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October 16, 2008

Comments

Where is "Rosie the Riveter" when you need her? Times are kinda weird. Living in the moment, can really suck at times. I need to do an Internet search on Rosie, and have a moment of fun in the past. I'll be back later.

Who gives a damn about whether Joe was a plant or not or what his personal situation really is? Quit whining like a punk. All he did was ask a simple question and everybody's got their back up like it's unfair somebody puts Obama on the spot with a challenge. And that's offensive? Obama wants to be top dog, so he'd better be able to handle Joe Plummer. What's he going to do when confronted by a thug like Putin if poor little Barry can't handle big mean Joe?

But here's the thing that really gets MY back up:

Hines wrote: "Very few clear $250,000 or more, so raising the marginal tax rate at that level to 39% (from 36%) isn't a big deal."

--Well, it's a big deal to me if it's my 250K that's being taxed at a higher rate. This is what I don't like about the liberal 'tax the rich' and redistribute the wealth ideology. Hey, that's my extra $10K in taxes you're talking about that I earned with the sweat of my brow. I'm the one who worked for it and who are YOU to say it's no big deal if I pay it?

Remember, that's $10K I'm being penalized for being successful over the $90K I'm already paying out. Don't you think that's enough? Maybe I need that $10K. Maybe I have bills to pay or braces to buy for my kids. Who the fuck are you to say my $10K is no big deal? Jerk.

..So some "spread the wealth around" politician can decide what to do with it in his infinite and enlightened wisdom? He knows better what to do with my money than I do? So he can expand an already bloated beaurocracy that wastes money right and left?

A fair tax is an equal tax. Whether you make ten thousand or a hundred million you pay the same percentage. Those are the breaks in a free society. You have the chance to succeed or fail on your own talents and initiative. That's the way it is in nature and you can't fool with mother nature.

The way to make taxation really fair is to have a consumption tax aka flat tax that is built into the price of consumer goods. If you spend a lot, you pay a lot. If you spend a little, you pay a little. Works equally and proportionately for the poor guy and the rich guy. No IRS and no tax nerds you have pay fees to for help because neither you, nor anyone else, can comprehend a tax code thicker than a major metropolitan phone book.

Bud K, I agree with your comments. The significance of the "Joe the Plumber" exchange has nothing to do with Joe or his deficiencies. He just asked Obama a question.

Obama's answer is the real story. In a moment of honesty, he said that it helps everybody when you spread the wealth around. This is socialism. Socialism DOES NOT WORK. It has been tried before many times over, with a perfect record of failure. It is not "progressive" or "new" in any way. I could list the reasons that socialism always fails, but I'll just direct you to this excellent summary: http://spruce.flint.umich.edu/~mjperry/Socialism.html

To make Obama's answer more relevant, let's put his theory into practice. Brian, you probably own a car. You probably worked to earn it, and chances are that you earned more than minimum wage. That's not fair, so let's pass a law allowing Oregon to confiscate your car and give it to one of the guys holding a cardboard sign at a nearby freeway offramp. Why should you have more than him? You also likely have some money saved for retirement. If you have more than the average person, let's take that and distribute it to everyone, regardless of whether they have less than you because of their own poor decisions. I'm sure you won't mind this redistribution of wealth.

Taking from those with more wealth than average and distributing to those with less wealth than average has the following effects: (a) it removes the incentive for you to excel and (b) it encourages mediocrity. Such actions will have only negative consequences.

Obama's belief that "spreading the wealth around" is "good for everybody" is dangerously naive.

Erik, I don't see a progressive tax system as being anything like socialism. This country always has had such a system, where people who make more money pay a higher tax rate.

By your reasoning, Reagan and every other Republican president also is a socialist, because each has accepted a progressive tax system.

So what we're talking about is the level of progressive taxation. Obama wants to raise the top levels by a few percent. That isn't "socialism." It's tinkering with the existing system that has served this country well and is well accepted (aside from the flat tax advocates).

Also, taxation is inherently "sharing the wealth." What else is it? For example, government takes money from me and gives it to the military. Now I've helped support a soldier, or whoever, who wouldn't have a salary if it wasn't taken out of the pocket of me and other taxpayers.

Are you saying we shouldn't have a military? Or any other government programs? This would be the only way to not share the wealth -- by not taking any wealth through taxation.

Look on it this way: if government gave back to every taxpayer the exact amount they took from them, then no wealth would be shared. But what would be the point in this? Government exists to serve social needs that can't be met by people on their own.

I doubt that you are in favor of doing away with government entirely. If so, then you also believe in sharing the wealth, because this is what government inherently does.

Brian, thank you for your reasoned reply.

It is true that taxation is a form of "sharing the wealth". You used the example of our taxes paying for our military. This is a good example of a necessary form of community cooperation, organized by the government.

Obama's claim that it helps everybody when we spread the wealth around can be understood more clearly in light of his promise to "lower taxes for 95% of Americans" and also his statements about "redistributive change". When upwards of 30% of Americans pay no taxes, how can taxes be lowered on 95% of Americans? The answer is that many who currently pay no taxes will receive some form of payment from the government.

There is a subtle but crucial difference between taxes paying for the military (which is non-socialistic) and taxes being redistributed to the poor (which is socialistic). The first is an example of citizens pooling money to pay for a needed communal service; the second is redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor for the sake of idealism. The forced redistribution of wealth from the wealthy to the poor was one of Karl Marx's ideals: "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs."

In a perfect world, it would be great if everyone were equally wealthy and no one were in need. To try to accomplish this end goal via redistribution is foolish, because it removes the incentive to pursue success and reduces the consequences of failure. It also reduces the means of the successful to employ the not-yet-successful so that they can achieve their own success. I traveled to Russia in 1993, and I saw firsthand the effects of pursuing an egalitarian society - it resulted in everyone being equally poor, except for the small ruling elite.

Taxes should not be used for social engineering purposes, but to provide for limited and necessary communal services. Both Republicans and Democrats are guilty of careless spending that drives the perceived need for more transfer of wealth from the private sector to the public sector. We desperately need to drastically slash spending and lower taxes to a flat, fair rate.

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