Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Taxes? Entitlement?

I have opinions about things.  Many things. I watched a video on youtube.com today and the man interviewed was a very bright, intelligent man but he had some misguided views.

One of the things I have an opinion about is this bombardment of entitlement mentality that I have seen everywhere in this country since the economy has come to a halt.  Let's get one thing completely entirely perfectly straight here:  It isn't your money.  None of it is.  You might argue and think it is, but it is not.  You might have all sorts of reasons why it should be, and your reasons are probably rational and morally correct, but it still isn't your money.  It sucks.

Even though you paid your money into the government, you have elected officials that have the rights BY LAW to decide what to do with said money.  So, despite your current financial situation and despite all of your complaints and grumbling, the government's money (although it USED to be yours) is no longer your money.  You elected people that took this money from you and you have trusted them in spending wisely for you on things that you may want or need at some time.  As it is for now, the federal government has given your money away, most of your children's money, and some of your children's children's money.  So, consider this fact before you raise your hand like a 3rd grader that needs to use the bathroom and ask the government for your money back.  They don't have it.  Plain and simple.  The government has spent all of your money taking care of those who elected them and those that could bolster the highest level of public approval from being helped.  So, before you ask and think that you deserve some money or that you have some money coming from the government, realize that you don't and they don't have it anymore.  The officials you elected have taken your money and given it to somebody other than you.  But, all in all, that's what you wanted them to so when you elected them (equality for all Americans, right?), anyway.  So, success.

The idea that higher taxation of any segment of our society solves any of our long term problems is laughable.  You know what that reminds me of?  It's a friend trying to help out another friend that drinks too much by paying his bar tab.  I think Glenn Beck came up with that.  It's a great analogy of what's going on here.  There is NO solution to excess debt that is more effective than cutting spending.  That's the best idea for recovery and it is the only reliable, sound idea.  Since taxation is based on consumption and on economic activity, it cannot be deemed a reliable source of proposed income since the government cannot control the rate of spending by consumers (yet). 

Let me give you an example from the fine State of Minnesota.  Minnesota decided that smoking is bad (m'kay).  So, the State raised the tax on cigarettes drastically with hopes that the extra cost of cigarettes will make people want to quit and also generate scads of income that they (the State) can use to pay for all sorts of other beneficial things (to be fair, one thing was health care for smokers since they have much larger health risks).  Not too bad of a plan, eh?  Well, then they did it.  The result?  Lots of smokers quit and many others started buying their tobacco online or buying raw tobacco and rolling their own cigarettes (since these were exempt for the additional tax).  So, a successful plan?  Not really, since after the initial financial shock people that wanted to smoke regardless of anything still smoked and many of them just became more and more creative with how they were going to accomplish it.  So many smokers quit smoking or found other means to smoke that the level of money that the State planned on getting in for these new programs never came and they fell short of their budget for the programs associated with the tobacco taxation.  What did the State of Minnesota do?  They raised the tax more to try to cover their budget shortfalls.  Then what happened?  More people quit smoking, bought cigarettes out of state, bought cigarettes online, or grew tobacco at home (no kidding... I know 2 people that do it).  So, what happened then?  The state STILL fell short of their budget because the people don't WANT to pay so much tax.  This went on and on and continues today.  A successful plan? No. 

Any time you expect the government to tax another sect of society be it businesses, the super rich, or whoever to make things better for you, be prepared to pay this same level of tax money yourself.  Once the government has permission and law that says they can tax one group of people at a high rate, be prepared for them to pass laws that allow them to tax ALL people at a higher rate.  If the government cannot reel in the spending, it is purely just a matter of time before they come after your money, too.  Think about it.  This is a pivotal idea and an important one to consider.

Nobody wins with tax income based on consumption because as Americans, we come from a long line of innovators and free thinkers.  We are bright and creative.  We will find a way to do what we want and be able to afford it.  Plain and simple.  It is too bad we waste this creativity on finding ways to afford to smoke cigarettes rather than use it for something that could benefit others.

If you are an advocate of higher taxation for the rich or companies, realize that their money is not your money.  If you have been evicted from your home, these people did not force you to buy it.  If you have huge student loans, these people did not force you to take them out.  If you lost your job and then lost your home and cars, life is horrible for you but it is still your fault.  I'm very sorry, but it is.  If you planned poorly for your financial future (as most of us did) it is OUR OWN fault.  We need to own this responsibility.  It is ours and ours alone.

Taxing one group of society at a higher rate to pay our bills is nothing more than stealing.  Also, as far as retail goes, you can tax the companies at a higher rate and they will pay it with your dollar.  Every time.  Each time.  They will be forced to inflate the cost of their goods to offset the higher tax, and who do you suppose will pay that tax?  YOU.  Me.  All of us will pay it every single time we buy anything.  So, you want to be cocky and not give them an inflated rate?  Simple. Buy imported goods and further deflate our own economy.  There is no way around this and it takes a fool to not understand this.

The flat tax idea is a great one, but it will have a hard time getting into practice in this country because those of you that think that people with more money than you are not paying their fair share will have to pay your fair share for the first time ever.  What would that be like?  You can argue with me if you like, but what I am saying is true.  If we get a flat tax rate in this country for the first time in our lives taxes will be fair for all.  But, those of you that don't pay any taxes in now (and seem to have many great plans on how to spend the money that belongs to others) will have to pay.  It is an exciting idea.

Plain and simple, the only people we can be mad at for most any of this go to work in Washington.  They spent your Social Security.  They spent your tax money on programs that may or may not have helped you.  Flat out, they spent your money. Now, they don't know what to do to pay the bills they have created.  So, they have demonized success, wealth, and innovation in this country to try to gain support from a disheartened and hurting public.  They use your financial ruin and hardship as steam to power their train.  They propose legislation based on ideas that came out of misery, and as Americans many of us are so beaten down by it all, we are agreeing.  Do not let them pollute you with this. You want to make a difference?  Take away their jobs.  Vote them out.  Become educated about who you are voting for before you vote and pick candidates not based on nostalgia or emotion, pick them out of their ability to do their job.  Pick them out of what they can do for all of us and America, not just based on what they can do for you short term.  If they fail, vote THEM out and find the next candidate for the job.

Think, people.  I am not always correct about all the things I think and say, but this is how I see it.