class warfare

Playing the Conservative Hate Card

As we near the South Carolina primaries, the media is abuzz with the drama unfolding among the Republican candidates for president, and the harsh attacks being leveled by each faction. Some see this as detrimental to the eventual Republican nominee, but I tend to disagree. In 2008, when Mitt Romney graciously stepped down and conceded to John McCain, it allowed the Republican Party to coalesce around “their man”, who promptly went on to get an Electoral College tail-whipping, losing 365-173 to a smooth-talking political neophyte with no record to speak of, but a catchy, feel-good slogan and the media on his side.

This year, make no mistake, the gloves are coming off, and the Republicans had better have a battle-tested candidate that is ready to go up against Obama. The “Hope and Change” campaign is no more, and Obama knows it. He now has a record that can be used against him, so rest assured, the absolute last thing he will focus on is that record. He’s accumulated more debt than every other president combined, signed off on a nearly trillion dollar stimulus bill that actually increased unemployment by more than two percent, the size of the federal government has grown by a quarter, and we have the scandals surrounding voter intimidation by the New Black Panther Party, the Solyndra scandal, Fast and Furious, his latest unconstitutional power grabs, and more.

Since he can’t run on his record, so what will he do? My guess is, first, he will claim that while things have been bad under his administration, he has the right policies, and therefore it would have been even worse under Republicans. The second angle I believe he will use, and indeed we saw it implemented in part during the 2012 mid-term elections, is to paint his opposition as being against him because he is black, and because they are just bad people. Why that route? Because if you can demonize the messenger you can avoid having to address the message.

Eat the Rich

Oh yeah baby, the new plan is here. Raise Taxes on those Rich Sunsabitches. Once again confirming the old adage “Democrats Tax and Spend, and Republicans just spend”.

In what would appear to be a last ditch effort to get out of the basement in Presidential rankings, President Obama is proposing an increase of taxes on the “super earners” of America that may in fact close the gap on the deficit enough to restore America’s credit rating.

The one question I have yet to see asked is: Who does a better job with money, the government, or top private earner? The question that has been asked (and answered) is how much would increasing taxes on top earners actually increase revenue? And I would like to expand on that:

Warren Buffett, who has spoken out about “not paying enough taxes” made about 43 Million last year according to one report I read – and he paid about 18%. That’s about $7,740,000. Want to know what that covers in terms of Federal Government Spending? $3.9 Trillion Divided by 365 days, divided by 24 hours, divided by 60 minutes = $7,420,091.So obviously, doubling Mr. Buffett’s taxes will get you…. One whopping minute of spending.

Or put another way…. It’s just shy of 1.5% of what the federal government just lost with Solyndra. Apparently though, $535 Million is a “drop in the bucket”. You need seventy Warren Buffetts just to pay for the Solyndra theft loss… that doesn’t seem like a drop in the bucket to me.

Real tax hikes, phony spending cuts

President Barack Obama made his pitch yesterday to jack up tax rates on high-income earners and bring a host of new fees that will reach across income groups — offering $3 in tax hikes for every $1 in spending cuts:

Drawing clear battle lines for next year’s elections, a combative President Barack Obama on Monday demanded that the richest Americans pay higher taxes to help cut soaring U.S. deficits by more than $3 trillion. He promised to veto any effort by congressional Republicans to cut Medicare benefits for the elderly without raising taxes as well.

“This is not class warfare. It’s math,” Obama declared, anticipating Republican criticism, which was quick in coming.
The president’s proposal, which he challenged Congress to approve, would predominantly hit upper-income taxpayers and would also target tax loopholes and subsidies used by many larger corporations. It would spare retirees from any changes in Social Security, and it would direct most of the cuts in Medicare spending to health care providers, not beneficiaries.

Benefit programs wouldn’t be unscathed. Obama’s plan would reduce spending for those, including Medicare and Medicaid, by $580 billion. But with Republicans calling for massive cuts in entitlement programs, Obama said he would veto any legislation that cut Medicare benefits without raising new revenue.

Taxing the rich is smoke and mirrors

When it comes to debt reduction, one often cited method is to increase taxes on the richest Americans.  It’s a small wonder that this one gets trotted out so much, since it’s typically rather popular.  Even billionaire Warren Buffett has come out in support of this one, citing that he has a lower effective tax rate than his own secretary.  The problem is that it won’t actually solve a thing.

The whole “tax the rich” is smoke and mirrors, designed to look like those in power are addressing the issue of debt while really doing nothing more than taking more money that wasn’t theirs to start with.  We could take every penny from every billionaire in this country, as well was tax the profits of every Fortune 500 company in the U.S. and still have a problem with our debt.

There are plenty who will say that I’m arguing that if it won’t fix it all, then it shouldn’t be done at all.  I’m actually not.  What I’m saying is that the whole argument is predicated on it doing something that it really won’t.  People are free to support whatever policies they so choose, but they need to be aware of the fact that what they’re proposing won’t make a dent in the national debt.  It won’t really make a dent in the deficit either.

Taxation is essentially the government taking money from citizens to pay for whatever.  The key word in that is “taking”.  Making no mistake, it’s the correct verb.  They take it from Americans like you and me, and then spend it on things that we might not necessarily agree with.  They’ve used it to fund wars that were horrendously unpopular.  They’ve used it to arrest such nefarious criminals as guys who sell raw milk.  Ah yes, they use it oh so wisely </sarcasm>

Rejecting False Choices and Exposing Lies

As August 2nd approaches, stipulated by Treasury Secretary and tax cheat Timothy Geithner as the date when the U.S. will reach its statutory debt limit, our illustrious president, Barack Obama, becomes more and more unhinged. From highly partisan, contemptuous and fact-challenged press conferences, to his angry and petulant exit from a meeting with Republicans on the issue, it is clear that Obama is feeling the pressure. This is compounded by the fact that the historically weak-willed Republicans seem shockingly willing to be proven vertebrates, and actually refuse to back down on principle (Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s recent suggestion to completely abdicate constitutional duty and give all power to the president notwithstanding).

From class warfare rhetoric about tax breaks for corporate jet owners (signed into law by Obama in the 2009 stimulus bill, and less than a rounding error on the federal budget) to fear mongering the elderly to think Social Security checks will not go out, nothing is beneath this integrity-challenged president in his quest for power. He tirelessly repeats his Marxist mantra of needing to get “millionaires and billionaires” to “pay their fair share” and be a part of the “shared sacrifice”, despite the fact that the top 1% of all income earners (a group starting at $380,354/year and including millions of small businesses that file taxes under personal returns…hardly millionaires and billionaires) paid 38% of total tax revenue, while the bottom 50% paid only 2.7%. The top 5% starts at $159,619 and accounts for 58.7% of taxes paid.

Soak the rich? Or class warfare?

In any time of financial crisis, there’s a rallying cry to “soak the rich”.  The wealthy are an easy target because there’s relatively few of them and they’ve got money.  The poor resent the wealth of the so-called rich (not everyone described as rich really is all that rich).  It’s “unfair” that they have so little while those few have so much.  Income disparity is used as evidence that our system is somehow flawed.  However, the class warfare has got to stop.

Yes, there are rich people.  And yes, they often have the means to get out of paying all the taxes they might be supposed to pay via tax shelters, charitable donations, etc.  That’s not the point.  Let’s leave off tax rates and things of that sort and focus on some simple facts.

I’ve been accused of kissing rich people’s butts because I actually admire what so many of them have done.  They built massive corporations, often from the ground up.  Or they helped them grow into bigger companies.  They are what Ayn Rand termed as “producers” in the grandest sense of the word.  They’re not a factory worker who simply takes pride in their job.  They are the producers of jobs for those factory workers.

However, there’s been an effort throughout the years to vilify these producers.  There’s been an extreme effort to paint them as evil because they have achieved more than the rest of us.  That is one of the purest sins: avarice.  Those who seek to tear down the rich do so because the rich have what they themselves are missing…or think they’re missing.  They seek to destroy what these producers have built because they feel that these same producers aren’t doing enough.

Arguing the Estate Tax

One of the more interesting taxation discussions out there regards the estate tax, which is also occasionally called a “death tax”. This tax is a tax for a percentage of a deceased persons estate if it’s above a certain amount. In all fairness, this isn’t typically assessed on Grandma’s china or Grandpa’s old Chevy Corvair types of estates. This typically impacts the wealthier members of our society, which also tends to make it popular.

That doesn’t change the fact that it’s wrong.

Picture that you’ve worked hard all your life. You have amassed a sizable estate so that when your time comes, your family won’t have to worry about to much at all. Then, when that moment comes, you family learns that more than half of what you left them belongs to Uncle Sam.

This only make sense if you believe that money inherently belongs to the government and that they should have right of first ownership. They don’t. You see, the people create the wealth and should be entitled to keep it. I say this as a guy who will most likely not have an estate anywhere near that level. Right is right and wrong is wrong, so I don’t care where my estate is. This just isn’t right.

It’s easy to pick on the rich. Hell, the rich pick on themselves from time to time. However, it doesn’t matter. Progressives can trot out a whole pile of stuff that won’t be paid for if we don’t have the estate tax, but I point to all the crap that is paid for that has done nothing at all. I’m realistic to know that our government won’t return to any 1790’s levels. Ever. But if you’re going to have programs that have to be paid for, I have zero problems with them minimal and requiring them to actually work.

It Depends on What the Meaning of ‘Is’ Is

Understanding the underlying meaning of a politician’s words is an art. It is a skill that must be cultivated, because all too often the words they speak are nothing more than deceptive marketing. You have the high-energy sales pitch…and thirty seconds of fine print read at high speed. Most of the time, the loud claims are completely negated by the fine print.

Nowhere is this deceptive nuance more prevalent than when politicians talk about money. To those of us in the real world, we go out and work hard to earn money to provide for the needs of ourselves and our families. We have gross earnings, and then we have “take-home pay”, which is the gross earnings minus the litany of state and federal taxes, insurance premiums, etc. If we take a pay cut, it means that our gross earnings are reduced from the previous level. This is how normal people speak.

The political world has its own Orwellian lexicon, where nothing means what it sounds like it means. Before we can even address the lexicon though, we have to address the larger underlying problem; namely, the philosophical differences between government and the average citizen. Since I believe the words of the Declaration and the Constitution, which says that I am a son of my Creator, endowed with unalienable rights, and that government derives its powers from the consent of the governed, I naturally believe that the fruits of my labor belong to me and me alone. As a citizen, I have agreed to take a portion of my earnings and contribute it to the funding of the cost of government, which is there, in theory, to protect my rights.

Coming Soon: Means Tested Criminal Penalties?

Switzerland apparently now fines drivers based on their wealth in addition to their offense.  A Swiss man was was fined $290,000 for a speeding ticket.  Because of his wealth, the basic fine was multiplied by 130 to arrive at the higher figure.

Under Swiss law he was fined for the offence, then had the sum multiplied by 130 to account for his fortune.

The penalty is the highest speeding fine handed out in Switzerland. He was ordered to pay half of it in cash immediately with two years for the rest.

Is a crime committed by a rich man more serious than one committed by someone of more modest means?  Should the penalty reflect the relative severity on the individual or should the fine for the same act be the same for all people?

As an analogy, a young man should get a longer prison term than an older man since the sentence would be such a larger percentage of the older man’s life expectancy.  The slippery slope of such a principle could one day lead to differential pricing at supermarkets and other entities that perform a service labeled a “right” or “need” by a government.  When the prices are all different, dependent on your wealth, what is the point of wealth?

Today in Liberty: Republicans must take on cronyism, national ID making a comeback

“If the grassroots, conservative activists, and tea parties are going to change Washington, they must change the GOP. To change the GOP, its incumbent faces must be changed. These are the three incumbent races that matter most. Right now, the grassroots are behind. They have to make up ground.”Erick Erickson

— Democrats apparently serious about Sebelius: It’s not a joke, folks. Democrats are serious about their efforts to draft former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to run for the U.S. Senate seat in Kansas. “I can’t think of a person who’s in a better position to defend Obamacare than Sebelius,” a Democratic strategist told The Hill. “If she runs and she becomes a viable and serious candidate for Senate, that really throws a wrench into the Republicans’ playbook and certainly their narrative that there’s this kryptonite out there called Obamacare.” People closest to Sebelius doubt she’ll run, largely because it’s just too soon after her tumultuous tenure in the Obama administration. Also, President Obama and Obamacare just aren’t that popular in Kansas.

The views and opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of other authors, advertisers, developers or editors at United Liberty.