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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Where are the parents?

Every time I see a child running around a store knocking things off shelves or bothering patrons in a restaurant, I ask “Where are the parents?”.  Why aren’t you teaching your children respect for others and their property?  That’s your responsibility.

Every time I hear of an unattended child dying in a pool, bathtub or hot car, I ask “Where are the parents?”.  Why did you leave your child in a potentially unsafe situation?  If your child isn’t old enough to be responsible in a particular situation and no other adult acknowledges and accepts that responsibility, then you are responsible.

Every time I hear of a child finding a gun at home and shooting someone, I ask “Where are the parents?”.  Responsible gun ownership includes securing firearms from children who shouldn’t have unsupervised access to them.

When I heard that schools increasingly have to call authorities to deal with students, I ask “Where are the parents?”.  Parents have a responsibility to teach children to behave, to motivate them to attend school, to see that homework is done, to attend any teacher conferences, and to get them medical help if they need it.

There’s that annoying word “responsibility” again and again.  Forget the liberal “It takes a village”.  It takes responsible parents to raise a child.  If you think parental responsibility for a child ends at birth do everyone a favor and don’t have children.

We have seen “the village” and don’t like it.  It was called the Soviet Union.

“Unless you can point your finger at the man who is responsible when something goes wrong, then you have never had anyone really responsible.”

That quote by the late Admiral H. G. Rickover, the “Father of the Nuclear Navy”, points to Department heads and upper management.  There seems to be an epidemic of “Not me!”, “They did it”, “I didn’t know” and so on in Washington these days.  Where does the buck stop?

Department heads and managers must be knowledgeable of and responsible for the actions of their departments.  If someone buys a thousand bucks worth of unneeded office supplies it’s low level stuff, but if someone mismanages millions of taxpayer dollars, violates the legal rights of people or organizations, or gets people killed then that someone and possibly his or her immediate boss should lose their jobs.  Why was no one fired when the State Dept. failed to protect the embassy in Benghazi, or the Justice Dept.’s “Fast and Furious” operation sold weapons to drug cartels, or the IRS targeted conservative political groups?

To paraphrase John Donne, “ask not at whom the finger points, it points at you”.

2016 Update:  Why were no EPA officials or EPA contractors fired after polluting the Animas River with millions of gallons of toxic mine waste?  Heavy metals that settle out on the bottom will be there for a long time.

 

Every yin has it’s yang: rights and responsibilities.

Your rights end where mine begin because you are responsible to respect my rights.

Everyone talks about rights, Constitutional rights, legal rights, and even informal rights.  Responsibilities, well, not so much.  The word “responsibility” seems to convey a sense of burden.  Responsibilities are everywhere, a natural part of life, so get used to it.  If you are a citizen you have the right to vote.  You also have a responsibility to vote and to do so in an informed manner.  If you give up this right, i.e., fail in this responsibility, you have no business complaining when you don’t like what the government is doing.  I vote in every election: national, state, and local.  Percentagewise your vote counts more locally than nationally yet local elections tend to have lower turnouts.  Don’t ignore your community.

The US was built by people who accepted responsibilities and it won’t be sustained by those who shirk them.

The Freedom Triangle

Our heritage is defined not by the term “democracy” but by the broader term “freedom”.  Those terms are not synonymous.  Democracy is one part of three that have kept us strong and free.
Democracy is that part of freedom that allows citizens to vote for their leaders instead of taking orders from a dictator, monarch, or cleric.  It’s necessary but not sufficient.
The second part of freedom is a defined set of rights that protect citizens from government excesses.  You could remove the entire Bill of Rights (that’s the first ten amendments folks) from the Constitution and still have a democracy, but you wouldn’t be free.  Government officials could censor your speech, outlaw your religion, search your home at will, seize your property, or charge you with a crime and keep trying you until the prosecution got the verdict it wanted.
The third part of freedom is responsibility.  It starts with being an informed voter, but it really means that citizens take responsibility for their own lives and their country’s future.  Those who signed the Declaration of Independence, pioneered westward, farmed the soil, built our industries and universities, ended slavery, and defended freedom in many wars all took responsibility.  You can’t hand your life over to “the system” without also surrendering some of your freedom.
The triangle is strong, but it’s not invulnerable.