Here’s an email I sent earlier today to a relation, detailing my plans to attend a tax protest rally — one of many “tea parties” across the nation protesting the recent reckless spending of Congress and Obama, who is currently assuming to be our President, although the validity of his birth certificate and therefore proof of his supposedly being born an American is still in question for some like myself:
I’m going to one of the tea party rallies tonight — probably the one in
Provo. I’ll be buying some poster board and marking pens at lunch to make
a quick sign. I’m thinking of putting “F.A. Hayek was right, THE ROAD TO
SERFDOM is paved with good intentions” with the O’s being Obama’s logos on
one side and “We bow to no man, only God is our King” on the other side.
see http://taxdayteaparty.com/teaparty/utah/ for nationwide information
on a protest rally near you…
Here’s the response to that email:
Best of luck. I hope to see you on the Colbert Report waving your
homemade sign, chanting your anti-taxation war cries.
How dare government ask the richest decile to pay a bit more (while
decreasing taxes for the poorest)! You’re right, we should instead
decrease taxes even further so we have no school services and our public
infrastructure goes to pot. Better yet, perhaps we can remove all taxes
and instead fund everything through private companies, like Chrysler or
Morgan Stanley! Oh sorry, I forgot that both of these titans of
capitalism are no longer in a position to fund public works. So who will
fund needed social services? God, as your sign suggests? Or will Hayek
and Friedman rise from the dead? A capitalistic resurrection!
And here’s my reply:
The richest decile already pay most of our taxes!
Some quick statistics: The top 1% of earners pay 21.20% of all taxes paid at an average rate of 24%, the top 2 – 5% of earners pay 14.55% of all taxes at an average of 18% (Top 5% pay @36% of all tax) The bottom 50% pay 3% of all tax collected at an average rate of 2.98%. (see http://www.taxfoundation.org/news/show/250.html )
Like I’ve said before, when you hear companies say that no more jobs will be lost if we can make so much in sales and cut so much in costs, and yet you hear about Congress offering little or no visible payroll tax relief during these economic times it makes me sick. Likewise Congressional spending is now out of control — it’s likely to cause hyperinflation if continued unabated. And the problem with government spending isn’t just a federal problem. Moody’s recent move in devaluating their rating of municipal bonds is evidence of a real crisis in the credibility of even local government as a responsible institution. (see http://www.bondsonline.com/News_Releases/news04130901.php).
Why do you hate the rich so much? And of those rich that have exhorbitant amounts of money, what mortal can truly spend more than a piddly sum on themselves. Even when you hear about rich families spending huge amounts of money on birthday parties etc. such sums are still pocket change with regards to the true wealth generated by such individuals and/or their companies. While some say that many poor people are starving while such excesses are exercises, is it really true that one man’s excesses deprive another man of necessities? Is life truly a zero sum game where my gain is your loss? As Adam Smith pointed out most of the richest men’s wealth is often invested in capital, whether in its tangible or intangible forms. Such capital investments result in future growth in production and result in financial benefits to consumers (lower prices), workers (higher wages), and investors (higher dividends or increased value of their stock). Even the excesses of such luxury items as boats, houses, etc. generates many more jobs and employment for individuals that produce such items. Think of the many workers employed in painting, roofing, carpeting, architecting, plumbing, electricioning, etc. that goes into the supposed excesses of a rich man’s mansion. Trickle down economics works! If a man feels he earns too little he can rise up the pay scale either through getting a promotion, working more hours, finding a better paying job, or investing wisely.
When politicans decry CEOs making too much money it is like being pennywise but pound foolish. What of those CEOs making millions like hollywood actors? When you look at the amount of money that their companies generate in total such money is pocket change. Also often times a significant amount of CEO and top company officials are paid in company stocks and other non-cash rewards that further ties such leaders in holding an active interest in the success of their company or companies. Even if a CEO did make a significant fraction of the companies money, he might be worth it. Think of Steve Jobs. Would Apple be worth what it is today without his leadership?
When CEOs are forced to earn far less than the market demands, then you either get cruddy leaders or no one wants to assume such positions. This is a very valid case in point with the recent bank bailouts due to the subprime mortgage crisis and toxic investment assets (thanks Barney Frank). Banks are finding it harder to get good people to lead them — why would you want to assume the responsibility of cleaning up such a mess if there was little hope for personal reward. Does the government truly believe that people will just step in out of sheer altruism and assume such a huge liability and responsibility? Yes some of the increased pay of CEOs and other heads of companies is a result of the market prices fulfilling their intended role in conveying such information. The market’s invisible hand has unintentionally (i.e. not by a conscious decision of a central planning committee) but accurately determined and conveyed the important information through the prices of top company official pay rates that such persons demand more compensation to alleviate their fears of potential future lawsuits and legal actions against their persons and/or families due to their positions and the new ethical responsibilities that such positions impose with or without their knowledge. When someone is a top leader they are more widely and publicly known. As such they might be in a position to become blacklisted more easily. As a group, those wanting to assume such roles would likely demand more compensation to account for such risk. If you knew that you might have a much harder time becoming reemployed after being the CEO of a failed company, would you want to get paid more? If you knew that being a top company official might expose you to potentially heavy financial burdens in terms of civil and even criminal lawsuits against one’s person wouldn’t you want higher compensation?
Ultimately we need more free markets and less free loaders!
As to public infrastructure and schools, it is a shame that government’s irresponsible spending has caused our government to essentially become bankrupt. Should more public money be thrown into the pit that government keeps digging deeper? The state of Utah is one of the few states to have taken a serious look at such spending and actually cut back many of its programs and try to make education even more efficient. While many liberals tout Utah as a prime example of a state where teachers get some of the lowest pay in the nation and where much less money is invested in education than other states, they fail to mention just how successful Utah is with regards to test scores and student performance (see http://www.utahtaxpayers.org/?p=595). They fail to mention that we’re actually getting more bang for the buck so to speak. As to the justice of teachers getting less pay than say football players, that’s another matter. The free market if left alone would fairly decide that. If schooling was private and prices were set by the market then prices would truly transmit needed information to all parties involved and to all parties benefit. Even the poor would be able to get better schooling than they do now under such a system. Good teachers would be in demand and be better paid, while poor teachers would have to assume other careers like the rest of us. The mentallity that schools should remain public is yet another example of labor unions seeking to retain their power, income and influence at the expense of the rest of us.
I can’t understand Obama saying that he’s helped preserved the jobs of school teachers and policemen when the rest of the economy is hemorraghing. While I do hope that school teachers and policemen keep their jobs, if they are performing them up to par, I can’t understand why government can’t tighten its belt amidst the current crisis. The government is ultimately a parasite when it comes to wealth — it never truly generates more wealth than it consumes. Real wealth creation only comes from the free market and that word made loathsome under the current administration: “profit”. As long as the current administration keeps feeding the masses with the propaganda that prosperity is an ugly thing born amidst the vile temples of the money changers, we won’t see the results we could see if we didn’t have to take such a hit in suffering such inordinate opportunity costs while investing tax dollars in more social projects that like Medicare will only further indebt and enslave future generations.
I guess my ultimate question is: why and how can you still believe in Marxism? It doesn’t work. It has always failed miserably. Even the Soviet Union had to reject much of it and adapt many free market principles in order to survive! Most of their farm production came from the garden plots etc. that they gave people as their own to farm. The collective farms mostly failed, except perhaps where discipline and/or fear of starvation motivated the workers to give more than a minimum level of effort.
Here’s the reply to this:
With regard to taxation, I think raising (slightly) taxes on the rich
while decreasing taxes on the poor is a good thing. The first $50,000
of a person’s income (with margin of error of perhaps ~$20,000) go to
meeting basic needs. Reducing taxes for those earning just enough to
meet basic needs means these people can have a better life.
Increasing taxes on those who are, by far, able to meet basic needs
seems like an OK thing to do (as long as the increases are not
unreasonable). The money is discretionary income and would not be
felt nearly as much as a person making $20,000 trying to meet such
basic needs as food, shelter, and clothing.
Interestingly, Obama’s proposed tax rates would benefit even the
upper-middle class and lower-upper class (i.e., those making $300,000
or less — a pretty decent sum, in my mind). It’s just those making
large, large amounts per year that would be affected.
Why should we, as the middle-class who have a minimal amount of
discretionary income, continue to shelter the rich? It seems like
you’re using the rhetoric passed down by the capitalist godfathers.
They, or Fox News, must pay you, right?
Another point: it’s only obvious that the bottom 50% of earners will
pay a relatively low percentage of taxes — the bottom 50% of earners
earn only a relatively low percentage of the income in America.
Other than the argument that it’s bad to unequally share tax
responsibility (even though this argument is ), another argument from
your side is that by taxing more from the rich, less precious capital
is invested in society, which diminishes business, which negatively
affects society for everyone. But where is the proof? Is this extra
capital, by and large, invested in society in beneficial ways, or are
they further injected into supporting high-end society?
And finally, my reply to this:
I agree that the rich have more discretionary income. I disagree that it is our moral obligation to force the rich to share their wealth. The key word is force. Government is always force as Frederic Bastiat so aptly put it. I would hardly regard him as a capitalist godfather in the sense you imply – i.e. some patsy paid by the rich. In his book The Law he long ago countered the whole progressive and Socialist movements’ aims at creating so called Utopias based on wealth redistribution, forced charity and leadership by so-called supermen akin to Plato’s noble Philosopher kings. He did this long before big industry even existed and massive profits brought enormous wealth to whole continents. What the government is doing by progressively taxing the rich is akin to highway robbery. You can justify it all you want, but unless you pursue a tax that taxes everyone equally then the social contracts of societies under governments become oppressive rather than democratic. A government doesn’t give us our rights, it only borrows them and protects them. A government is under a moral obligation to uphold the same laws that individuals must uphold. When a government robs one man to pay another, what kind of justice is that? I think that much of the original hatred against the rich stems from some of the rich in the last century and before in America and England seeking special priviledges via the government that thwarted free market capitalism and started an oppressive marriage between government and the business world. It’s no accident that the Rockefellers and other rich dynasties used politics to their advantage. If that is the reason for your supposed contempt for capitalism then I can sympathize. However you are fighting the wrong enemy. It’s not capitalism you truly disdain. It is the corrupt practices of those who love money more than principle. Just because some businessmen have been corrupt and sought special political privileges that have oppressed the rest of us doesn’t mean that the free market system itself is wrong anymore than the automobile is evil just because vehicular homicides have occurred. Abandoning that monster of oppression we call income tax and its progressive nature and returning to a flat tax on consumption alone would achieve the very same results that you so long for — i.e. the rich who might consume more would pay the government more taxes, while the poor who consume less wouldn’t pay as much. Government waste would have to drop, pork programs would greatly diminish, and there wouldn’t be the hypocrisy of the government spending more money when the economy went through leaner years (i.e. people spending less money on things would mean less revenue). This would force government fiscal responsibility and the hypocrisy of a bankrupt government trying to bail out bankrupt banks and other failed businesses.
Surely the parable of Jesus regarding the poor man eating scraps at the rich man’s table and how that rich man might end up in hell applies to those who have means to help the poor but don’t. However when we as individuals or nations attempt to coerce anyman to do something we deem right or good with threats however benign (e.g. taxation on cigarettes, regulations on activities we deem unsafe and other social engineering schemes meant to force others to comply with our views of what is moral and right) then we are assuming a role that even God hasn’t assumed even though he is our rightful king. He has given us free agency. By using government to coerce others beyond what is necessary to maintain liberty and justice for all, we assume a very prideful role indeed. Such coercion in the maintenance of justice should predominantly be punitive rather than preemptive. That is you put a man in jail for robbery, but you don’t put a shocking collar, gps tracking device and camera on everyone or anyone at risk of committing such a theft and then shock anyone about to attempt a burglery or theft. Punishment for crimes must be the deterrent rather than a virtual padded cell lifestyle for everyone. Unfortunately the free loaders in our country want to use the government to promote their greedy, idol ways of getting something for nothing. Unfortunately even businesses like G.E. use their influence to push their own agendas in the political realm (G.E. owns many news agencies including liberal MSNBC and more conservative Fox News) and flooding much of their media with green energy promoting commercials (since they want to sell us wind turbines like there’s no tommorrow — which there won’t be for G.E. unless they can sell us many more such wind turbines and florescent bulbs). I’m not against some pollution standards as well as long as they aren’t draconian and destructive of the practical pursuit of industry. Many pollution standards set in the 80’s have led to cleaner cars and fuel standards that have helped the environment. Yet the EPA now wants to set the standards ridiculously high and further hurt struggling industries and energy consumers like you and I by heavily taxing Carbon Dioxide emissions. I thought that plants breathed CO2! The old retired folks that use more energy since they feel colder in summer and winter will be hit the hardest by rising energy prices that such cap and trade policies will promote. The government will probably blame industry for passing the costs of such programs onto the consumers rather than eating the costs themselves. Or the government will regulate such industries to death and then wonder why so many, like today’s airlines since the plethora of post 9-11 regulations, have gone out of business or filed chapter 11. And then there’s that servile and grovelling, appeasement loving Obama (who caters to terrorists and dictators like Daniel Ortega or who most shamefully humiliates the topmost office of the most powerful free nation in the world by bowing as President of the U.S. to Saudi sheiks). He want to enslave us all by having us comply with some new world order of worldwide progressivism and currency that Gordon Brown only too aptly and boldy declared in a speech at a recent global conference of nations. We bow to no man, only God is our King.