Why not pay a 5% national sales tax instead?
Politics: 50 Years Of Failure
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/16/2016 21:05 -0400
Submitted by Paul Rosenberg via FreeMansPerspective.com,
Several decades ago, Saul Bellow wrote this:
For the first time in history, the human species as a whole has gone into politics. Everyone is in the act, and there is no telling what may come of it.
At this point, however, we can say what has come of it: failure. Politics has failed to deliver on nearly every promise it has made since the 1960s, and I think it’s time to hold it to account.
50 Years In
I was still a child in 1966, but I remember it fairly well. And I remember a good deal of the politics of the era, because my mom was involved with it. In fact, she helped to rewrite the Illinois State Constitution during those years. (Adoption came in 1970, but there were several years of work preceding it.)
So, I know what people in that time were hoping to get out of politics… what they firmly believed they would get out of politics. Here’s the list:
And to their credit, they worked to make it happen. Not only that, but their children and grandchildren have kept the faith and continued the fight. We now live in a world of all politics, all the time. And so, half a century in, I think we need to take a hard look at the results, which are these:
The race problem
Race problems have shifted over the past 50 years, but they are still very much with us. And when I say “shifted,” I mean this: If you go to the towns of the American South that were considered the cores of racism (in those days it was called “bigotry”), you’ll find that black and white people generally get along pretty well; far better than they did in the 1960s.
Where racial tension survives and thrives these days is in the realm of the political and because of political actions. The typical white hater of the ’60s derided Negroes as being bad by nature. The “angry white men” of modern times are upset that their money, jobs, and opportunities are stolen via politics and handed to other people. (There is of course a residue of just plain hate.)
The bottom line here is that politics is keeping racism alive. And if the truth is to be honestly faced, this is because a large number of political operatives would have no job if racial prejudice evaporated. It behooves them to keep it going.
Vietnam goes, Iraq and Afghanistan come, and Syria may be next; ho hum, just another season in the long march of the military-industrial complex.
The Middle East problem
Israel, the Arabs, bombs, terrorists, dictators… which decade’s headlines are these?
Test scores since the 1960s have steadily fallen; teachers’ unions have become ever-more rapacious and arrogant, colleges ever-more expensive. Metal detectors now adorn school buildings, teachers are forbidden to adapt the curriculum to the students, etc.
Poverty and welfare
More people are on more welfare programs than ever before… and in the face of ever-declining scarcity in the world. And again, armies of political operatives would lose their jobs if these problems ever went away.
Eric Garner, intensely violent and overly used SWAT teams, and an ever-increasing list of innocent victims.
At the same time, every evening’s television shows laud “law enforcement” as our true and great saviors. Police departments are laden with bigger, deadlier tools and massive budgets. All of this while Acton’s dictum (“Power corrupts…”) remains.
We See, but Can We Perceive?
There’s nothing secret about the facts itemized above. We’ve all seen them. The question is this: How many of us are able to accept them?
Most people hate the reality that forces them to change their opinions. They fight it, cleverly and persistently. If the first reason to reject reality doesn’t work, it’s followed by a second, third, and fourth. And if excuses fail, anger, accusations, and wild displays may follow.
Still, reality is what it is. And this particular slice of reality is that politics has failed. Profoundly.
We may have leapt into politics with the best of intentions, but our efforts have failed to produce beneficial results… save of course that they allowed us to feel righteous. As far as changing the world, we’d have been better off gardening; that, at least, would have provided good food for people we cared about.
We can either face reality or fight against it. But if we really care about the state of the world, we need to face the truth: Politics has failed miserably.
A List Of 97 Taxes Americans Pay Every Year
By Michael Snyder, on March 24th, 2014
If you are like most Americans, paying taxes is one of your pet peeves. The deadline to file your federal taxes is coming up, and this year Americans will spend more than 7 billion hours preparing their taxes and will hand over more than four trillion dollars to federal, state and local governments. Americans will fork over nearly 30 percent of what they earn to pay their income taxes, but that is only a small part of the story. As you will see below, there are dozens of other taxes that Americans pay every year. Of course not everyone pays all of these taxes, but without a doubt we are all being taxed into oblivion. It is like death by a thousand paper cuts. Our politicians have become extremely creative in finding ways to extract money from all of us, and most Americans don’t even realize what is being done to them. By the time it is all said and done, a significant portion of the population ends up paying more than half of what they earn to the government. That is fundamentally wrong, but nothing will be done about it until people start demanding change. The following is a list of 97 taxes Americans pay every year…
#1 Air Transportation Taxes (just look at how much you were charged the last time you flew)
#2 Biodiesel Fuel Taxes
#3 Building Permit Taxes
#4 Business Registration Fees
#5 Capital Gains Taxes
#6 Cigarette Taxes
#7 Court Fines (indirect taxes)
#8 Disposal Fees
#9 Dog License Taxes
#10 Drivers License Fees (another form of taxation)
#11 Employer Health Insurance Mandate Tax
#12 Employer Medicare Taxes
#13 Employer Social Security Taxes
#14 Environmental Fees
#15 Estate Taxes
#16 Excise Taxes On Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans
#17 Federal Corporate Taxes
#18 Federal Income Taxes
#19 Federal Unemployment Taxes
#20 Fishing License Taxes
#21 Flush Taxes (yes, this actually exists in some areas)
#22 Food And Beverage License Fees
#23 Franchise Business Taxes
#24 Garbage Taxes
#25 Gasoline Taxes
#26 Gift Taxes
#27 Gun Ownership Permits
#28 Hazardous Material Disposal Fees
#29 Highway Access Fees
#30 Hotel Taxes (these are becoming quite large in some areas)
#31 Hunting License Taxes
#32 Import Taxes
#33 Individual Health Insurance Mandate Taxes
#34 Inheritance Taxes
#35 Insect Control Hazardous Materials Licenses
#36 Inspection Fees
#37 Insurance Premium Taxes
#38 Interstate User Diesel Fuel Taxes
#39 Inventory Taxes
#40 IRA Early Withdrawal Taxes
#41 IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax)
#42 IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
#43 Library Taxes
#44 License Plate Fees
#45 Liquor Taxes
#46 Local Corporate Taxes
#47 Local Income Taxes
#48 Local School Taxes
#49 Local Unemployment Taxes
#50 Luxury Taxes
#51 Marriage License Taxes
#52 Medicare Taxes
#53 Medicare Tax Surcharge On High Earning Americans Under Obamacare
#54 Obamacare Individual Mandate Excise Tax (if you don’t buy “qualifying” health insurance under Obamacare you will have to pay an additional tax)
#55 Obamacare Surtax On Investment Income (a new 3.8% surtax on investment income)
#56 Parking Meters
#57 Passport Fees
#58 Professional Licenses And Fees (another form of taxation)
#59 Property Taxes
#60 Real Estate Taxes
#61 Recreational Vehicle Taxes
#62 Registration Fees For New Businesses
#63 Toll Booth Taxes
#64 Sales Taxes
#65 Self-Employment Taxes
#66 Sewer & Water Taxes
#67 School Taxes
#68 Septic Permit Taxes
#69 Service Charge Taxes
#70 Social Security Taxes
#71 Special Assessments For Road Repairs Or Construction
#72 Sports Stadium Taxes
#73 State Corporate Taxes
#74 State Income Taxes
#75 State Park Entrance Fees
#76 State Unemployment Taxes (SUTA)
#77 Tanning Taxes (a new Obamacare tax on tanning services)
#78 Telephone 911 Service Taxes
#79 Telephone Federal Excise Taxes
#80 Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Taxes
#81 Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Taxes
#82 Telephone State And Local Taxes
#83 Telephone Universal Access Taxes
#84 The Alternative Minimum Tax
#85 Tire Recycling Fees
#86 Tire Taxes
#87 Tolls (another form of taxation)
#88 Traffic Fines (indirect taxation)
#89 Use Taxes (Out of state purchases, etc.)
#90 Utility Taxes
#91 Vehicle Registration Taxes
#92 Waste Management Taxes
#93 Water Rights Fees
#94 Watercraft Registration & Licensing Fees
#95 Well Permit Fees
#96 Workers Compensation Taxes
#97 Zoning Permit Fees
Yet despite all of this oppressive taxation, our local governments, our state governments and our federal government are all absolutely drowning in debt.
When the federal income tax was originally introduced a little more than 100 years ago, most Americans were taxed at a rate of only 1 percent.
But once they get their feet in the door, the social planners always want more.
Since that time, tax rates have gone much higher and the tax code has exploded in size.
Why do we have to have the most convoluted tax system in the history of the planet?
Why can’t things be simpler?
In a previous article entitled “24 Outrageous Facts About Taxes In The United States That Will Blow Your Mind“, I listed a number of reasons why our federal income tax system has become a complete and utter abomination that is entirely out of control…
1 – The U.S. tax code is now 3.8 million words long. If you took all of William Shakespeare’s works and collected them together, the entire collection would only be about 900,000 words long.
2 – According to the National Taxpayers Union, U.S. taxpayers spend more than 7.6 billion hours complying with federal tax requirements. Imagine what our society would look like if all that time was spent on more economically profitable activities.
3 – 75 years ago, the instructions for Form 1040 were two pages long. Today, they are 189 pages long.
4 – There have been 4,428 changes to the tax code over the last decade. It is incredibly costly to change tax software, tax manuals and tax instruction booklets for all of those changes.
5 – According to the National Taxpayers Union, the IRS currently has 1,999 different publications, forms, and instruction sheets that you can download from the IRS website.
6 – Our tax system has become so complicated that it is almost impossible to file your taxes correctly. For example, back in 1998 Money Magazine had 46 different tax professionals complete a tax return for a hypothetical household. All 46 of them came up with a different result.
7 – In 2009, PC World had five of the most popular tax preparation software websites prepare a tax return for a hypothetical household. All five of them came up with a different result.
8 – The IRS spends $2.45 for every $100 that it collects in taxes.
9 – According to The Tax Foundation, the average American has to work until April 17th just to pay federal, state, and local taxes. Back in 1900, “Tax Freedom Day” came on January 22nd.
10 – When the U.S. government first implemented a personal income tax back in 1913, the vast majority of the population paid a rate of just 1 percent, and the highest marginal tax rate was just 7 percent.
If it was up to me, I would abolish the income tax and shut the IRS down.
But neither major political party in the United States is even willing to consider such a thing.
So the monstrous system that we have created will continue to get even bigger and even more complicated.
We are literally being taxed into oblivion, and most Americans don’t even seem to care.
The information presented is from news sources on the internet. Use the information at your own risk!
Maybe we ought to follow the French farmer's example and take ours to Washington DC !
Confiscation of Retirement Accounts?
Obama quotes from SOTU address in bold: "Let's do more to help Americans save for retirement. Today, most workers don't have a pension. A Social Security check often isn't enough on its own."
Can't argue with that. The personal savings rate has been declining since the 1970s. Reversing that trend would help get America back on track to prosperity. Tell me more.
"And while the stock market has doubled over the last five years, that doesn't help folks who don't have 401(k)s."
Good point. It's hard for lower-income earners to save enough money to invest in the stock market. Helping them access stocks is a great idea, provided they enlist a competent advisor.
Granted, it's not a perfect solution. But allocating a portion of one's savings to stocks is smart—certainly better than allowing inflation to bleed one's savings account to death.
"That's why, tomorrow, I will direct the Treasury to create a new way for working Americans to start their own retirement savings: MyRA."
Actually, Mr. President, working Americans already have access to IRAs. You're giving the impression that lower-income Americans don't have access to tax-advantaged retirement accounts, but that's not true at all. Even if my employer doesn't sponsor a plan, I can start one on my own. Anyone under the age of 70½ can open a self-directed IRA, and plenty of brokers allow people to enroll with as little as a $500 initial contribution.
So where are you going with this?
"It's a new savings bond that encourages folks to build a nest egg."
Whoa, hang on there. You were just talking about the stock market. How do savings bonds help the average Joe tap into stocks?
"MyRA guarantees a decent return with no risk of losing what you put in."
Stop it. First of all, bonds neither guarantee a decent return nor protect people from losing their principal. In fact, with interest rates still near historic lows, buying bonds today and holding them for the long term virtually guarantees they'll lose money.
Second, a bond is not a one-sided transaction. Whoever issues the bond is borrowing money from the buyer. The US government would be issuing these bonds, so that would mean… wait a minute, you wouldn't be trying to covertly confiscate workers' earnings to fund the government, would you?
"And if this Congress wants to help, work with me to fix an upside-down tax code that gives big tax breaks to help the wealthy save, but does little to nothing for middle-class Americans."
Don't change the subject, Mr. President. Do you expect me to believe it's just a coincidence that your new plan will finance billions of dollars in US debt, just as your pal Bernanke is finally reducing the Fed's QE bond purchases? You guys are too much.
"Offer every American access to an automatic IRA on the job, so they can save at work just like everyone in this chamber can."
Automatic? Now you're really starting to scare me. I hope that means the payroll deductions would be automatic for participants, and not that everyone at certain income levels will be automatically enrolled in MyRAs unless they proactively opt out. Forgive me for being suspicious.
Regardless, let me see if I have this scheme straight. If someone is lucky enough to be a MyRA participant, the government will skim a percentage of his income from his paycheck. In exchange, it will issue him an IOU, which of course won't pay out until he retires. So working-class Americans would effectively be giving the government a long-term loan.
Taking money from our paychecks before we ever see it… promising to pay us back in umpteen years… this all sounds eerily familiar. Where have I heard of this arrangement before?
Oh, right. It's exactly the same as Social Security. Minus the compulsory aspect (for now).
I'm not trying to be sensationalist; it's all right there in Obama's language. As I write on Thursday morning, more details are leaking out. According to several sources, the MyRA will essentially be a Roth IRA, with one huge difference: it can only invest in government savings bonds.
Given that a normal Roth can already invest in government bonds, I fail to see how a MyRA offers any advantage whatsoever. All it does is restrict participants' investment choices to the one asset class that most benefits the bankrupt US: US debt.
And that seems to be the point. US retirement accounts hold well over $5 trillion in assets. The US government owes a mind-boggling $17+ trillion in debt. You can almost hear Uncle Sam salivate. The MyRA looks like the first baby step toward acclimating people to the idea that retirement savings are too important to entrust 100% to the market. Government bonds, you see, are much safer.
If the government can pass a mandate that IRAs must allocate just 10% of their assets to Treasuries, a cool $500 billion would flow straight into Washington's coffers. Not enough to solve its debt problems—there isn't enough money in the world to do that. But enough to stave off bankruptcy or a crisis of confidence in the dollar for a few more years.
What to do? Liquidating your IRA isn't an option, since you'd incur hefty penalties and lose all of the substantial tax benefits they offer. For now, keep an eye on how the MyRA saga unfolds. Watch especially for any strong-arming by the government, such as forcing employers to offer MyRAs. Or, as I mentioned above, automatically enrolling some subset of the population into the MyRA program. Such actions would provide clues as to how much the government thinks it can get away with.
You also might want to learn a bit about past confiscations of retirement savings. They're more common than you'd think. Just since 2008, the governments of Argentina, Poland, Portugal, Ireland, Hungary, and Bolivia have all pillaged citizens' private retirement assets in some fashion.
Of course, your #1 recourse against any grabby government is to hold a substantial portion of your savings in physical precious metals. Though the past two years have been a rough ride, history unequivocally shows that gold is unrivaled in its ability to hold value over the long term. And what's more, evidence is mounting that gold's decline is coming to an end—for both the metal and the miners.
Dictatorial President? http://washington.cbslocal.com/2014/01/14/obama-on-executive-actions-ive-got-a-pen-and-ive-got-a-phone/
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