Friday, September 26, 2008

Ignorance is no excuse

Does this scare anyone else?

24 comments:

Rachel Baker said...

Why is it scary? What is scary is that 43% Percent of Your 2007 Taxes Go to War, and what's more scary is that Obama wants to tax the rich even more to pay for Biden's war with Iran.

Rev'd Chris Larimer said...

It's scary because people believe that they have a fundamental right to spend money that isn't theirs. They make a false class war by saying that the rich aren't paying their share. (That's true - they pay more than their fair share!)

As for your percentages, anti-war groups put it at "over 40%." The federal government puts military spending as 17-20% of the budget. Creative accounting practices can skew the numbers to make just about any case one desires.

Most likely, the truth is somewhere in the middle, like it usually is.

Rachel Baker said...

Thanks, for clearing that up. Let's end the UNCONSTITUTIONAL Income Tax and Federal Reserve System.

Rev'd Chris Larimer said...

Agreed. What would you suggest?

I think either a flat tax (least corruptible) or a consumption tax (fairer, and historically favored by Alexander Hamilton). A combination of the two is also feasible. But the gargantuan we have now costs us over $200 billion to maintain, and we lose over $300 billion in revenue because on cheating and non-compliance!

Bill Crawford said...

Remember Alexander Hamilton wanted a monarchy and was pretty much a megalomaniac.

When I first started paying attention to politics the top 5% paid 90% of the taxes so things are much fairer today.

Rev'd Chris Larimer said...

Heck...all this raving over Palin tells me that the Republicans are ready to give us a queen!

backwoodspresbyterian said...

Well I am in favor of a Monarchy especially since I already live under the reign of King Jesus...

Paul Schmidt said...

I got depressed one July 4, so I set up this website... www.notaxation.org. After reading this, you will see why I could never run for elected office. One note, I had to shut down the forum and contact form because of spam.

john said...

"To whom much is given, much is required." This is not just a spiritual statement, but an economic one. A fair tax system is one that is based on one's ability to pay.With those woderful Bush tax cuts, I've gotten off easy these last eight years.

Rev'd Chris Larimer said...

Awesome, John. What other statements of Jesus should we rip from context and blindly apply? How about the ones condoning plucking eyes? Chopping off hands?

In all seriousness, what do we rightfully owe the government from the fruits of our labor? God demanded 10%, and sacrifices were prescribed (though there were some exceptions for poverty allowed).

Jodie said...

Its not about how much taxes you pay, but about how much you get to keep.

I'd rather pay 30% on 200K income than 0% taxes on 100K income.

Taxes enable the system that generates wealth and high incomes. None of the infrastructure that enables wealth comes for free and most of it does not come from the private sector. Some of it is incubated with tax money then gets spun off as successful private businesses. The only way to maintain the system is for the beneficiaries to "pay it forward" and finance new opportunities and new infrastructures thus generating more wealth opportunities.

That is the function of taxes and government.

What matters is not how much taxes we pay, but how they get spent, and whether they are being used to improve the general wellbeing of the many, or to feed the greed and ambition of the few.

Rev'd Chris Larimer said...

Jodie,

The only place I can think of where federal taxes are used directly for infrastructure that promotes business is our roadway system. (Maybe the post office should be included, too.)

As for that awful situation of someone making over $200K, most folks I know who do that (other than doctors, lawyers, and CEOs) are small business owners who are organized as an S-Corp. I believe they will be decimated by the proposed Obama tax increases.

Why should we care? Well. 99.7% of all U.S. employers are small businesses (employing just over half of the U.S. workforce). They generate half the nonfarm output of the U.S. economy, while adding 60 to 80 percent of net new (nongovernmental) jobs annually. And that's just the economics!

When you focus on the contributions they make to social justice and mobility, notice:
1) small businesses serve as an entry point into the economy for new or previously slighted workers: women-owned small businesses, for instance, generate nearly a trillion dollars in revenues annually and employ more than 7 million workers;

2) small businesses increasingly generate entrepreneurial opportunities for minorities, which census data show as owning 4.1 million firms that generate $695 billion annually and employ 4.8 million workers;

3) small businesses bring economic activity to distressed areas: about 800,000 companies (90 percent of them microenterprises) are located in the poorest areas of the 100 largest U.S. cities;

4) small businesses offer job satisfaction and autonomy: studies show that most businesses are started to improve one's condition, rather than for lack of an alternative, with some half a million new businesses started each month.

Those businesses need freely available start up capital - which is supplied by these godless, baby-seal-clubbing, minority-hatin' rich folks that Obama wants to tax into oblivion. You want to talk about CEOs as examples of inequality. But you don't seem to realize that outside of maybe 1,500 CEOs, every other CEO is a small biz entrepreneur - one who helps his/her employees because that's how they help themselves.

Taxing capital gains and businesses robs the poor and middle class, and it makes people with money reluctant to invest it into places where that money can reach willing workers. I think Obama's plans to punish wealth production would be catastrophic.

Jodie said...

Who says Obama is proposing to raise whose taxes?

Rev'd Chris Larimer said...

Obama said he'd raise taxes. Have you been listening? In a September 7 Associated Press report: "Democrat Barack Obama says he would delay rescinding President Bush's tax cuts on wealthy Americans if he becomes the next president and the economy is in a recession, suggesting such an increase would further hurt the economy." Later, it was noted: "What about increasing taxes on the wealthy? ‘I think we've got to take a look and see where the economy is. I mean, the economy is weak right now,' Obama said on ‘This Week' on ABC."

Tax increases distort and hurt the economy no matter what the current economic climate happens to be.
There's really no getting around the fact that Barack Obama himself is tacitly acknowledging that his proposed tax increases are bad for the economy.

Obama seems to be saying that the costs of higher taxes are not acceptable during a recession, but are okay if the economy happens to be growing. That is, Obama simply is willing, under certain circumstances, to ignore the negative effects of higher taxes, or even worse, to deny that those negative consequences exist even though he now acknowledges their existence.

Change? Let's hope he does change his mind...

john said...

Chris -

How is "To whom much is given, much is required." ripped from context? Some how I don't think Jesus was a ten 10%er.

How about: "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me....It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

John Paul II warned Americans that Lazurus was on our doorstep on his first visit to USA in 1979.

Rev'd Chris Larimer said...

Luke 12 is a series of parables warning the Jews - to whom the Law had been given - for not recognizing the coming of the Messiah. You're taking the parable and making it one with economic overtones when that is foreign to the canonical setting!

Why don't you look at Matthew 25 and see what Jesus thinks about investing in people who have a record of dealing poorly with money. (I'm thinking of the 1997 & 1995 Community Reinvestment Act!)

Jodie said...

So unless he cuts taxes for 100% of the population instead of only 95%, then he is raising taxes?

That might even be true in an absolute sense. But that would be good. It would help get the government out of debt, something the Republicans always manage to leave behind for the Democrats to clean up. More spending and less taxing does that.

Caused recessions and inflation too. Remember the double digit inflation at the end of the Reagan years?

So even though in an absolute sense it might raise Government revenues, for 95% of the population - including you and me - it is a drop in taxes.

By the way, under Bush my taxes actually went up. He said he lowered taxes, but he left the AMT in there. AMT plus inflation equals higher taxes. He collected more money with a Tax Cut than Clinton did. But his government spending went so ballistic he still had to borrow half a Trillion dollars from the Chinese to pay for the war in Iraq! All the while my net value went down.

Am I missing something? I am really tired of the Orwellian rhetoric of the Republicans. They really need a time out.

Rev'd Chris Larimer said...

Jodie,

Is your net value as low, yet, as your Internet value?

I hate to tell you this, but we were on our way out of a recession when Bush I left office, and on our way into one when Clinton left office. He caused a tech-sector bubble AND the current housing market bubble.

Here's somewhere we can agree: tax and spend makes a lot more sense than don't tax yet spend. George Bush may be a republican, but he's no conservative. Vote CONSTITUTION PARTY!!!

reformedpastor said...

I've been out of town the last two days, just got in a couple of hours ago, and saw this post. Very interesting, Chris. Thanks for the info.

A few things that have come up in the comments beg for response:

1) The income tax is not unconstitutional. The ability to tax incomes was given to Congress in the 16th Amendment, which reads "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration." I'm sure Rachel has some conspirazoid reason why the 16th Amendment is invalid, but that's nonsense.

2) "Taxes enable the system that generates wealth and high incomes." There is no economist--none at all, of any political persuasion--who will agree with this. Taxes may indirectly facilitate wealth creation, if the government uses tax revenues in a way that produces something. That's a rarity, however. Most of the time, taxes destroy wealth rather than creating it.

3)"Remember the double digit inflation at the end of the Reagan years?" No, and neither do you. Inflation has not hit double digits since the Carter administration.

Jodie said...

I misspoke.

Inflation hit almost 15% in the middle of the Carter administration. A delayed reaction to the Nixon yrs, the Vietnam war and the rapid rise in oil prices.

Sounds familiar? We should see the same thing soon enough.

Carter did say something interesting in a speech he made trying to encourage America to get back on its feet:

"In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities, and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption."

And they hadn't even invented the PC, MTV or the SUV yet.

But he was right that when he took office he inherited a nation that felt beat. But by the time he left office, he left a nation that was longing to get back in the driver's seat. So much so that we blamed him for not kicking Iran's butt over the hostage thing.

Whoever comes to office in Jan 09, they will be inheriting a bigger mess than Carter had by an order of magnitude or two.

Jodie said...

And the mess just got... worse?...

Thank you, Republicans.

Presbyman said...

One important thing we need to remember when discussing taxation is that federal income taxes are only part of the picture. Payroll taxes (Social Security, Medicare, etc) are a much greater burden for low and moderate income people ... or even middle class families like mine! Because of having two children and another dependent living with us (my mother in law) we pay no income tax. But believe me, we do pay a lot of tax via the payroll tax. That is a very regressive tax that kicks in with your first dollar earned and then ceases at over $100,000.

I should have opted out when I had the chance. Oh well.

Rev'd Chris Larimer said...

I'm with you on that, John! Obama's plan includes expanding those taxes. Granted, something needs to be done to reduce the number of people who count on entitlement programs. I think it would be easier to provide incentives to get OFF the kitty, then it would to tax more wealth to pay for people on the kitty.

Craig said...

It's a great idea to give a tax reduction to people who don't pay taxes anyway. So let's look at what BHO actually says. I listened to about 5-10 minutes of his speech in MI today (10/2) and learned the following.

First, BHO lied about McC's record of trying to improve congressional oversight of the financial system

Second, we (I assume he means the federal govt.) are going to do the following if he is elected.
a) Spend 150 billion on wind/solar/biuofuels
b) Provide funding for automakers to retool their plants to build different types of vehicles
c) Fund R&D for automakers and other private (publicly owned) buisnesses
d) lower capitol gains taxes on small buisnesses (appearantly it will be good for small buisness, but not good for large ones, which seems to be govt discrimination)
e) open plants to produce ???
f) recruit new teachers and increas salaries
g) "pick up the tab" for people with serious illnesses
h) make (insurance companies) stop discrimination against those with preexisting conditions (which will raise insurance rates)

All of the is just a few minutes. The first question that runs through all of these things is, who's giong to pay for this. The second is, does BHO not realize that the POTUS doesn't have the power to make anyone do anything. The third is, since when is it teh governments job to open factories to produce anything.

I can't wait to hear what else BHO will do. BTW, has he given back all the money he got from Fannie?Freddie yet?