Thursday, April 15, 2010

Death and.....

It seems as if the InterLeft as received their tax day meme. The IRS is a GOOD thing and failure to unquestioningly pay is un-Patriotic. (Oh, and the stimulus helped, it really, really did....we promise.)

Not to be out-done, the Right has their script ready as well. (Well, and the tea-parties, to which I won't attend and won't link to.)

My thought is this: Outside of the idiocy of politicians and talking heads there are some serious points to make about American tax policy. The fact that 47% of all Americans aren't paying any tax is troubling, if you don't understand why that's so then you need to back out of the debate and go take a look at some history. Democrats are correct that more taxes need to be collected, but they're wrong in their mechanism for doing so. Republicans, except for a couple of notable exceptions are too tied up in waving signs and screaming through bull-horns about how evil Obama is to be taken all that seriously. In 1996 1994 *Doh*, Republicans swept into power by offering up the "Contract with America" which they then promptly tore up and went on a spending spree that made a Hunter S. Thompson weekend look tame in comparison. Today's Republican Party can't even agree what type of contract they want. Democrats, meanwhile, are desperately hoping that a one-time "Making work pay" tax credit can provide enough smoke to obscure the fact that their spending binge is going to require either extremely large, economy crunching tax increases (under the current system limited to the 53% who are still paying taxes) or a pledge by the US Government to stop spending money until the year 2052.

Which brings us to the Tea Parties, a group of angry people who have scheduled rallies across America to vent and "be heard", as I listened to a Tea Party organizer say on the radio today. The assumption being that there's a fundamental lack of understanding of life in a Democratic society, even one that functions as a Republic. Call me old fashioned, but I still believe that the best way to "be heard" is to speak out at the ballot box. If one person can persuade 50% of the remaining voting public to agree with their POV then you have yourselves a simple majority. (50% + 1 get it?) In our system, excepting the Senate, which is there for a reason, the simple majority wins. It really is that simple.

I will agree with one thing the tea-party crowd is saying however, there IS a fundamental flaw in our system today. If you want to know what that is, think again about the 47% of Americans that don't pay any taxes. Once that number hits the majority threshold, you might as well pack things up and start taking lessons in Mandarin Chinese. It's for this reason that I think opponents of the Tea Party are making a silly argument as well: The argument that taxes went down for some Americans this year. (Which is questionable for most making $60-$200K per year, or the traditional middle class, when overall tax burden is considered)

According to a recent survey, a majority of Tea Party protesters view their current taxes as "fair". So, what then, is the onus for going out and mis-spelling signs while dressed in bad patriotic dress? The fear that where we're headed is more France than Great Experiment in design. Yes there's a healthy distrust of "those people" and, to a large degree, you can look at the Tea Party as the last stand of the Caucasian majority as rising minorities storm the Bastille. Many Tea Party opponents choose to view it through that prism and, while not incorrect, it dismisses some of the more legitimate concerns that the group is voicing.*

It's true that I'm not a Tea Party fan, supporter or member, but neither do I identify with the counter-protesters (such as the coffee party) who are using logical fallacies and opinion-as-fact to counter what is basically a widely-held political opinion. Arguing that dutifully paying taxes without complaint is true patriotism or that loving the IRS is equal to supporting the troops are flat out fabrications. There's a wide area of disagreement over the term "fair share" and the IRS is only necessary under the current messed-up, political-payback, vote-grabbing, special interest-friendly behemoth we call a tax code.

Whether you're going out to drink coffee, sip tea, or rush to the post office at the last minute to avoid fines and penalties remember this: Just because the conventional wisdom is saying one thing, doesn't necessarily mean that's the best (or only) option. The right and left are going to keep howling, you can either join in the chorus or (like many historical greats) strike out your own path, hopefully it's a path that leads to the ballot box in November.


  1. I think a good part of the "problem" with the Tea Party is that the movement as a whole is not really organized (though some would have us think it is), and the publicity it has received to date has been remarkably one-sided (though many of those I know of in "leadership" roles in the various local efforts are minority, if you believe what you see/read in the news you would think that it is simply the KKK minus the bedsheets.)

    While not a part of the movement per se, I am definitely sympathetic to their issue regarding government (over)spending, an issue in which the Ds and the Rs are equally culpable (in that both are guilty of spending our grandchildren's money like there is no tomorrow.)

    Also, I don't care if it is Tea Party, Coffee Party, Red Bull Party, Code Pink, Code Blue, or Code Red: I don't have a problem with anyone/everyone speaking their piece in this country (after all, that is one of the things I placed my butt on the line in the USofAF to protect), although I don't like seeing pieces of dead baby as I drive down the road all that much, and I am really not a fan of the agent provocateur role as it is being played out.

    Lastly: the Contract with America (and the R retake of Congress) happened in 1994. I suspect the Rs went on a spending spree after they had been in power for awhile, and got comfortable.


  2. Heh...Ed proving once again that my army of free editors and fact-checkers is way better than those at ChronBlog.

    Good comments Ed, and I'll make the correction.


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