The alarm went off – time to start another workday. As I was slightly ticked off, I laid there a few minutes longer. Why was I ticked? I had received an increase in my income, so my income taxes would go up, again. As I laid there (you know how your mind can wander), my mind began a journey through my day.
The alarm clock and the lamp, beside my bed on which I paid taxes when purchased, use electricity, which is taxed. I shave and brush my teeth with taxed items. My shower does not use city water but requires a well permit, which is taxed. My breakfast food is taxed, as are the clothes I wear today. I kiss my wife goodbye and am reminded of the marriage license tax. I mentally debate her gift for our 50th anniversary because the gift I am considering has a luxury tax – nonessential. I have already made restaurant reservations (where the food will be taxed) and bought a bottle of wine on which I paid a liquor tax.
As I walk out the door to my car, through the entrance we had remodeled when we bought the house, I remember the building permit tax.
I had gotten a good deal on the car I drive (somewhat offset by the vehicle sales taxes due when purchased), and I am reminded that I pay license and registration taxes and an inspection fee. Fortunately, I get good gas mileage because I also pay a gasoline tax.
As I drive off my property, into the street, I recall that I pay a tax on the water that runs off my yard into the street and I remember that property taxes (assessed quarterly) are coming due, but at least I don’t have to pay license fees for my dogs anymore. They’re dead.
Fortunately, my sons are all grown, so I no longer have to pay school taxes. But my two oldest sons like the outdoors, so they pay taxes on hunting and fishing licenses and since they both have bass boats, they pay watercraft registrations taxes. I am reminded that my wife and I worked hard and saved in hopes of leaving them an inheritance, which will also be taxed.
I forgot to tell my wife something, so I grab my cell phone and as it rings. I remember I had read: “U.S. wireless consumers pay an average 17.18 percent in taxes and fees on their cell phone bill, including 11.36 percent in state and local charges, according to a newly released study that identifies and calculates wireless taxes and fees …”
As I turn to head toward the freeway, I pass a “tax preparers” office and am reminded that soon taxes will be due on my corporation. (I deliberately keep inventory – CDs, DVDs, books – low to hold down inventory taxes.) Their sign also reminds me it will soon be time to begin preparing for this year’s state and federal income taxes to prevent IRS interest charges and penalties (isn’t that a tax on taxes?)
As I get ready to turn on my radio and listen to the latest news, and hear of the number of scandals currently taking place involving the government, I have what for me what would once have been considered a very un-American thought: “Why am I being punished for being productive?” And it seems the more productive I am, or try to become, the stiffer my punishment.
(You know, thinking and reading “radical right-wing” material like WND and the Bible can be dangerous. I believe this could be the impetus behind the drive to prevent young people – from grade school to college – from asking questions, especially ones that begin with “why.”)
For example, why has the number of people on food stamps, etc., quadrupled in just 10 years? Answer: Some years ago, a book was published that dealt with what the author called “The Greatest Management Principle in the World.” When reduced to its essence, the one-line summary was, “That which gets rewarded gets done.”
Despite the fact that it has been proven that these government programs discourage marriage, extinguish the work ethic, destroy families and encourage out-of-wedlock births, they continue to grow. In fact, the Obama administration is presently conducting a drive to encourage more people to get on food stamps. This despite the fact that according to authors Susan Carleson and John Mashburn, there are already “157 means-tested programs intended to alleviate poverty.” Peter Ferrara adds, “more expansive definitions count even more programs – 185 total.” One hundred, eighty-five programs giving away unearned (by the recipients) money. Are we headed for trouble?
Economist Laurence Kotlikoff, using the Congressional Budget Office’s long-term budget forecast, “estimated total federal indebtedness at an astonishing $222 trillion.” Not to worry: That includes the “poor” U.S. Postal Service that needs a bailout. The check will be in the mail, Saturdays excepted.
Maybe ‘ole TJ knew what he was talking about in a letter he wrote way back in the 1800s: “I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious” (Thomas Jefferson, Letter to William Ludlow, Sept. 6, 1824).
I have a revolutionary, perhaps even radical, thought: Stop punishing the productive, and cease rewarding the opposite thereof.
But Ben, you claim to be a Bible believer, what about the biblical admonition to help the poor?
Well from my perspective (admittedly biased), most Americans have no idea what real poverty is; and that includes the “poor people” (so-called) in America. According to Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute, last year the nearly $1 trillion spent on welfare amounted “to $20,610 for every poor person in America, or $61,830 per poor family of three.” That’s poverty stricken?
And since the subject of the “poor” was brought up from a biblical standpoint, allow me to respond with a biblical perspective as well: “Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: … to make ourselves an example unto you to follow us. For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread” (2 Thessalonians 3:8-12).