portions of the federal tax pool. Surely the money doesn’t all go to defense!

      Layered in your comments are some pretty nasty assumptions about people in the middle and lower classes. Assumptions like that we “have no idea of where we are going but expect someone else to step up and pay the fare for the trip,” or that we don’t “actually know what it means to run a business, produce and sell goods and services, satisfy customers, develop new products and services, take risk where reward is profit and failure is loss.” Many brilliant, determined people are, by pure coincidence of birth, born in a time and place where they don’t have the capital to engage in these business propositions, don’t have the opportunity to go where they have always dreamed of and planned on going. Many brilliant and determined people seek other avenues of expression– some of us (if I do say so myself) go into helping professions, where we will never make a lot of money, but might have a shot at transforming lives starting with our own. All we’re asking is that our kids have a good school and some health care when they need it. And yeah, we’re asking people who, through their own brilliance and determination, combined with the phenomenal luck of their birth and circumstance, have the means to support the services we all need and use, help carry the burden of what all of that costs, because believe it or not, we’d do the same.

      You argue, Thomas, that this or any anti-tax protest is not about poverty, and you fail to address the question of compassion or the moral duty to care for our fellow citizens. You see, I disagree.

      I believe taxes, always, are about two things: poverty and compassion. Those are never red herrings.

      Thanks again for discussing.


  3. Your post offered a tongue-in-cheek critic of tax protesters who you proceeded to portray in cartooned stereotypes. If their protest was not being decried, it is certain that is was not being affirmed.

    At issue in the tax protest of April 15th is precisely the expanding role of federal spending and its effect on the future of America. At issue is not how local services are provided. That is a matter to be decided by citizens at the local and state levels. At issue is the creeping federalization of local spending issues. At issue is a legitimate challenge of federal spending at the local level. At issue is a legitimate challenge to local spending that is not supported by local support. At issue is an assumption of entitlement that is increasingly rejected by those who are increasingly expected to pay the cost of those entitlements. At issue is the idea that the federal government is suppose to protect people from economic cycles, to guarantee an equality of outcomes regardless of and even in of choices that have been made.

    As a life-long member of the lower-middle class, my assumptions mirror the experience of many men and women who have not been born with a silver spoon in their mouths not attended a Ivy League school by virtue of a heritage admission but who have worked hard to educate themselves, provide for their families and pursue their dreams. Some of these men and women are brilliant. Many of them are very determined. Among such people results are what matter. Among such people an excuse making mentality is not tolerated. That applies to politicians who are clueless about what direction this country should go and those who blindly follow them.

    There is no equality of origin. There is no equality of opportunity. And there can be no guarantee of an equality of outcomes. For only in fairy tales does everyone live happily forever after. There is only the potential that each person has to start where they begin and do the best they can for themselves and their family. They make choices and then they live with the consequences of their choices. Many are counted plebian while some are even judged brilliant. Some are only determined. Yet they all make career choices driven by broad interest not valued equality by society. If even a brilliant person makes a choice less valued by society, there is no injustice. It is the consequence of choice. Let everyone make their choices so as to best reflect their own interest. As they make these choices let everyone recognize that they and their families will live with the consequences of those choices. They have no reason to expect someone else to bear the consequences of their decisions.

    Taxes are not about poverty. Taxes are not about compassion. Taxes are not about moral duty. The answer to poverty and dependence is not taxation. That can only provide a transfer payment. That will never get one off the bus line are out of the bread line. Personal independence and self-determination are the result of men and women taking responsibility for their own lives, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

    1. Thomas,

      Again, I’ll support anyone’s *right* to protest, but I’ll point out when I think their stated reasons or rationales are in error. I think we can separate those two things pretty simply. You know, I may disagree with everything that comes out of your mouth but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it sort of thing. I support anyone who wants to protest as a peaceful way of attempting to change something– heck, I do it a lot!– but the content is up for debate.

      There are plenty of people who make all the ‘right’ and ‘responsible’ choices, but still need access to services that the federal and local governments provide. There are plenty of consequences for poor decision-making (more for individuals than for corporations, i think, but that’s something else entirely); there don’t need to be added random consequences for the plain old simple trials of living. I would never wish on anyone the experience of living in poverty or being at the mercy of whatever benefit Medicare could provide, but I’ll tell you that when people need them, it’s a darn good thing those programs are there. I encounter people every day who live at the mercy of government assistance. These are not lazy people or folks who’ve made bad choices. These are people, however, who would not be able to feed and clothe their families without help, and they come to me and to my church because the help they are already receiving is still barely enough to scrape by.

      I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree. For those who have been as responsible and wise and lucky as they can, but still struggle financially, I don’t know that there is any true solution at all to the gaping problem of systemic poverty. But our country’s tax policy, taken on the whole, is a step in the right direction, not the wrong one. For those who already practice personal independence and self-determination and yet remain in need of government assistance to help with medical costs or buy food for their family or have a sliver of hope that their deployed loved one might come home safely, what solace can you offer? What help is out there? If not for others doing their moral and civic duty, how do these people survive, let alone pursue liberty and happiness?

      Again, compassion. I’ve yet to see how the compassionate response is any less than helping one another– and yes, cynic that I can be, I think some of that help needs to be legislated. I’m sorry, but the amount people give to charities just isn’t going to cut it. And that’s why it’s a good thing that our government makes people pay taxes, because we don’t always do so joyfully, but we may be doing it out of necessity. We’ll take compassion in whatever form.

      Thanks again for discussing,

  4. It is not possible to insulate anyone from every vagary of life not is it desirable. There is a limited role for assistance to people who are facing hardship. But there is a difference between providing a social safety net for people who are facing hardship and providing a hammock for someone who expects to have their needs met and their lifestyle supported. Beyond some level of limited assistance people must be responsible for themselves. Else they must endure dependence with all the limitations that entails. It is the desire to be independent that moves a child tying his shoes to brush off help saying, “I can do it myself.” It is that same concern for self-sufficiency that moves a parent to say, “This time let me watch while you tie your shoes.” Failure in either responsibility almost inevitably produces clipped wings and a grounded life.

    Agree to disagree? That is of course a possibility. There is a better resolution. For ours is not the first generation to struggle with the realities of living in a world where life can be hard. But we can learn from what has worked and what has not worked. There is no record of any nation in history that has ever produce significant enduring prosperity for a broad citizenry either by socialism or its more rabid communist cousin. The only proven demonstrated successful approach to producing the broadest benefit to the greatest number of persons is a market economy not artificially restrained by concern for who wins and who loses.

    There is most certainly a place in our society for compassion. But compassion is a matter for an individual person to decide. They are free to act as they see fit in responding compassionately to need. Anyone would applaud such action. But the use of the tax code as a weapon to force someone to pay for what someone else thinks is fair and right is repugnant, it is confiscation if not theft. One should not be surprised that free men and women refuse to quietly submit to such injustice. If in the minds of some people do not sufficiently support charitable benevolences, then those charities need to do a better job of appealing to the public for support. Let them make their case for why their work merits support. Let’s not pretend that forced payment of taxes is compassion.

    1. See I guess where I disagree is in the assumption that the free market economy is actually working and producing the broadest benefit for the most people. I also wouldn’t want to be responsible for making a case as to why people should support my church’s work or our food pantry; I’m glad the latter receives government funding, or we’d be spending most of the money hiring someone to do advertising.

      Perhaps forced payment of taxes is not compassion on the part of the individual payer, but I think it could be considered compassion on the part of society as a whole. I certainly wouldn’t characterize taxation as a weapon; perhaps more like an incentive.


  5. The free market does not work perfectly. It only works better than any other real world alternative. It does not produce equal results for everyone. It does not even afford equal opportunity for everyone. It does afford each individual the greatest degree of choice and freedom of opportunity to take whatever are their resources, ingenuity, skills and drive and seek out the best life they can construct for themselves and their family.

    Why would one not want to advocate for support of congregational ministry to meet human need. Wesley certainly sought financial support from various sources to fund a multiplicity of ministry initiatives. That would seem to be a better alternative to dependence upon government funding.

    Regarding the forced payment of taxes, perhaps a little parable would be helpful. When David wanted to give a burnt offering to the Lord, he did not confiscate livestock. He paid the owner the full price of both the livestock and the wood equipment that were offered. He understood that it was not credible for him to give an offering that cost him nothing but came rather at another man’s expense. In exactly the same manner, it is not an act of compassion for one person to expect much less force another person to pay for a considered social good. At best it is the equivalent of taking another man’s oxen for a sacrifice that cost one nothing. To use taxation as a tool for such taking is no more an incentive than is a farmer using a cattle prod to urge cattle into the slaughter pit. On second thought maybe a better analogy is found in the story of a barnyard where the chickens and pigs wanted to give their owner breakfast in bed. After all, he faithfully fed and cared for them. It was only right that they do something for him. Flushed with excitement, the chickens excitedly volunteered to provide all the eggs. They found it hard to understand the lack of enthusiasm shown by the pigs. They were only being asked to provide the ham. The pigs simply refused to cooperate. It was all so sad. After all, they were only being asked to make a small sacrifice. Later that morning the sound of squawking was heard in the chicken coop. It stemmed from rumors of what the farmer’s wife planned to serve for Sunday dinner.

  6. The thrust of your argument is that if people don’t go out of their way not to benefit from public services, than they have no right to criticize taxes. I disagree. The taxes are taken by force regardless of your specific demand for those public services, which often times crowd out accessible or affordable alternatives. I’ll take these points in more detail one at a time:

    1. Public education in this country is a disgrace. Saying you are for taxes because of public education is more of an academic argument than a practical one. The best funded schools in this country are among the worst preforming. I heartily support vouchers as a way to close down horribly badly preforming schools, and I support scaling back vouchers for wealthy people, and then for the middle class. Having children is a choice when there is free, almost 100% effective birth control and abortions. People who aren’t poor should pay for their own kids education.

    2. Since Medicare is paid for by it’s own, separate, specifically delineated tax, I think we can push that argument aside from a generic tax debate and debate it separately. Let’s just talk here about taxes and programs that touch a general fund. Makes for a cleaner argument.

    3. This is a red haring. While there is a lot of debate over what kind of research the government should fund, the vast and overwhelming majority of medical research is done by non-public institutions, like nonprofits, schools and drug companies. While the government subsidizes it, one can hardly argue that the research wouldn’t happen without the subsidy.

    4. This is another case of logical fallacy. If the government provided less or no security, the available private options would be more accessible and affordable. Just because government crowds out the very low end of this market doesn’t mean anything about whether or not taxes are necessary.

    5. Same basic principle as 4, but with an added natural monopoly argument. There exists substantial literature that points out that privately owned natural monopolies are better for the public in the long run, because there is a greater incentive for entrepreneurs and technologists to try and lower the barrier to entry through innovation. I think if you read more on this topic, you might change your mind about legal monopolies being a good reason to pay taxes.

    6. See #5, but also note that there are plenty of toll-supported roads on the east coast, some of which are even profitable.

    7. Who exactly are you afraid of invading the USA?

    8. Yes, being poor sucks. It sucks major ass. But, if you compare what the private market has done to make it suck less to what taxes have done, I’d much rather be poor with a modern market and a 100-years-ago gov’t than vice-versa. Just because poor people exist is not an argument for taxes in itself. Gov’t is notoriously bad at alleviating poverty, and on a wealth basis, the very poor pay a much higher percent of their networth in taxes each year than the very rich.

  7. Cutting through all the red herrings and red tape: Paying taxes is simply part of being a good citizen. We need both private enterprise AND public infrastructure in order to promote the common welfare and create a healthy society.

    The issue isn’t whether we should pay taxes, but how they are allocated. (And I notice that a lot of staunch Anti-Taxers are willing to make an exception for “defense,” a.k.a. the war machine.) The original Tea Party was protesting taxation *without representation.* We have taxation *with* representation… so… que pedo? You don’t like how you’re being represented, talk to your representatives and/or vote them out.

    Finally, anybody who’s ever played a game of Monopoly knows damned well that money has a tendency to pool towards those who already have it. Like it or lump it, we need some kind of checks and balances to keep the money flowing throughout society. Yes, that means redistribution of the wealth, generally via taxation. No, it doesn’t always work perfectly–but neither does the free market, and just because you’ve got a load of surplus income and assets doesn’t mean you *deserve* it or *earned* it. The allocation of wealth is far more complex than a simple “I worked for it, I earned/deserve it” cause-effect.

    The short version: The economy exists for the benefit of ALL people in our society, not just for those who are able and adept at playing and :”winning” The Game.

    O.K., Becca, rant train moving on… 😉

  8. I was going to replay to each, but I’ll just point to Karyn’s comment and say “yeah, what she said!” Especially note the part about taxation without representation, verses our representative government. I think what people are really upset about is that for the first time in a long time, the representative government is closer to reflecting the general public, where most people make less than 250K and will be receiving a tax break. Suddenly, the wealthy are finding that they can’t buy representation, but that the general middle class is actually getting a little bit more of the pie. Bummer for them, man.

    @Thomas, I hardly think we can compare taxes to tithing, which is supposed to be a spiritual practice (and that’s why David had to pay for his own offering). More to the point in the David example, David was *the richest man in the whole nation* and so paid his portion. I’d argue that Jesus opposed temple fees and offerings precisely because the rich (like David) could afford them, but poorer people could not and there was no provision for them to do so.
    And we certainly can’t compare taxes to livestock being slaughtered. A progressive tax code is just an eensy weensy bit different than asking people to, you know, die. It is, after all, only money.

    @Ryan, I’m not afraid of anyone invading the U.S., and as I said in the post, I actually oppose military spending as a whole, but think that we do need to support those already engaged in combat to bring them home safely and minimize the loss of life on all sides. In my dream world, no one would need to spend a dime on things designed to maim and kill people. Unfortunately, we don’t live in that world.
    Your last line, “on a wealth basis, the very poor pay a much higher percent of their networth in taxes each year than the very rich,” is exactly the reason I support progressive taxation.

    Thanks to all for the lively discussion.


  9. Paying taxes is not about being a good citizen. It is about paying for a service. Otherwise it is a nice way of forcing one man to give another man what he has not earned. The need for private enterprise is obvious. The only need for government is to provide those basic services that are needed. Beyond that, government is a threat to the common welfare and health of a free society.

    Allocation of taxes is the crux of the matter. There will always be those who don’t want to pay taxes. There will always be those who think someone else doesn’t pay enough taxes. There are certain obligations that are incumbent upon a government, i.e., defense, etc. The tax protests of April 15th reflect a rejection of an expansionistic federalism that under the current administration is rapidly morphing into a Marxist nightmare for America. Perhaps the best solution to the issue of taxation would be if the right to vote were dependent upon being a taxpayer. That way the people who actually pay for the cost of government would be making the decisions about how government money was spent. After all, why should someone who pays nothing for a service expect to have a say in how money is spent for that service? As long as someone who pays nothing in taxes can vote for the government to spend money on the modern equivalent of bread and circuses, why would anyone expect that they would ever try to do anything else but expect services, etc. to be provided to them at someone else’s expense?

    The economy does not exist for the benefit of anyone. It exists simply because of the exchange of goods and services between people. The best economy is one in which people are able to freely pursue their own interest unrestrained by the proclivity of others to artificially manipulate and restrain or reward choices to produce the supposed benefit of a uniformity of outcomes. Far better than the pretense of a game, that free pursuit by individuals of their own best interest is the best way to ensure a viable, vital, vigorous economy.
    Poor people do not give people jobs. Employers who run businesses give people jobs. They are the ones who produce real goods and services of value that drive the real economy. Government is a depend claim on the real economy. It is a net loss producing no gain.

    At issue is not some sort of class warfare. At issue is the simple fact that the people who actually make money and pay taxes have reached the point where they are no longer willing to allow politicians to use tax money to provide bread and circuses so as to get themselves re-elected.

    The connection of taxes and tithing is apt. If a benevolent organization of any sort wants to pursue its mission, let it do so with the willing support of those who agree with its mission. It matters not if David was or was not rich. What he recognized what that he had no more right to confiscate one man’s oxen than he had the right to confiscate another man’s wife. Is it really “only money?” No. It is personal property to which no man has the right to take from another man except by common agreement. One would not have a problem with seeing why it is wrong for a mob to force someone to turn over their wallet so that all can have hotdogs and Coke’s. There is no difference in expecting someone to pay so that someone else might be given something for which they have paid nothing.

    1. Thomas, this is really getting bizarre, and I’m not sure if I should take you seriously. Linking taxpayer status to voting rights? Great! Then people who lost their jobs under an administration’s failed economic policy have *no* voice in whether or not that administration returns to office! What a swell idea! While we’re at it, let’s just let people vote for their representatives by paying rather than casting ballots, and whoever ends up with the most money wins. I love oligarchy. That’s why I live in a democracy… oh, wait.

      The other reason that I love democracy and the democratic party specifically, is that I think government is a good and necessary thing– hear me, this does not mean that the people involved in government are always good people or do good things, but *having* a government is important, and that government needs to be able to do things like provide services we can’t provide for ourselves alone and ensure rights that we would not grant one another on our own. Perhaps if everyone acted as they should, we wouldn’t need government, but I’m not that much of an idealist.

      A mob should not force someone to turn over his or her wallet so they can all buy cokes, but history has shown a great many times that mobs can and perhaps should force someone who controls most of the wealth to turn over the money so they can buy food and necessities (something about your line of thought sounds a little Marie Antoinette-ish, let them eat coke– or cake). That’s where democracies often come from. Viva la revolution! So the question is, what are the necessities for which those with wealth should be expected to hand over their wallets? To prevent starvation? I’d make that argument. To provide health care? I’d make that one too. To buy me a coke? Not necessary. To buy me a mercedes? Nah. They’re crummy in the snow anyway.

      Yes, I jest a bit, but that’s because I’m having a hard time being serious about aspects of democracy in a conversation with someone who has just advocated for rule-by-the-wealthy.


    2. “The economy does not exist for the benefit of anyone. It exists simply because of the exchange of goods and services between people.”

      The very definition of an economy is “the exchange of goods and services between people,” so you’re basically expressing a tautology: “The economy exists to be an economy.” So: Why do people exchange goods and services? In order to meet their material needs, i.e. benefit from it. Q.E.D.

      “The best economy is one in which people are able to freely pursue their own interest unrestrained by the proclivity of others to artificially manipulate and restrain or reward choices to produce the supposed benefit of a uniformity of outcomes.”

      You may believe that is the “best” economy, but I and Becca and others disagree very strongly. Yes, it is well and good to pursue our own interests, but our own interests are not all that we are ethically obligated to consider.

      Do you believe that we human beings have ethical obligations towards one another? If not, then we’ve reached an impasse on what I consider the most fundamental point in this discussion. Because as much as I care about my own self-interest, I cannot in good conscience care ONLY about my self-interest, and let those who are weaker sink or swim.

      Becca is a Christian pastor. I am a Humanist (among many other things). We both believe that we need to look out for one another, and that we have ethical obligations to do so. I myself, at least, would also add that seeking the good of all and the harm of none, to the extent that it is in our power to do so, is also plain old enlightened self interest: A society that does a good job of meeting human need across the board is a better society to live in than a society in which significant numbers of people are marginalized while the “haves” aspire to become “have mores.”

      All human beings have basic human rights, not just those who have the money to buy them.

  10. Rule by the wealth has not been advocated. But what has been advocated is that taxpayers have the franchise. In other words, let those who pay the bills call the shots. If someone pays no taxes to the federal government, they should not have any say in how the money is spent. At present politicians especially at the federal level demonstrate their bought and paid for status with every vote they cast.

    Government is at best only a necessary evil. There is little that is needed from any government beyond national security, law enforcement, roads, schools, etc. Such does not require the massive federal taxation that currently exist. As far as government protecting anyone’s rights, that depends upon the supposition that judges can be trusted to act according to law rather than acting according to their own preferences. Experience has amply demonstrated that judges are not worthy of such trust.

    If someone is in genuine need, there is every reason for assistance to be provided. But a mob is a mob. The idea that anyone is just supposed to meekly surrender their property to government just because a mob says that is what they want is a guaranteed prescription for a reaction from taxpayers that will make the Reagan Revolution look tame in comparison. Across party lines there is a great deal of extreme discontent with an out of control federal government that is destroying the future economic expectations of the children and grandchildren of taxpayers. Legislators in California failed to restrain spending and ended up having to deal with Proposition 13. That same train is steaming down the tracks headed for Washington. Sooner or later, it’s going to arrive. It will be best if the politicians not try to stop it by standing on the tracks.

    1. You may not be advocating rule by the wealthy, but its not too great a leap to progress from “only taxpayers vote” to “those who pay more taxes get a greater say in government” You may think you are advocating reform, what you are advocating is Oligarchy.

  11. What has been very plainly advocated is that those who pay taxes should be the ones who decide how tax money is spent. Put another way, those whose money pays the bills should be the ones who call the shots about how that money is spent. If someone pays taxes, they should have the right to vote. If someone does not pay taxes, they should not have a right to vote. That is sufficiently clear to be easily understood. If there is a problem with understanding, then it stems not from an error in composition but a failure of comprehension. Presenting a personal supposition as reflecting a position not advocated by another person constitutes a failure of integrity.

    1. You do have a say. This is a republic, you elect representatives who are supposed to act in the interests of their constituents, yourself included. If they do not do so, you have the option of removing incumbents and providing new and better governance through more receptive candidates, if none are to be found, you are free to run yourself. I would assume you know this.

  12. You are not listening. This is beyond trusting a broken system to produce anything more than a continuing stream of failure. What I said was that only those who pay should have a say. Currently the mob is voting for those who will not do anything but provide the equivalent of bread and circuses to the mob. Currently the mob is satisfied gaining a net benefit for which they do not pay because others pay and the rest is borrowed. Currently the mob is happy to mortgages the future of the nation so that they can eat cake. Of course the mob will continue to vote for those who would rather continue to tell them what they want to hear rather than actually tell them that the price of cake has gone up. When the operative rule of government is to take from everyone according to what they “have” and give to everyone according to what they “need,” the result is a culture of mediocrity, a society marked by squalor not success.

    Run for office? Why? There is far greater potential for personal success in the business world. At the present few “brilliant and determined” people are found in the federal governments who have actually produced anything. They are ignorant of running a business or producing any sort of actual good or service. They have never actually had to compete in the marketplace. But they are good at spending money. They are good at taking money they did not make and spending it for things that are of no more value than bread and circuses. They are good at taking the national credit card and running up a debt for which they will never pay a dime.

    1. If we are so repugnant to you Thomas, why spend the time attempting to reform us. If indeed the “mob” as you wish to call you countrymen is so backward, vile and incorrigible, why stay? I’m sure there are many other nations in which you could find better opportunity and wealth. After all, as you place such great faith in corporatism, there are any number of nations which welcome a transnational business class, perhaps you should seek one out?

  13. Odd. “Mob” was not my choice of vocabulary. I simply used the term as was earlier used in reference to another mob, one that took the property and even the lives of those who they thought did not deserve to have either. As used, “Mob” never referred t anyone as backward, vile or incorrigible. As with an earlier mistaken supposition, this is an erroneous assertion not founded in fact.

    The rise of a multinational business environment has rendered national location less relevant. Given the rise of class warfare that is evident in the media and even in this discussion, leaving may be a regrettable option that will have to be exercised. I was born and raised in this country. It was the promise of my parents. If should be the heritage of my children and grandchildren. But I will not meekly allow the efforts of a lifetime to be taken away by those whose heritage is Red Square and Lenin. And unlike the tragic Zhivago, I will not allow anyone to dole out to me a “room in my own house” while they wreak the remainder in the name of right and equity.

    Leave the country of my birth and heritage? Why? I have a right to live here. This is where I have built my home, raised my family and built a life. If necessary, there are other places to live. Early on I learned to make decisions so that I would later have options instead of merely having to accept what was offered or worse yet, take what was given. Hopefully such a change will not be necessary. Should necessity drive such a change, it will be with regret that what was once the greatest nation on earth becomes only a receding image in a rear view mirror.

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