Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Why Tax Cuts Aren't a 'Cost', and Why a 'Robin Hood Government' Deserves Our Support

 I keep seeing this chart pop up, and I've got some problems with it. It implies that George Bush was a way bigger spender than President Obama, although 1) it compares Bush's full 2 terms to Obama's (almost) first term. If you take that into consideration, Obama's well on his way to outspending Bush. 2) You can't count tax cuts as 'new costs'. It's true that drastic cuts should have accompanied these tax cuts, but they were not 'new costs'. To say tax cuts are a cost is to imply that the government owns all of our money, and is really only lending it to us. That's not how our system works. When you take out the big tax cut chunk from the Bush column, you get a clearer picture of how it is. Also, where's Libya on this chart?
I am a committed liberal, but this is a losing strategy. If we have to misconstrue information to win elections, we're lost (at least morally). Saying 'Bush did it too!' and finding a way to make it look like he did it more doesn't address the issue.
The correct way to address the issue would be to ask what Bush spent money on. Was it worthwhile? Was it better or worse than what President Obama is spending money on? President Obama has spent a lot of money. He is putting a down payment on a working welfare state, and it's a worthwhile investment. He's spent the money on the 'it's easier to ask forgiveness than get permission principle', and is now looking for ways to offset the cost of the infrastructure he has invested in. As far as considering tax cuts a 'cost': it's dishonest. Taxes are monies collected from citizens by force; if you don't give the money that is demanded of you, you go to jail, and the government takes things away from you. People work for money, and the electorate--through the government--demands a certain amount of it to pay for things it wants or needs. It's a messy system we have, and it's a system that will always have victims. We should try to limit the amount of victimization that occurs, but if there has to be some victimization, liberals--like me--are of a mind that it's better to take more from people who have more to give than from people who have less (or nothing) to give. The most educated and wealthy among us voted for Obama more often than not in the last election, so we can take that as at least a tacit endorsement of this kind of redistribution. Even if this group didn't vote the way it did, pluralists and democrats (big D) should support this model. If we are truly going to give everyone in this country a fair shot, we have a lot of inequality to make up for. A true meritocracy would make sure that everyone in the game is playing by the same rules, and that competition--a guiding principle of our nation--would be fair.
So, tax cuts aren't a cost, because the money didn't start off in government hands. Taxes are taken, and taxes should be taken. Some folks should give more. It is also moral--and in everyone's self interest--to ensure that competition occurs on a level playing field, and that everyone who lives in our society is offered a shot at self actualization. This is the ultimate goal of a free society; not everyone will achieve this goal, but if we're serious about it, we'll make sure there are as few barriers in everyone's way as possible.

14 comments:

Willie Y said...

Welcome back Spencer. When Warren Buffett's secretary pays more in taxes then he, there is something wrong.

Corsair491 said...

If you allow for a Robin Hood style government, then you have no morale ground to stand on, when the government wants to do or take from other groups. If you allow for unequal application of law in one instance, you have allowed it everywhere. If Buffets secretary pays more in taxes than he, and you are upset at that, then shouldn't you be argueing for a flat tax, no deductions tax system. Instead of let's take it from them because "I say they have to spare and won't miss it". Since you are willing to take from those that have too much, let's make the people on welfare pick crops for their welfare checks, they have lots of time they aren't using, who really needs two kidneys, the government should be able decide who gets all those spare kidneys. In fact some people (according to the government) are more important than others, let's use those less important people for spare parts. Who decides where the line is drawn. The laws should be applied EQUALLY. A government based on a group of people screaming take it from them because I want it and they have it is not a system which fosters peace, security, or good will. Yes, taxes have become an unfortunate neccessity, usage taxes such as excise taxes on gas and tires make sense. Sin taxes on alcohol, cigarrettes and others, especially when they the government claims to want you not to use the products but have become addicted to the money from them, these do not make sense. Also, the government does not deserve a dime of an estate just because someone dies. Nor does it makes sense for one person to make a dollar and pay no taxes, and anothers persons pay 60 cents out of each dollar he makes. I know you are now saying no one pays that rate because they hide money, have out rages deductions and shelters. Then let's get rid of the argument completely and if you make a buck, the fed gets a dime. That way if Warren Buffet makes $10,000,000 he pays $1,000,000 in taxes and his secretary that makes $50,000 pays $5,000. All can budget, plan, and taxes for most can be done on a post card, the IRS can be cut to a minimum and there would be no reason to hide money and every reason to try and make more. Plus, everyone is the same under the law.

Corsair491 said...

Also, isn't it funny that when a person sticks a knife to your throat and demand money it's robbery, when he has his government representative do it, it's taxes.

the elegant ape said...

dude, you're back. Thank goodness you were screwing up my morning routine.

O.K....Taxes are a necessary evil. At this point in time the federal is at historic lows.Federal revenue comes primarily from taxes, including income, Social Security and excise taxes. This revenue total is projected to claim just 14.9 percent of gross domestic product in 2009. The last time federal revenue crept below 15 percent of G.D.P. was in 1950.

If you and your wife have decent jobs bring home together around 120 grand a year counting state and local and federal taxes you are taxed at a rate of around 27%.
If you break that six figure and step into the seven figure range your rate drops to around 2%.
The top 5% of control seventy two percent of all wealth in the country. And we are going to cut social safety net programs? These programs have been funded. If the money put aside for social security, medicare and Medicaid would be solvent. Money has been pulled from these funds and spent without discretion for years.
GE paid not federal taxes last year. Through a serious of tax write-offs, shelters, and other financial shenanigans, the parent company of FOX News, News Corp., actually turned a profit on their income taxes during the past four years.
The tax code is written for the purpose to shield income of the people who support those who are elected. You will never see a flat tax. You will never see a level playing ground. Throughout time immemorial the existing power structure benefits the money classes. If it be the monarchy,church or elected Representatives the story never alters from the set script.
The defense budget if one takes into account associated agencies run one trillion dollars a year.
A trillion dollars pouring down a hole in the ground. And the priority is cutting medicare benefits?
I am a little suspicious of the Tea party's new found fiscal concerns. Under george the lesser there were two wars off the books, a huge top end tax cut and staggering giveaway to the pharm companies as well as thew total deregulation of the banking and financial systems.
There is a six billion drilling incentive that is given to the oil companies who are pulling in profits never before seen on in the history of the planet. The attempt to remove this was block by the tea party wing of the house of Representatives. If you can't pull a mere six billion...well, the new boss is the same as the old boss.

Willie Y said...

I wasn't saying rob from the rich all I was saying was they should pay their fair share.

Corsair491 said...

If someone is wanting to be fiscally responsible, it does not matter why or how they got there, enjoy the fact they are there and if at some point the reason becomes apparent then worry. We can argue forever about where the government wastes money, and yes there is waste on the military side but I can argue about about waste on the social services side from those who should not be on and those who abuse the system also lots of programs that shouldn't even exist. Since it is not a perfect world, this world with out a strong US military would probably cost more money and more lives. While you believe it is impossible to have a flat tax, the idea is gaining numbers rapidly and is being discussed more and more. There has been no other system that eliminates as many peoples concerns on both sides. Yet those that bemoan loop holes and shelters the most are the most rigid against it. There are several countries that have tried a flat tax and so far it has improved the government take, improved the economies and made the government focus on the true needs of the country. So far the optimimum flat tax rate seems to be around 12%. Yes the government does not want a flat tax because it takes away power, and that is a major reason why the poeple should want it.

I do not mean anything insulting by this statement but the first thing that needs to be done is not use subjective words like "fair" and "share". Fair is everyone making $200,000 a year in a job they love with a six bedroom, 5 bath house located where the temperature never exceeds 85 degrees and it only snows on grass Christmas Eve, unfair is a sperm lucky drunk who leaves a girl to die in his car at the bottom of a river while he goes home to sober up and he keeps getting elected and is "respected" as some sort great humanitarian. As long as the goal is fair, we will not be a free society. We need to be striving for equal opportunity, equal availabilty, and most importantly, equality under the law. The current tax system is one of the most unequal sytems filled with loop holes to try to control the masses and take care of friends with deep pockets. As long as this type of system is allowed, there will always be those who get an advantage, those who do stupid things just to get a tax credit and those who only take from the system instead of helping. If everyone pays the same rate then the if the governement wanted more money, all they would have to do is promote business growth, employment and put more tax payers making more money into the system. The best way to make that happen would be to get the government out of the way (obviously watch for environmental concerns, monopolies and others). If these things were done the government wouldn't need as much money because there would be less people needing it and resources could then be used to help those who truly need.

Basically if it is fair for one persons share to be a certain percentage, then it is fair for everyone. Allowing any group to treated differently for ANY reason does not promote justice.

the elegant ape said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
the elegant ape said...

If you hold the hope that there will be a fair and equitable tax system.

Good for you.

If you feel that the true waste and fraud in the tax system is in social programs.

Rock on.

If you truly feel that there is a difference in tone, direction and basic philosophy of the existing government and the top one percent.

Stupendous.

If you don't feel that we live under a oligarchical kleptocracy. Then I got a bunch of government bailed out with a blank check worthless bundled failed mortgages and financial derivatives that I would love to sell you...

Corsair491 said...

I have hope in the people of this country.

I have hope for the future.

I believe there is waste in every aspect of government spending, I do not focus on one. Only a complete and unbiased accounting will determine where waste is the greatest.

I believe the tax system is an unequal application of law and allows for abuse, punishment, and control.

I do not know who the top 1% is, and do not care. There is 99% more that can do a great deal.

I feel we live in a Republic that is being mislead by the very representatives we elect, the media with whom the bias knows no shame.

I believe if more people actually tried to address problems with solutions rather than villify and obstruct, we can fix things faster.

Lodo Grdzak said...

New look looks good!

Willie Y said...

We are slowly but surely becoming a second rate country. The people who run the goverment have too many money gods to bow down to. The tea party was a good idea but they are working the hardest to bring the middle class down and they don't even realize it. When your pushing to make it harder to live for the people who need the help the most, something is very wrong. We are drowning in a large pit of ideological bullshit and we are going down for the third and last time. I am losing hope.

the elegant ape said...

Useful idiot .....
Term invented in Soviet Russia to describe people who blindly supported the likes of Lenin and Stalin while they committed atrocity after atrocity.


Gut medicare and Medicaid. Slash social security. The need and cost does not disappear because the program serving the need does..
I have spent the last fifteen years working in ERs. Even in that short time the number of working uninsured has exploded. Now since you can't shoot them(yet) or lecture them on how if they worked harder and didn't place a unfair burden on the social safety net we could free up more money for drilling incentives as well as a 104 acre embassy in Iraq (larger then the Vatican. Which in about five years will be housing goats)

This cost has to be absorbed. We are now at the tipping point with the baby boom generation. Most hospitals in large urban centers almost without exception are on the verge of collapse due to uncompensated costs. Where are you going to cut costs? Docs? Your in school for ten years, carry on a average of 800 pt.s on your practice. Nurses? Who in their right mind would be a nurse today?
More pt.s, more hours, less benefits and pay. But by all means lets protect the status quo. Keep the tax rate at 15% or hell lets lower it.
We are at the abyss now. Lets not even include the infrastructure or the power grid which teeters on the verge every time the thermometer breaks ninety.

I am sick to death of all this mewling and whining. (taxes too high,Obama is a Nigerian socialist and we can't allow him to raise the debt limit..(raised 17 times under Reagan who tripled the Gross Federal Debt, from $900 billion to $2.7 trillion, doubled the size of government and raised taxes during his administration nine times.)

Following WWII the percent of debt was roughly 120% of GNP. Today it stands at forty. This conservative fantasy that by capping or reining in costs of the social safety net is somehow going to returns to 1950's prosperity is a dangerous and delusional fantasy.

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more. The time has come..

Corsair491 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Corsair491 said...

Since my last post disappeared, let me restate the high points.

The only talk of cuts is to get rid of waste and fraud which would free up more money to be placed where needed. While the article is about a Robin Hood style tax system and I am proposing a flat tax with no deductions which history shows economic growth, more people experience higher wages, less people needing government help, MORE money to the government and most importantly everyone is treated equally under the law.

Each issue, each program, each dollar spent must be looked at seperately and dealt with individually. It would seem the first thing that must be addressed is reworking the tax system so the governments take is more consistant and allows the economy to grow, but also treats everyone as many of the founding documents and federalist papers dictate, as equals. A growing economy will create more tax payers, people making more money will increase the government take. So if you are for waste, fraud and the government being able to punish people based on some real or manufactured grouping, then the government is doing a great job for you.