Tax And Destroy

Everyone has heard the famous quote “the power to tax involves the power to destroy” from Chief Justice John Marshall in an 1819 Supreme Court ruling that states could not tax the Federal government.  What about government use of taxation against the people it’s supposed to be working for?  What is that destroying?

For much of US history, taxes were collected to fund essential government services such as national defense, border security, law enforcement, public infrastructure, education, and resource conservation.  In fact Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said “taxes are what we pay for civilized society”.  Progressives have changed that through taxation for wealth redistribution and “social engineering”.  Social engineering typically involves the use of punitive taxes to discourage “wrong behavior” as defined by some omniscient Big Brother.  I’ll start with punitive taxation.

Billionaire Mike Bloomberg is pouring millions of dollars into local efforts to impose a punitive tax on sugary sodas.  OK, they’re not particularly healthy, but where does that process end?  Under the influence of UN Agenda 21 Denmark is seriously considering a tax on meat.  Once the USDA includes sustainability in diet recommendations it won’t be long before progressives want taxes on meat, and eventually dairy products.  This is about controlling people, and more control equals less freedom.  Eventually the only choice progressives will allow is for an abortion.  Bloomberg also pours millions into local gun control efforts, some of which include punitive taxes on guns and ammunition.  No ammo tax will ever stop a street gang, psychopath, disgruntled worker, or jihadist from unleashing mayhem.  What it will do is hurt honest shooting sports participants, particularly those involved in competitive target shooting.  It takes thousands of hours and probably close to a million rounds to reach Olympic level competitor status.  It’s those honest achievers who will be hurt, not the criminal who loads a “Saturday night special” to rob a convenience store.

(Hey Mike, why don’t you ever ask for more taxes on billionaires?)

President Obama wants a ten dollar per barrel tax on oil, even though it would raise prices of gas and heating oil and could send the economy into recession.  This is a punitive tax to punish those who insist on using fossil fuels.  As I pointed out in “Alternative Energy: The Missing Link”, however, we don’t have the technology to convert to renewable fuels overnight.  How many cities are 100% powered by renewable energy 24/7?  The answer is none.  How many all-electric vehicles have a 500 mile cruising range, or even a 100 mile range that can recharge during a 5 minute rest stop?  Again the answer is none.  An all-electric vehicle is a great choice for commuting from the suburbs to the city but would you want to set out to “see the USA” in one?  Incidentally if that electric vehicle doesn’t recharge from a renewable source it isn’t fully “green”.  He claims that the tax revenue would be used for research, and while some might be, some of it might also be used for global wealth redistribution.

So, what about wealth redistribution?  Within the US wealth redistribution is accomplished through various welfare programs and a widely abused tax credit program called EITC.  If you read my proposal for the ISIC welfare reform program you’ll know that I’m not opposed to welfare as a hand up for the unfortunate or as assistance for those who are unable to fully support themselves due to disability.  When children are starving in spite of school meal programs, SNAP, and WIC, however, something in the system isn’t working.  When a person who is fully capable of working decides to live off the labor of others and then jokes about it on social media welfare fraud has gone too far and reform is past due.  That’s an insult to every working family that’s struggling to support itself.  I’m also opposed to allowing foreigners to enter the US and immediately land on extended welfare.  Traditionally our immigration policy only admitted honest healthy people who were capable of supporting themselves within a reasonable time frame.  See my “Immigration is a Privilege, not a Right” post for more.  Global wealth redistribution is a recent concept arising from UN Agenda 21.  Third world nations are demanding billions of dollars from developed nations to “go green” under Agenda 21 while having no intent to meet the human rights objectives specified in that agenda.  See my post “UN Agenda 21 vs the Wealthy Wimpy West” for more.  I believe that global wealth redistribution is unconstitutional.  Nothing in our Constitution allows the government to send our tax dollars overseas or be taxed by any foreign entity.

So, what are the socialist progressives destroying with social engineering and Marxist wealth redistribution?  Essentially everything that made the USA exceptional: freedom (choice, not control); individual responsibility (the flip side of the rights/responsibility coin); the value of the family, and national sovereignty.

As many have pointed out, the US will never be conquered from without, it will destroy itself from within..  Progressives/socialists are leading the charge.

2016 Update:  Not unexpected: the UN has advocated for all nations to tax sugary drinks like sodas.

Unexpected: the UN also wants taxes on 100% fruit juices.  Who wants their morning OJ taxed?  It’s past time to tell the UN that we’re a sovereign nation, and while we’ll work with them on international issues, we will not surrender our rights or our freedom to them.

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USDA to Shove UN Agenda 21 Down Your Throat.

That’s right, the next revision to the USDA dietary guidelines must include environmental sustainability, the most notable feature of which will be a “war on meat”.  The purpose of those guidelines has always been nutrition, nothing more.

Now the USDA can’t enforce these standards much beyond school lunches (which they’re already doing) but other increasingly politicized agencies have two weapons to do so, the “carrot” and the “stick”, and in this case the stick will be used.  They’ll start with a tax on sodas and sugary snacks but eventually a pound of meat will be taxed like a pack of cigarettes.  The EPA could impose restrictive rules on livestock producers to raise meat prices and drive some smaller ranches out of business.  The “war on coal” has been successful and the “war on CO2” is driving up energy prices, so why not repeat the strategy.  If any “carrots” were used it might be an incentive for us to eat bugs.  Yuck!

Wait, it won’t end there.  A war on dairy is likely as well because dairy production requires livestock, which isn’t good for the environment.  For that matter, not much humans do is good for the earth, so where does that lead?

Of course we want people to make healthy choices for their own good, but the key word is “choice”.  When every aspect of your life is dictated by progressives you’re no longer a free person.

If you think UN Agenda 21 is gone, you’re wrong.  You don’t see it because it’s pervasive, it’s everywhere, and it’s coming to your dinner table soon.

Update 2015: The USDA was stopped from this plan in 2015, however if progressives are in charge in 2020 it will happen. The UN will continue to activate for more meat for developing nations and less for developed nations. Maybe global meat redistribution is part of their global wealth redistribution.

Update 2016:  It’s happening.  Denmark is seriously considering a tax on meat, starting with beef.  The “war on meat” begins.

Choice and consequences.

The “War on Poverty” failed because it institutionalized poverty by providing a hand out instead of a hand up.  It’s flawed underlying assumption is that society is 100% to blame for poverty.  Maybe society did give some families a bad deal at some time, but you can’t undo the past, you can only look ahead.  Let’s look at how personal choices factor into continuing poverty.  Two of the biggest factors in poverty are lack of a high school education and young single parenthood, so these are our examples.

Start with a teenage boy who is considering dropping out of school.  Now if he has responsible parents they may talk him out of it, but he doesn’t so he makes a choice to drop out.  Now, with nothing to do he makes a choice to join a local gang that sells drugs and burglarizes homes.  As a consequence of that choice and his activities with the gang he’s arrested and jailed.  Several years later he’s a young man with no diploma and a criminal record angrily blaming society because he can’t get a decent job.  Society didn’t force him to make those choices, did it?

Now consider a young single mother.  She’s a mom because she and a man made a choice to have unprotected sex.  Dad isn’t in the picture because he made a choice to not be involved or to pay child support.  This is the only point at which society has some power.  It can legally force dad to pay child support, thus reducing the burden on both the mom and on society.  Maybe mom has a hard time holding a job as a consequence of her drug use.  Well, at some time she made a choice to use drugs once, use them twice, and eventually become addicted.  Again society didn’t force her to make these choices.

This is not to say society has no responsibility to help the poor; it actually has three. The first is to provide for those who are physically or mentally unable to work, because disability is not a choice. The second is to provide a hand up for those who are able to work that leads to independence from welfare through a combination of temporary support and training that leads to productive work. This approach is similar to the Individual Development Plans that schools use for special needs students, and is precisely what my ISIC plan reflects. The third is to make sure jobs are available. This is accomplished by having a strong economy with minimal wasteful overhead (e.g., government reporting), a fair and simple tax structure, an educated workforce, a supportive infrastructure, and a restored feeling that work can get you ahead in the USA. Real emotional security comes from self-reliance, not dependence on a nanny state that forces you to trade your freedom for security.

Update 2017: Although it’s common to associate bad choices with poverty a recent occurrence at a college shows that bad choices have no socioeconomic boundaries. A large group of students were celebrating in the streets. Most of them behaved but a few chose to get rowdy and destructive; in fact their destruction reached felony level. These young people will have to pay a fine and restitution but probably won’t serve jail time because they don’t have prior criminal records. Their problems, however, are just beginning. The college could kick them out, which seems appropriate if the college is serious about not tolerating destructive behavior. Even if they are allowed to continue, that felony conviction will hang like an albatross around their necks for life. Every time an employer or bank does a background check, there it will be. Career choices will become limited. Here are a few jobs that might not accept felons: jobs requiring a security clearance, jobs in the financial industry, and jobs working with children. A military or law enforcement career is off the table because felons can’t possess firearms. Recreational shooting sports will also be off limits. So here’s a group of young people who have already done far more damage to their futures than they did to the property they destroyed. That’s choice and consequence.

Pro-this, Anti-that; Whose choice is it?

Labels pigeonhole people, but we love ’em.  Let’s look at the idea of “choice” on both sides of the aisle.

Conservatives who oppose abortion on demand call themselves “pro-life”.   Unless they’re also pacifists, however, “pro-life” is too broad a term and they’re really just “anti-abortion”.  Liberals who support a woman’s right to abortion on demand call themselves “pro-choice”.  That’s too broad a use of the word choice.  They’re really “pro-choice on abortion”, hence simply pro-abortion, right?  They certainly wouldn’t call themselves “anti-life”.

Choice is a freedom word and it’s political opposite is control.  Most “pro-issue” people are actually “pro-choice” on their issue; it’s the “anti” folks who want to restrict everything they don’t like.  While liberals demand choice on abortion they’d rather control and limit choice on everything else.

We’ll start with school choice.  Why do parents line up for hours to register their children for charter and magnet schools, both of which are public schools that operate outside of the mainstream?  Why do they spend money on private schools while paying taxes for public schools?  They want a quality education, discipline, and in some cases values that reflect their own, that’s why.  They realize that “one size fits all” doesn’t work for all, that education and indoctrination are not the same thing, and that dumbing down won’t help the US compete globally.  Fundamentalist religious schools that “don’t teach science” are often used as the example against school choice, but they’re a small part of the private school sector.  Secular private schools and most church-affiliated schools have full science departments and often enviable AP programs.  Clearly many parents are “pro-school-choice”,.

People who are labeled “pro-gun” don’t want to arm anyone who doesn’t want to be armed; they just don’t want their freedom of choice restricted.  The “anti-gun” faction, however has an agenda to restrict that freedom.  Anyone who simply doesn’t like guns simply doesn’t own one.  While both sides argue over interpretation of the 2nd amendment they forget that self defense is a fundamental human right that existed long before the Constitution.

What about health care choice?  Many people can’t keep their choice of plans, doctors, or hospitals, but they can pay more because the ACA is “one-size-fits-all”.  Everyone has access to birth control whether they need it or not, but some have lost access to cancer centers that they need to stay alive.  What’s the point of having world-class treatment centers if they’re only for multimillionaires?

Labels get weirder on the immigration issue.  Except for xenophobes, the majority of people who are labeled “anti-immigration” are actually “pro-legal-immigration”.  They want the immigration process to be fair, equal, and secure for the immigrants and the nation.  Anyone who is “pro-immigration” in the sense of opening our borders to the world doesn’t understand that bringing all the starving people in the world into one country would just create one more starving country.

So, what’s your label?