It’s my money!

On my recent post, Time for refutations, we’ve gotten into quite the discussion about where our tax dollars go, centering to begin with on how I paid for my schooling and extending into government spending in general.

As you can tell right from the headline, my philosophy is reflected in thinking that the money I make through my labors is best spent by myself and not by someone in the Government Office Building downtown in Salisbury, up in Annapolis, or just down U.S. 50 in Washington, D.C. Yes, I am aware that there is a need for various government services for which I do pay taxes; in fact, that bite generally gets bigger and bigger each year as evidenced by the date Tax Freedom Day is celebrated (this year Maryland residents worked until April 28th to pay their federal and state taxes, one of the latest dates in the country.) Ironically, the stimulus checks and slower economic growth pushed the date backwards for the first time since 2003 – the year the second round of Bush tax cuts took effect. My beef is with the vast scope of government that seems to grow each year by the implementation of more government programs and market interference.

Last year I wrote a number of posts on what I considered the proper role of government and suggested changes in a number of areas which most interested me, billing it as a 50 year plan. I know that it’s going to have to be a multi-generational vision and I’m hoping to live long enough to see it come to fruition. Unlike the perception of conservatism that we’re all mean-spirited and just wish to cut government with a meat cleaver, what we’re looking for is government to maintain its proper role as dictated by the Constitution.

Let’s look at what the two major-party candidates wish to do with taxes. Barack Obama wants to continue with policies that “Final Frontier” would appreciate – taxing the “elite” (read: successful people who work hard at their businesses, large and small, and create the jobs most Americans work at) and redistributing a few crumbs here and there for “working families”, teaching them to depend further on the government handing them a check each spring. It’s a short leap from depending on government for a check to having them run much more of our lives through regulation and market interference.

On the other hand, John McCain spells out a case for maintaining the tax cuts President Bush managed to pass but which expire in the next couple years. It’s not nearly as far as I’d like, but it’s a better alternative than watching Tax Freedom Day spiral up the calendar into May or even June.

As I write this, Senator Biden is spelling out what he thinks is “the change we need” under an Obama administration. Unfortunately, that change goes in the wrong direction – it’s a change which would increase the intrusion of our federal government in our lives and our wallets.

Real change would set Americans free from the shackles of dealing with the IRS every spring and allow them to keep every dollar in their paycheck by taxing consumption instead of income.

Speaking to another of Final Frontier’s subjects, real change would allow true educational choice and end the federal incursion into our children’s schools. If states wanted to pick up the baton they would be more than welcome to; in fact some states mandate their presence in education through their respective Constitutions.

Maybe real change does come from thinking about some of those items Final Frontier went into during his  her comments. Yes, we do need highways for transportation and it’s a legitimate government use of tax dollars. But do we need to subsidize certain modes of transport while making others which are more convenient also more expensive with mandates regarding what type of fuel they can use or how efficiently they use it? Shouldn’t the person closest to the situation be able to balance the factors in his or her own head and come to an informed decision by him- or herself?

And about that cheese. Why is it that the government is in the cheese business? Farmers are more efficient than ever, and I would think that they’d want to actually grow crops instead of leaving land idle – unfortunately various incentives make it more financially worthwhile for the farmer to leave the land unproductive while they’re paid to do so. Obviously the agricultural market is a fickle thing, but I’m sure farmers who complained for years about how hard it was to make it with the low price of corn aren’t rushing to give back all those subsidies now that corn is near an all-time high price.

Finally, real change would be to get behind our military and our commander-in-chief and allow them to finish their task as they see fit. Call me a neocon, but I don’t think creating an ally in the Middle East and wiping out a large number of prospective people who would do us harm was such a bad thing. Not only that, we’re in the process of shifting our focus from Iraq to Afghanistan but we also have to think about the reawakening of that old Russian bear, one who we can’t trust any farther than we can throw. Nor should we discount the threat of China. (This issue was one thing that endeared me to Rep. Duncan Hunter as a Presidential candidate.) Unlike a Department of Education or a government contract to purchase and process “excess” cheese to support the market, defending our nation and its interests is a legitimate task given to the federal government by our Constitution. And we’ve been projecting power since the days of Jefferson, so spare me the isolationist garbage.

This is why I care so much about where my money goes and I reserve my right to question the decisions made by those who generally have been placed in power against my best judgment, or in many cases without my sayso at all. The scariest part of human nature is that “absolute power corrupts absolutely” and decades of relatively unchecked growth in what I like to refer to as “Fedzilla” has placed a lot of power in the hands of an elite unto their own, not “We The People.”

Crossposted on Red Maryland.

Author: Michael

It's me from my laptop computer.

7 thoughts on “It’s my money!”

  1. Explain to me which country in the Middle East is now more allied with us after the Iraq War than before? Iraq? You’ve got to be kidding. We blew our chance over there due to a stunning lack of diplomacy and a huge miscaluclation about the nature of the war in the first year. And it sure has done wonders for us with other Middle Eastern countries! McCain was adamantly against the Bush tax cuts (he voted against them repeatedly) until he realized that conservative voters were in favor of them. Flip, flop–isn’t that the term you guys used about Kerry? Ahh . . . what else can I tackle this morning? $10 billion a month in Iraq. Billion with a “B.” That would pay for a lot of medical care for Americans. Finally, I find it amazing that lower middle class whites continue to vote Republican. You state here that McCain wants to cut taxes for the guys who “earned” their giant salaries by working hard. Does the guy who works on Wall Street work harder than the guy mowing the lawns, building houses, the woman scrubbing toilets, cutting up chickens for Perdue? Don’t they deserve tax cuts? Shouldn’t they be able to afford health care for their kids? Shouldn’t they be able to send their kids to college? I’m sure you’ll say that the Wall Street guy is the one paying their salaries, but that is only part of the picture. The Wall Street guy takes his money from his tax cuts, puts it in an off-shore tax shelter, invests in a business that cuts costs by firing American workers and sending the jobs overseas, hires an expensive accountant to find even more tax loopholes to avoid paying his fair share, and then pats himself on the back for working so hard. I don’t begrudge people their wealth, but I find it hard to believe that the Wall Street guy deserves more attention from our government than the working class poor. Thanks for letting me rant even though you disagree with me, and just so we can get the pronouns right, I’m a she!

  2. Okay, madam Final Frontier. I’m pleased that you have cleared that portion of things up.

    You seem to equate working hard with physical labor. In my job, I don’t do a lot of physical labor but my dad did in his and I decided early in life that I did not want to do something physically demanding for a living. So I made the proper choices to avoid having such a job. What you may or may not get is that the Wall Street guy may be working 80 hours a week to stay on top of his game because he or she could be the businessperson who employs people like the guy mowing the lawn, the woman scrubbing the toilet, or building his house. (I’m assuming Jim Perdue employs the person cutting the chicken.)

    Now, insofar as tax cuts go, is it truly fair that those who pay the largest percentage of taxes don’t get the largest benefit when taxes are cut? If you follow the “from each according to their means, to each according to their needs” tenets of Marxism, at some point you’ll find that Atlas will indeed shrug. I’m not going to begrudge someone who makes more than I do getting a larger tax break, but apparently you do and it’s sad to see you having such a large dose of class envy. If there were taxation based on consumption, the Wall Street guy who has expensive tastes would pay a larger chunk of his salary while frugal people would be hit on a lesser scale.

    Now about the $10 billion in Iraq. You have a somewhat flawed analogy because much of that $10 billion a month goes to those who have volunteered to lay their life on the line and defend our nation. In return they get a large cornucopia of government benefits, which sometimes puts me in a conundrum because I do believe in smaller, less intrusive government but also support veterans.

    And given the fact that the government in Iraq can be tossed out of power at the ballot box (as opposed to Saddam Hussein ruling with an iron fist) I’d say we’ve improved things somewhat. The strategy as I see it was to surround Iran with two countries which were relatively friendly to our interests and I think it’s worked out that way to some degree.

    Since there’s been the discussion about pseudonyms in other local forums, why is it that you hide behind an assumed name? It wasn’t obvious to me you were female, so I apologize for offending you if I have by thinking you weren’t.

  3. You didn’t offend me with the pronoun, just wanted to clear it up. If you think that there will be free elections in Iraq in the near future, you are totally naive. They will be akin to the elections in Iran and Zimbabwe. If there are 150,000 soldiers in Iraq, and they make on average $2,500 a month, you do the math. Take their salaries out of the equation and we are still spending billions a month on a wasteful war. If they were home, we would still be paying their salaries and benefits, but would not be paying the other billions a month, and oh by the way, would not see the devastating deaths and injuries that have taken place due to a badly managed and poorly conceptualized war. I am not a total pacificist–I know there are times when fighting is the only answer. This was absolutely, without question, not one of those times. Last, but not least, why do you think that the Wall Street guy’s labor should be valued at 500 times the labor of the janitor? Should it be 1,000 times? 10 times? What is a comfortable number for you? Where does compassion fit into the equation (yeah, I know, gov’t should stay out of the compassion business, right? Unless it is you or your loved one who came down with a rare form of cancer that the insurance companies, ever compassionate, declare uncurable and therefore won’t pay for your experimental care). I believe that gov’t is of the people, by the people, and for the people–ALL of the people, and I profoundly believe the Republican party has forgotten that in the last 20 years.

  4. Final Frontier, In 2001 the top 1% of taxpayers paid 33.9% of all individual income taxes. Since 1990 this groups tax share has grown faster than their income. Taxpayers in the top 50% by income pay virtually all income taxes. The share of taxes paid by the bottom 50% of taxpers will fall from 4.1% to 3.6% ubder thse Bush tax cuts. The Bush tax cuts have shifted a larger share of the individual income taxes paid to higher income taxpayers. This info comes from the U.S Gov’t Treasury press release of April 2004. The Congressional Budget Office reports the same findings. Wealth envy is just a scam foisted on un-informed voters by the Democrat Party when they go out vote-pimping.

  5. dear final frontier… the cost of not getting involved in iraq would have meant more attacks on the homeland and how can you put a dollar amount on the fact that when you and your children go out, they would be endangered by the radicalism that is militant islam.

    the argument that afghanistan is the front on terror holds no water as the war to oust saddam shifted as al qaeda moved in to iraq…

    the cost of the global war on terror must be paid or we will be the only side paying through terror attacks on our own soil and the economic toll that would take… ask the airline industry after 911…

    view the world with reality as your eyeglass and not what the government can do for you and you alone.

    freedom is not free and a fair tax consumption tax allows anyone to boycott paying taxes by buying used.

    tom t

  6. Why did al Quaeda move to Iraq? Could it be possible that they moved there specifically because the U.S was there? It is pretty clearly documented that they came to Iraq after the U.S invasion. Like it or not, the U>S presence in the Middle East was viewed as an act of aggression by many Middle Easterners, and radicalized many who had not been radical before. The rantings of religious fanatics all seem a little more reasonable in the context of military strife. Proper diplomacy, backed up with strategic (not the mess we did) use of the military would have saved money, future turmoil, and most importantly, lives.

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