politicians

The War Against Cash, Part I

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This is the first in a two-part series, originally published at International Liberty. ~ Ed.

 

Politicians hate cash.

That may seem an odd assertion given that they love spending money (other people’s money, of course, as illustrated by this cartoon).

But what I’m talking about is the fact that politicians get upset when there’s not 100 percent compliance with tax laws.

They hate tax havens since the option of a fiscal refuge makes confiscatory taxation impractical.

They hate the underground economy because that means hard-to-tax economic activity.

And they hate cash because it gives consumers an anonymous payment mechanism.

Let’s explore the animosity to cash.

It’s basically because a cashless society is an easier-to-tax society, as expressed by an editorial from the U.K.-based Financial Times.

Political Prostitution

The late great Pres. Ronald Reagan once famously equated politicians to prostitutes. That little quip drew self-conscious titters from both sides of the political aisle.

But the “Gipper” was wrong, not in principle but in terminology. Politicians aren’t prostitutes. They’re pimps.

Had Reagan lived to see the latest effort in socializing his beloved Republic, the “Gipper” would no longer question which group – peddlers of flesh or influence - is the worst of those willing to trade the sacred for the profane. He’d know.

Because once President Barack Obama signs the so-called health care bill, imposing the most sweeping government devaluation of individual liberty in a generation, he will have legalized a political prostitution Reagan couldn’t have imagined. I suspect Reagan would have watched with growing horror as federal lawmakers dealt away Constitutional freedoms for the scant comfort of executive orders and sweet, home-district bribes.
It’s as if Washington D.C. has become its own red-light district, and prostitution its chief commodity. After all, Democrats hawked their latest bill of health-care goods as a feel-good scheme couched in meaningless phrases of social justice and human rights.

Prostitutes at least have the minimal comfort of knowing that though they’re selling a profoundly intimate and personal value, it is at least theirs to sell. Politicians, on the other hand, act as unprincipled pimps, selling others into the slavery of government dependence with nary a thought for the value they cheapen.

So Long As You’re Paying, I’ll Ride First Class

The Wall Street Journal reports that when lawmakers receive per-diem money for official travel, it’s typical for them to pocket the leftover cash instead of returning it to the Treasury—that, or they spend it on gifts and souvenirs:

When lawmakers travel overseas on official business they are given up to $250 a day in taxpayer funds to cover meals and expenses. Congressional rules say they must return any leftover cash to the government.

They usually don’t.

…”There’s a tacit understanding that if lawmakers don’t spend the money, they get to keep it,” said Rep. Sue Kelly, a New York Republican who was defeated in 2006.

…Rep. Joe Wilson (R., S.C.) said he once bought marble goblets in the Kabul airport as gifts for constituents. Rep. Mark Souder (R., Ind.) said he dipped into his funds to buy a $200 painting of an estuary in Turkey, which hung in his office for a while and was now in his house.

This is not a lot of money when you consider the trillions of dollars that make up the federal budget. But the concept that it might be innapropriate to spend taxpayer money for personal reasons seems to be completely lost on our elected officials.

And here’s the real kicker: When asked about taxpayer money he uses for non-official purposes, Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla) replied, “I’m a generous spirit and a courteous spirit. I stand accused.”

Yes, Mr. Hastings, it certainly is easy to be generous when you’re spending other people’s money.

Reclaim Your Republic

No other election day has held the level of significance for me than this one does. While I’ve always voted, this was the first election cycle in which I took an avid interest and actually became involved in the political scene. For nine months, I was an active supporter of my hero, Dr. Ron Paul. After Super Tuesday, and it became evident that Dr.

Obama brings campaign rhetoric to a new low

In Ghostbusters II, Peter Venkman, played by Bill Murray, is approached by the mayor’s assistant and told that his ghosthunting team should stay away from his boss. Venkman replied, “You know, I’m a voter. Aren’t you supposed to lie to me and kiss my butt?”

That’s the impression that many of us have of politicians. Throught out my time covering politics, especially in the South, I’ve met many politicians who, upon shaking my head, gave me a look that told me that they would lie, cheat, and steal to get my vote. An authentic, consistant politician is a rare breed, and it’s most likely true that you’ve never met one.

So when it was reported yesterday that, during an interview with Rolling Stone, President Barack Obama called Mitt Romney a “bullshitter,” I had a good laugh. Not because it was funny, but because this is true of almost all politicians, including Obama himself.

There is a lot of outrage from Republicans about the comment, mainly because it showed a lack of class from a sitting president to attack his opponent in such a manner. For all of his talk about a “new tone” in political rhetoric, Obama’s campaign is certainly doing a bang up job in leading by example.

Republicans may have a point in saying that Obama’s comments were classless, but it’s unlikely to cost Obama many votes. To his point, Obama’s was pretty accurate. Many of us slammed Romney for his constant flip-flops during the last two cycles. These inconsistancies earned Romney the nickname “Multiple Choice Mitt.”

Introducing: The Politician’s Pocket Guide to Raising Taxes

I’ve finally gotten around to publishing my Pocket Guide for Politicians. Some of my readers will recall that this project has been sitting on my shelf gathering dust for years. Well, the first edition is finally complete. You can purchase copies by clicking HERE or on the book cover to the right.front-cover

Political Voodoo, Economic Alchemy

When I got the idea to write this article, I thought it would be good to do a little research on alchemy. After a bit of reading from various Wikipedia entries, my favorite source for encyclopedic information, my ignorance on the subject was apparent. However, what I learned only reinforced my premise.

Prophets of the Past

I’ll admit up front that I’m a Facebook junkie. I check it several times a day to see what my friends- old and new- are up to. It’s especially enjoyable to discover what past friends are doing with their lives. Are they married? Any kids? Where do they live now? What career did they pursue?

How do they identify themselves politically?

And this is where I’ve discovered a disturbing trend in their responses-

“largely uninformed and voting”

“admittedly apathetic”

“does it really matter?”

“voting is an exercise in futility”


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