Thursday, September 22, 2011

My View

Random ruminations from your resident curmudgeon...

President Obama has proposed to close the nation's deficit by raising $3 in new taxes for every $1 in federal spending cuts. "This is not class warfare, this is math. The money has to come from somewhere." said President Obama in a Rose Garden ceremony on Monday. Frankly, what has been proposed by the current administration just boggles the mind, for not only is it class warfare of the highest degree, but it a $1.5 trillion tax increase on workers and an economy that is already limping badly. The President has said that his proposal will save $4.4 trillion over the next decade. Here is what you should know about that: $1.1 trillion comes from savings on a reduction of force in Iraq and Afghanistan; $1.2 trillion was already mandated by last month's debt deal;  $480 billion by projected lower interest payments on our debt; $580 billion by lower entitlement spending by eliminating over-payments and waste; and $450 billion in proposed but not enacted tax increases. President Obama's plan has been described by his advisers as his ideological vision for our country rather than a political maneuver. Well, Obama's ideological vision is frightening; it is one where the  taxes continue to rise exponentially to meet the insatiable spending appetite of the government. The proposed cuts are either already required or based on suppositions; the tax increases are based on the rapacious appetite of the federal government for more of your wealth. You're right, President Obama, it is math, and your math doesn't add up.

In some countries, people pray in the streets. Here, we call them pedestrians.

The liberal Left's party line is that everyone must pay their "fair share" and that the wealthiest people are getting away with not paying as much in taxes as they should. Obama has famously touted the "Buffett Rule" that says millionaires shouldn't pay less in taxes than their secretaries. Here is what you should know:  Warren Buffett, after whom the rule is named,  is disingenuous in saying he has been coddled. Buffett has made conscious decisions to shelter himself from the confiscatory hand of the government by donating his Berkshire Hathaway stock to three charitable foundations. Who runs those foundations, you might ask? His kids, who all draw handsome salaries for doing so. Buffett has made legal tax avoidance decisions. He hasn't been coddled. Here is the other fact that is relevant to the dialogue that is going on now in Washington: those millionaires that supposedly don't pay their "fair share" paid over 20% of the total taxes collected in 2009 and over 29% of their income in taxes, compared to 15% for those that make between $50-75,000. The top 1% of American taxpayers paid 38% of all federal taxes. So the question is "What is fair?" Should the government make them pay 50% of the total taxes? 75%. The point is that the government does not have a collection problem. It has a spending problem. And any reasonable person will, as the venal Warren Buffet has done, legally avoid taxes to keep more of their money.

I was wondering if mimes observe a brief moment of talking when another mime passes away?

Let us suppose for just a moment that the liberal Left is correct, that the government does not collect enough of our money and does not provide enough services. If Washington, or any central government, only had more of our resources, there would be nothing but blue skies and rainbows and the lion would lie down with the lamb. Oh, really? Here is a sampling of the tax rates from countries around the world that includes both their income tax (IT) rate and the Value Added Tax (VAT) and their total tax rate:

Greece     IT 40%  VAT 25%  Total  65%

Portugal    IT 42%  VAT 20%  Total  62%

Spain        IT 45%  VAT 16%  Total  61%

Britain       IT 50%  VAT 17%  Total  67%

So how are all these high taxes  and more government working out for these countries? A real utopian society, huh? What's that... riots in the streets? Crumbling infrastructure? Realistically bankrupt?  The fatal conceit of those in power is that they- and only they- know best how to manage the resources of a country. We are seeing how years of  fiscal ineptitude in Washington are unfolding now, and if we are not careful, this drama could take a more Grecian turn (not to be confused with a Grecian urn) and lead to more civil strife and unrest. The fact is that in most instances, a centralized government has a growing appetite for your money and it is not frugal in how it spends your funds. Just ask a citizen of one of these countries I have listed above.

My physique is like the Supreme Court- no appeal.

And that, my friends, is my view.

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