Monday, August 29, 2011
Revenues or Taxes?
Of course, taxes is the word. But you wouldn't know it from listening to the current President or his followers. Suddenly revenues is the preferred choice of words.
It has become revenues because it is so innocuous sounding, kind of uplifting. Increasing revenues means the government can help more people. That's a good thing.
Taxes, however, evoke a hard, cruel image of mean-spirited, faceless collectors robbing you of your hard-earned money. Increasing taxes means the government hurts more people. That's a bad thing.
Cognitive dissonance again. The true word is TAXES. Taxes are taken from the working people to generate revenues for the government. Increasing either of these means the government can continue on its merry way doing as it pleases with little regard to whether it is actually doing the right things or even making things better.
Nobody likes to pay more taxes. Everyone is in favor of increased revenues. But what is often overlooked in any of these discussions are the numbers of people actually paying any taxes to generate this increased revenue.
When roughly 50% of the people in the country pay ZERO income taxes, it is so much easier to convince them that revenues need to be increased. After all, those people aren't paying anything at all now so why should they even care. Go ahead and raise my neighbor's taxes, see if I care.
When many of these zero income tax workers are actually getting money back when they file their taxes it isn't hard to realize why they are in favor of government increasing revenues. If government revenues increase, perhaps the no taxes people can actually get even more money back that they didn't pay in the first place.
How long can this situation continue? Not very. I think I can already feel Atlas's shoulders shrugging.
Friday, August 19, 2011
Americans used to have a strong set of core beliefs. Individual Liberty stood at the top of the heap. This is what made America America. Without individual liberty we are not any different than any other historical country. Without individual liberty we are merely another failed experiment in governance. We the people created our government in our own image.
You don't have to like our image. You don't have to agree with our government. But you cannot argue that this country has produced more producers, more thinkers and more doers than any other country in history. This was not by accident.
By design our Founders created a revolutionary system of government where the governed actually agreed to give consent to be governed in the first place. Think about it. No other country in the world has ever created a government from scratch with the approval of those to be governed.
Most often, governments are formed by power hungry people who impose their will upon their subjects without the consent of those subjects. History is littered with these failed attempts at governing. These attempts will always fail because there is no buy in from the actual people.
America was created the other way around and we have had the most successful rise in power and stature ever seen in the world. People want to be free. People can manage their own lives quite well on their own without unending help or instructions from any government.
People who believe in themselves, who believe in a higher power than themselves, who follow an internalized set of moral codes can live their own lives quite well without any outside interference. People who rely on others handouts and generosity and those who wish to provide handouts using other people's money will have problems managing their own lives.
Surely there will always be these kinds of people but why do present day politicians want to constantly increase this group of people? Wouldn't it be wiser to induce self-reliance and an individual's belief in himself rather than expressly giving those people constant handouts?
Rioting in England recently displays what happens to people when they have grown to accept everything from their government while doing nothing on their own to improve themselves. Rioting in America will surely follow this same path if we continue to allow government to do everything and anything it wants to "improve" people's lives.
I think many people are lazy. Individual liberty requires personal responsibility. Lazy people don't want and will not accept responsibility. Politicians are the epitome of shirking individual responsibility. John Q Public needs to be cared for because he has had a bad day. Politicians will jump at the chance to make John Q's day into a good day. It will make said politician feel good. It will make John Q Public lazy.
Politicians have a responsibility to make good laws that do not have unintended consequences. The quick fix makes them feel good and by the time the unintended consequences are fully known, another politician will have an equally bad plan to make those unintended consequences go away. Of course, that, too, will have unintended consequences so the exercise in futility goes on and on. And the original reason for the good law is obscured.
Leave your good laws at home. Develop a set of core beliefs that include liberty and responsibility at the personal level and quit trying to modify everyone's behavior to a set of standards that produce equal results.
Not everyone is equal. All results are not the same. You do not know what is best for anyone else except yourself. If you do not know what is best for yourself, you will not find the answer in anyone else. Look inward and recognize your own flaws. Work on those flaws and leave everybody else alone to work on theirs.