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My Tax Rant

I have to admit that I did not attend one of the many "tea" parties being held across the nation. Oh, I certainly agree with the main contentions, that our present tax system is not only absurd but allows government to act in a very reckless manner. While liberals and democrats might consider this mere whining at the moment, since the government is firmly in their hands, they might do well to consider how they felt when the other side ran things not so long ago, and both liberals and conservatives, democrats and republicans alike might do well to consider how seldom government is really accountable and responsible in its conduct. Should we accept threats from individuals elected to represent the people, who now do as they please with the warning that if we get in their way, things might get nasty? Is our best hope merely that we do not end up with 'someone worse', which has been the sub rosa message from both parties for quite a while now. The TEA is supposed to mean 'Taxed Enough Already', but for many of us I believe the real message was 'Tricked Enough Already', maybe taunted, maybe we should say our politicians are 'Tainted Enough Already'. We are all of us sick of the hypocrisy, the blatant lies and backroom deals. Don't tell me only party 'x' does this, we've seen it across the board for most of our lives. I do believe the republicans do this less often than the democrats, but that hardly means it's something to tolerate, much less encourage, just because "our side" is doing it. I admire and respect George W. Bush because, mistakes and all, we had an honest man in the office. Democrats claim the same thing about Barack Obama (while denying it about Bush), which I do not see, but at least we can agree that what we seek is transparency and integrity. Once we start looking at Congress, it gets difficult to find integrity. It's there all right with some members of the House and Senate, but it's clearly an endangered species on the Hill.

And that brings us back to the Tea Parties. Whether or not you think the programs included in the Stimulus and the bailouts were good or not, the plain fact is we citizens were steamrolled by them; no one really asked the people what we thought or were willing to pay for. Now, trillions of dollars have been committed to things that, good or not, do not really do a single thing to help folks save their homes, help banks offer loans more freely, or save jobs at major companies. The plans were nothing more, in practice, than politicians using crisis to advance their personal ambition and help their buddies. And that fact should really make you angry. You've been lied to and robbed, and only a great fool would pretend otherwise. That's what the protests were all about.

So why didn't I join in? First off, I'm not one to waste time on spilled milk. That money is spent, its not coming back, and history tells me that there are better ways to work for effective change than hold a rally and make noise that the politicians will either ignore or pretend is aimed at someone else. Second, it will sound cynical to say so, but there are a great many fools in the world today, willing to fall for a shiny promise or a scary story. The only way to change things is to educate people, and that is a one-on-one thing, and it takes time, patience, and a willing student. Frankly, a lot of folks are not ready for that lesson. And third, the bad thing about these protests is that folks do them and then go home and think they've done something, that they can get back to normal. You can win football games that way, but you cannot change the nation that way. This is a long fight, and we'd better be ready for what it takes to win, because right now the other side has a powerful system and a lot of force at its disposal. How many politicians are serious about tax reform? How many Senators really grasp what it means to balance raising your family, paying for your home, your kids' college, and still saving something significant for your retirement, in an environment where 'job security' is fiction, where 'financial planning' is a faraway ideal, and where 'accountable government' is an oxymoron.

My country, my money, my rights. I will defend them because I want them to be around for my children. What about you?


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Comments (39)

While liberals and... (Below threshold)
jp2:
While liberals and democrats might consider this mere whining at the moment, since the government is firmly in their hands, they might do well to consider how they felt when the other side ran things not so long ago...

Consistency is important here. The bailouts started with Bush but no one thought of "protests" then. The taxes now are lower than under Reagan and drastically lower than Eisenhower. These 3 remain untouchable Republican Saints. Due to the criticisms really only being directed during the time of Obama, when he has made very minor changes, shows what it's all about: sore losers.

The problem jp2 is not so m... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

The problem jp2 is not so much tax rates as what those taxes are spent on. You really seem to be hiding the massive spending done by Obama and the present Congress. If taxes are not raised or "rich" redefine, how WILL you pay for that 3 trillion in spending already in the pipes?

Or will you just dump that debt, plus interest, on your kids?

There is only one rational,... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

There is only one rational, non-destructive way to get out of this political cesspool, and that is to recognize that it is systemic. We have career politicians, deeply entrenched and heavily funded after 30 years in office.

The only logical solution to this problem, and it's not a new suggestion, is term limits. It's the only way we can get rid of the arrogant "You can't touch me" mentality that pervades both houses of Congress.

I don't think politicians get better with more experience. I think they get addicted to power and money.

Spend a few minutes and go look up the average net worth of the members of the Senate. How can almost all of them be multimillionaires? You want to play class politics? Start with the Senate.

Or will you just dump th... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Or will you just dump that debt, plus interest, on your kids?

Again, not something that concerned many on the right very much before Obama took office.

Anyway, what's your proposal? Cut spending, lower taxes, and pay down the deficit? Using what, magic?

Anyway, what would you like to cut? Remember that 80% of the federal budget goes to the military, medicare and medicaid, social security, veterans' benefits, and debt interest. If any on the right had an realistic plan for cutting spending (and taxes, and the deficit), we might ridicule you less and actually have a real debate. Such as it is, all we have is a bunch of random whining in twenty different directions.

Most Americans have come to terms with the fact that what we're doing now is the lesser of two evils. Until the right comes up with a proposal that doesn't involve total economic collapse or magical thinking, all the rants and tea parties in the world aren't going to do anything but rile up the ever-shrinking conservative base and convince the rest of us that you're all crackpots.

Mantis thinks everyone else... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Mantis thinks everyone else is 'crackpots'.

O, the irony.

Frankly, bug-o, I would start by repealing that porkfest that was falsely labeled a 'stimulus' bill. Almost a trillion in savings right there.

DJ - at what point did you ... (Below threshold)
jp2:

DJ - at what point did you start caring about government spending?

About when I was 9, jp2. I... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

About when I was 9, jp2. I liked Nixon's foreign policy, not so big on his domestic agenda.

When will you start noticing Obama's spending?

Mantis, why don't you put a... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

Mantis, why don't you put aside your snotty Liberal attitude every once in a while and try to look at things in non-partisan terms? These problems affect everybody, not just us poor, deluded crackpot Republicans. You add nothing to the conversation but bad manners. I can't remember the last time you posted anything even resembling a polite comment.

Jeezus. Why don't you just take your conceited ass out of here and go back to Huffington where people actually care what the hell you think?

Try looking at it this way.... (Below threshold)
Rance:

Try looking at it this way. The economy is sick and the current policy is a dose of caster oil.
You aren't suppose to like it, it's the penalty you pay for overindulgence. You hold your nose, swallow it, and try not to vomit.

About when I was 9... (Below threshold)
jp2:
About when I was 9, jp2. I liked Nixon's foreign policy, not so big on his domestic agenda.

When will you start noticing Obama's spending?

Do you have any links to works you have written regarding overspending over the last decade? I'd love to see any of them, specifically on the Bush administration.

As for me, it was impossible not to notice recent government spending as it was an important bill before the house/senate. The only problem I had with it was that it was too small. I'm under the belief that government stimulus can relieve symptoms and signs of depression/recession.

That's like charging a cred... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

That's like charging a credit card payment. You can run, but you can't hide. Eventually, you gotta pay the bill.

Stimulus spending works. It... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Stimulus spending works. It worked for the United States (WWII), Japan/Germany (post-WWII), China (Mao to now), Canada (WWI, WWII), Sweden, Korea...

In fact, could someone provide an example of a reduction in government spending actually growing the economy? It would be helpful for the sake of comparison.

Hyper you and your liberal ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Hyper you and your liberal lefty troll friends don't get it, probably because you only hang out at your disinformation sights. I am not against stimulating the economy. I am against representatives appropriating billions of dollars to banks with no strings or anything to measure the effectiveness of the spending. I am against our representatives and president appropriating a trillion dollars plus in a bill full of waste and most of our representatives did not even read the bill. This is what started the Tea Party mindset. I don't think it is a republican issue, it is past that. But the left seems to promote excessive spending and wasteful spending when they speak out against the protests. ww

Non-seqitur, Hyperbolist. ... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Non-seqitur, Hyperbolist. It's like demanding proof that not smoking means you don't get lung cancer. And then claiming that the absence of such proof means smoking is a good health choice.

Google "DJ Drummond" jp, I'... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Google "DJ Drummond" jp, I've written on just about everything worthwhile, plus things no one but me cares about.

As to spending, it depends on what you spend it on. Investing discretionary income in stocks you have carefuly considered may be wise, investing in bonds is probably safe, but spending the mortgage money on liquor and hookers is a bad idea, no matter whether you spend a little or a lot of money. And the spending of the last six months falls well into 'hooker' category for what I see.

Hey DJ - a quick search did... (Below threshold)
jp2:

Hey DJ - a quick search didn't uncover much. You don't have any idea if you wrote on the exorbitant deficit spending of the last presidency? Seems odd since you have been concerned about since age 9.

hyper - "Stimul... (Below threshold)
marc:

hyper - "Stimulus spending works. It worked for the United States (WWII), Japan/Germany (post-WWII), China (Mao to now), Canada (WWI, WWII), Sweden, Korea..."

That's your most favored "rebuttal" isn't it? What you don't understand, or what you have failed to be spoon-fed by a lefty friend or website is unemployment didn't get any better with the mass spending by FDR with one exception, and one you do acknowledge WWII.

Until the start of the war unemployment stagnated AND due to MASSIVE employment producing war related materials it increased.

Question hyper; Just how many "Rosie the Riveters" will be put to work now.

Put another way the U.S workforce during the war years reached a level never seen before and will be seen again.

Not to put too fine a point on it but... you're clueless.

Mantis thinks everyone e... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Mantis thinks everyone else is 'crackpots'.

Could you try responding to what I actually write, instead of what I write in your imagination, perhaps?

I would start by repealing that porkfest that was falsely labeled a 'stimulus' bill. Almost a trillion in savings right there.

Do you realize we spent more than half the amount of the stimulus in 2008 on interest debt alone? Do you know that federal taxes as a percentage of the GDP are lower than they've been since 1950?

Basically, you're saying that there is no serious thinking behind your positions. Repeal the stimulus? That's the grand plan to right the economy and deal with the national debt? What comes after Phase 1?

Mantis"Do you real... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Mantis

"Do you realize we spent more than half the amount of the stimulus in 2008 on interest debt alone? Do you know that federal taxes as a percentage of the GDP are lower than they've been since 1950?"

And if we follow Obama's path in just 4-8 short years (probably closer to 4) we will be spending 2+ times as much. Once inflation hits wait until you see what the debt servicing bill is going to be.

As far as "the plan" - let the banks and other businesses fail that arent profitable. Their business will be picked up by businesses that are. Yes painful in the short run but much more finacially sound in the long run.

At some point in time our "... (Below threshold)
Prairie:

At some point in time our "public servants" became so called Leaders. No longer are they doing what the people want, they have decided they know best.

"Anyway, what's your propos... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"Anyway, what's your proposal? Cut spending, lower taxes, and pay down the deficit? Using what, magic?"

Well the first EASY place to start is NOT giving "tax refunds" to those who paid NO tax. At least be honest and call it what it is, WELFARE.

Then we can start cutting funding by eliminating pork projects. I'm sure every state has 'a bridge to nowhere'. You start counting the dollars and soon enough it will end up as BIG MONEY.

Well DJ, after 300 or so fo... (Below threshold)
epqdor:

Well DJ, after 300 or so folks rallied in our small town, they sat down in a local restaurant and got started organizing for the future. Not organizing for more protests, but for the future and elections.

Good on you, epqdor (should... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Good on you, epqdor (should that be epador?). I ran into too many people who thought signs and chants on one day in a park would do the job.

I've already been called out by someone up the food chain for not being a cheerleader on this event, but I call em as I see em. Doesn't make me popular, but at least I can look myself in the mirror, unlike some Messiahs I can think of.

Not to put too fine a po... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Not to put too fine a point on it but... you're clueless.

marc, do you really think your judgment of cluelessness has any validity anymore?

As far as 'did anyone compl... (Below threshold)
RicardoVerde:

As far as 'did anyone complain about Bush's TARP' I believe I did as did many conservative/libertarian bloggers. The only thing that kept me from going ballistic over the thing was the way it was presented. The original idea was for the government to setup a temporary holding company and actually purchase the nasty mortgages; the mortgages could later be resold as the market improved (and the holding company dissolved). That was not too much different than what was done with the S&L crisis in the eighties, and it would minimize the 'gubmint' interference in the private sector. But that ain't what happened. Now the government is effectively running car companies and banks. Obama has loads of training and experience at that I'm sure.

Most of the driving force behind this 'stimulocust' spending is the desire to redistribute or reparate or indulge the sense of envy. My kids and grandkids will have to pay for it.

brian - "marc, do you r... (Below threshold)
marc:

brian - "marc, do you really think your judgment of cluelessness has any validity anymore?"

In comparison to you... by a country mile.

"The only way to change thi... (Below threshold)

"The only way to change things is to educate people..."

Holding public protests is a good way to begin the educational process, to pique curiosity, to plant the seeds that will grow to become serious interest.

For the participants, the process becomes an opportunity to share ideas and boost morale. Admittedly, it's a small part of the greater effort.

"How many Senators really grasp what it means to..."

They won't know if we sit at home licking our wounds. Not everyone reads blogs.

In comparison to you... ... (Below threshold)
Brian:

In comparison to you... by a country mile.

All evidence to the contrary.

By the way, I thought about... (Below threshold)
RicardoVerde:

By the way, I thought about it a bit today and it hit me about the tax "reduction" that Obama promised for 95% of us. If the tax tables have been lowered such that we get pay $30 every other week that amounts to $780 for the year. I believe that I received a rebate check last year for something like $875. My democrat friends say there is another part of the tax reduction to come but it's something like $200 so it is possible that I will actually pay less tax this year, but as it stands right now I will pay more. I asked around at work and most folks got $1,200 last year and the $15 a week so it's a done deal that they will pay more taxes this year not less.

> I'm not one to waste t... (Below threshold)
Arthur:

> I'm not one to waste time on spilled milk. That money is spent, its not coming back, ...

But it hasn't been spent yet. Most of it. So much of that stimulus bill, the omnibus bill and god-knows-what in the budget are programs that don't even kick off for years and years. There's something we can do about those programs. Repeal!

2010 is only a year away.

Ref unemployment dropping d... (Below threshold)
Arthur:

Ref unemployment dropping during WW2. There was a little govt. program called The Draft. Millions and Millions of men were called into military service - that's what cured the perpetual unemployment levels of the 1930s.

author - "Ref unemploym... (Below threshold)
marc:

author - "Ref unemployment dropping during WW2. There was a little govt. program called The Draft. Millions and Millions of men were called into military service - that's what cured the perpetual unemployment levels of the 1930s.

My point exactly, millions of men if the military including some that were disabled and did military work stateside, plus millions of women and even kids that are prohibited to work full-time under todays laws ALL were gainfully employed.

These facts are what simpletons like hyperbolist ignore or are not aware of when they make the claim FDR's spending programs worked.

They didn't and his own non-tax cheating Treasury Sec said so himself in 1939.

marc: from the standpoint o... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

marc: from the standpoint of economics, America could build the same number of tanks and planes as it did during the Second World War and then dump them all in the ocean for the sole purpose of creating jobs. Do you think it matters what the products are used for? World War II was a make work project, economically speaking, and it worked. Whether strategic goals were also achieved is a separate political/moral question. Thankfully it was a worthwhile endeavour both economically and politically/morally speaking.

As for FDR's pre-war stimulus coming up short, any Keynesian will tell you that the Blue Dogs of the 1930s managed to convince FDR to short the stimulus, and thus it didn't have the desired effect. Had he spent the amount economists were telling him to, the economy would have recovered much more quickly.

Bullshit.... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Bullshit.

> My point exactly, mill... (Below threshold)
Arthur:

> My point exactly, millions of men if the military including some that were disabled and did military work stateside, plus millions of women and even kids that are prohibited to work full-time under todays laws ALL were gainfully employed.

Arrrgh. That may be your point, but it wasn't mind. The draftees were exactly being paid a living wage - more like $10-20 a month. But they were no longer part of the labor pool. Either they had been looking for work (unemployed) or they were working and somebody had to be hired to replace them. That's what reduced the unemployment rate - the artficial, unsustainable reduction in the work force due to the draft.

After WW2, much of America's industrial competition was in ruins so that's when the economic boom took off.

Hoover ran the US into a Depression, but it took FDR to make it Great.

Made some typos.Re... (Below threshold)
Arthur:

Made some typos.

Replace mind with mine. "Draftees were" with "Draftees weren't".

DJ--really? Why?Re... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

DJ--really? Why?

Replace "tanks and aircraft" with "light rail infrastructure" and "updated electrical grid" (or whatever your pet infrastructure projects may be) and you have the potential to mobilize a work force in the same way that occurred during WWII.

Sure, some people will call it "wasteful", but then a sizeable portion of FDR's political opponents believed--up to December 1941--that fighting Hitler was a waste of time and money. In hindsight, it made sense morally and economically to join the war in Europe.

The New Deal and NRA had pl... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

The New Deal and NRA had plenty of infrastructure projects...
Hyper, where is my BEER?

"...both liberals and co... (Below threshold)
Jake:

"...both liberals and conservatives, democrats and republicans alike might do well to consider how seldom government is really accountable and responsible in its conduct."

Totally agree with the point, I'm just laughing at the hypocrisy. When it's an issue that you agree with, then we want accountability. When it's an issue (like torture) that you disagree with, the other side is just partisan hacks. I suppose this is human nature then.




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