Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Taxes And Slavery

The Volt was introduced today with a price tag of around 40K. But that's OK for the person rich enough to afford one you will be helping to pay for it through deductions from your paycheck.  The wealthy person enjoys the car.  You help pay for it with taxes.

To be sure, conservatives are not against taxes. They know that roads, bridges, law enforcement, and all the other things part and parcel to a civil society are not free. But then again, all the things that are part and partial to a civil society are worth the price.  It's when you find your check getting smaller because of grand ideas and political schemes, like paying for a car you don't get to drive, that raises the conservative's ire.  

The fact is that such things are tantamount to slavery.  It's simple.  The slave works, but the plantation owner enjoys the fruit of his labor.  The slave doesn't participate in that fruit, nor does he have a say in how it is used.  Of course it's not quite as simple as the old plantation days wherein  a man's  entire being and life was enslaved.  This slavery is much easier to swallow because it happens a little at a time.

Consider that a man works for fifty years of his life.  Now consider that every year a percentage of income was confiscated; not for things that he needs and uses, but things he doesn't need, want or use... like say Chevy Volts.  In other words, someone else enjoys the fruit of his labor and he has no say in it is used.  Let's say that twenty percent of his time on the job is actually stolen from him for, say, political whims or vote buying.  That would mean that ten years of his life he was a virtual slave.  Ten years of his life has been stolen.

Someone might say that such things are democracy in action; that the majority decides how tax dollars are spent and it doesn't equate to slavery.  There's one problem with this argument.  The  actual people being enslaved by our current out of control spending can't vote.  They can't vote because they haven't been born yet. 

13 comments:

Dan said...

I mentioned in my last post that things were going on that would preclude me from blogging. One of those things is a move. We have sold our home at a great loss to us, not to you in the form of compulsory confiscation of your salary. It was a financially strategic move on our part, but nevertheless my access to a computer will be spotty in the coming week. For this reason I have enabled comment moderation. All of your comments are cherished here so please be aware should you have something to say that it may take up to a day or two for your comment to appear.


Thanks

Your humble BG administrator.

ExPatMatt said...

Hope the move goes well Dan.

In terms of the Volt and other subsidies that are available for so-called 'green purchases', are you - in principle - against any form of tax-generated subsidy for a personally purchased item (whether it be an electric car, solar panels, etc)?

I'd like to hear you expand your thoughts on this (when you have time).

Cheers,

Jeremy D. Troxler said...

Dan,

I'm not sure if it would help or not, but it might at least make someone think. Recently the credit card companies were forced to show how long, and how much it would cost to pay off credit card debt just by making minimum payments. I don't have such debt but have heard that it's shocking people into actually making more than the minimum payment and getting out of credit card debt. Information in this case gently coerced a good decision.

What if, every first pay period in October every employee in this country received an attachment to their paycheck showing what was taken out of their paycheck in federal and state income taxes with an accompanying breakdown of where that money went in terms of percentage, and a statement at the top saying something like:

"This money was taken by the government in excange for the following expenditures"

Do you think that might shock some people into making better decisions at November elections? Just a thought.

Susan said...

Boy I like Jeremy's idea!!!! That would open some eyes in a BIG hurry. Of course it will never happen.

So proud of you & Kathy makeing the decision and life change you guys are making. Many others should do likewise but very FEW will. Of course we are always in the minority..but that's ok, too.

Dan said...

Ex Pat

In a word, no. I am against ANY subsidies. But let me explain.

First, As I ponder my response to your question I am stuck by the extent to which one's definition of the word "good" determines how he sees these sorts of things. To be sure, if there was an undebatable universally accepted amongst the world's peoples definition of that word, then none of this would be an issue really, I don't think. You have the slave and master paradox where the masters of old were enriched by his slaves and no doubt thought it a good thing. Of coarse the slave had a different take.

That said, being, as it were, a part time slave, I can relate. My bottom line is that I don't think that when a person becomes a government leader, that somehow he has left the naturally human traits of self-centeredness behind and now somehow wants only what is good for the people.

Along this line of thinking I don't trust that the people making these decisions as to what is "good" were not influenced by some lobbyist who is really only interested in enriching himself and his client, and the politician too for that matter, by influencing the politician's ideas as to what is good for me to exchange hours of my life for. It's one thing to try to influence the masses to buy your wares, but why bother when you only have to influence one person who can make the decision FOR the masses. To understand the truth of this, ask yourself why the politicians don't spend the money for the masses and then send them a bill?

Furthermore however, even if the politician did have my good at heart, then who is to say that his idea of what is good is correct and true? Again, the person getting the subsidy, which is free money for him, no doubt would think it good. The person selling to him the item for an artificially low price would surely think so too, not to mention the politician who's campaign coffers are stuffed with the seller's, and rich environmentalist's money. But I, who expended my hours of life so that they would not have to expend theirs to bring this all about, think it not so good lest perhaps I would have donated personally and by free will toward their transaction.

The free market is based on this very concept of good and man's capability of being it. In such a system the Volt would stand or fall on its own merit as it pertains to the masses who will make the individual and free choices as to whether it is worth the hours of labor they expend in exchange for it.

Dan said...

Jeremy

I agree that credit card companies are a from of slavery but it is slavery by choice. The government is running up its own credit card bill that is enslaving us all, that is one thing, but on an individual level many by free choice are putting themselves into bondage. Until laws are passed and items are put on our personal credit cards by third parties without our consent, kind of like our sky rocketing governmental debt, I would consider credit card debt more of a indentured servitude.

There's a lot to be said about payroll deduction. I'm not sure if the itemized expenditure would work to help thwart government waist, but I have no doubt whatsoever that if everyone had to sit down and write monthly checks to their different levels of government, the gulf might well have long ago been brown, but with tea!

ExPatMatt said...

Dan,

Thanks for the response.

I can certainly understand your position of not wanting someone to decide for you/everyone what is and is not worthy of subsidy (based on how well-lobbied the given issue is, of course).

That's fine as there's always the question: what if the government decide that the tobacco industry needs a subsidy, or the porn industry, or private arms manufacturers; various people would take issue with these base don their own personal preferences.

I would have a difficult time arguing against that position.

Interestingly enough, we just had a lunchtime session at work where a guy was presenting some innovations in electric vehicle technology - very interesting stuff - and the Volt was mentioned as an example.

Would you agree that it is a good (ha! there's that word again!) idea to move towards electric, rather than fossil-fuel based, vehicles over the coming decades?

A pleasure, as always.

Dan said...

The problem Ex Pa, as I see it with electric vehicles-and my ignorance on the subject may surface here-is that electric cars only give the illusion of green. The problem of toxic batteries by the millions becoming our newest environmental catastrophe aside, the electrons with which we would fill our tanks would have to be motivated somewhere, and that somewhere would in most cases be coal fired electric plants.

Still, all that said, who, besides Islamic terrorists and those who are in the fossil fuel business, can disagree that clean energy is a good thing? But then again so is a Utopian society, with that even the terrorists and oil men wouldn't disagree.

It is my prediction that fossil fuels will become increasingly difficult to obtain and process which will in turn drive up costs which will in turn make the electric car eventually an idea that needs no gov. subsidy but rather will provide gov. revenue; which in turn will come in handy to pay the interest on the costs incurred by those who were not willing to wait on the free market.

Joe said...

I, for one, want an electric car...just as soon as someone invents one that will go 600 miles at 70 mph on one charge, could be charged in 5 minutes or less (like filling the gas tank), be air conditioned, have power steering and power brakes, have a 5 CD player in front and a DVD player in the back, hold 5-6 people on plush seats and has batteries that did not require carbon to make (the case is plastic...from oil), did not present a recycling problem and did not require coal fired electricity producer for the sockets into which they would be plugged.

But I would not drive it if it had to be underwriten by the government.

Jeremy D. Troxler said...

Dan,

You're right of course regarding personal choice vs. unabashed seizure. The illustration was given only to bring out the possiblity of making people aware of what is being taken and for what purpose. I have no doubt, by the way, that it would help thwart government waste (help to some degree anyway). I see it as the only way right now to get anywhere close to a line item vote. Right now monies go out as add-ons or are tagged on before passage or attached to completely unrelated bills to hide what is being done. If what is being spent is completely in the light for all to see (line by line) then just the appearance of accountability would definately have an effect. Whether or not voters do their part would then become the pertinant question.

In terms of the taxation question, our founders had some pretty specific ideas about what could and could not be taxed didn't they? It's amazing how convoluded things become. It's much like the national debt and running at a deficit. George Washington said the only legitimate reason for going into debt as a nation was to fund a war (because it protects all our freedoms and our very existence); with the caveat that that debt (only allowed in time of war, for the purpose of executing the war effort) be expunged as quickly as possible at the end of the conflict. That was not to get off topic, just to suggest that maybe all of us should spend some time reading the founders and their original concept of the very nature and function of taxation and what they considered as legitimate in that area as well.

Good luck with the move and I hope the rest of your 2010 settles down. Blessings.

Fredd said...

To expand Jeremy's suggestion (disclosure as to where their taxes go line by line, much like county property tax bills in some jurisdictions):

Eliminate state/fed/FICA/Medicare/etc withholding from employee paychecks. Mandate that each and every April 15th, each tax payer simply write the various governments a check for taxes due. Then watch how fast the tax code is dumped upon demand by a bunch of shocked and angry tax payers waving torches and pitchforks.

El Cerdo Ignatius said...

Dan, your points are well made and well taken. Passing off current consumption and government spending onto future generations is not only an economic failure but (more importantly) a huge moral failure, too.

Fredd: Yours is a good idea, but you do realize, don't you, that very few people are going to have any money left come April 15th, and the government is only going to become another (large) unpaid bill. Or perhaps that, in fact, is the whole point? Heh.

Dan said...

http://www.mrctv.org/videos/allen-west-true-racism-lies-among-white-liberals-who-think-black-conservatives-need-approval-their-masters