2011-12-09 / Columnists

It’s My Turn

On Death And Taxes
By Dr. Harold Paez


Dr. Harold Paez Dr. Harold Paez The subject of taxes and who is paying their fair share in society continues to be the theme of numerous articles at The Wave and of discussions across the land. In fact it appears to be President Obama’s re-election strategy judging by the way that the Democratic party has given its imprimatur to the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations through Democratic leader support. Additionally, the President has been all but silent as police forces in dozens of cities are left to deal with the cost and control of these “occupiers.” The Left in America has given its tacit approval as well, lining up behind this movement where the chants of “corporate greed” and “Down with Wall Street” echo from Manhattan to the streets of San Francisco. Setting aside the inherent hypocrisy to be found in a movement from the Left which advocates for change once again, while still controlling the White House, the Senate, academia and a compliant media, it boggles the mind as to why the efforts are centered on increasing taxes rather than cutting out of control spending. At the heart of this cognitive dissonance is a subtle but very important concept that is hardly discussed outright by those advocating for more taxation. That is, how far our elected government can go in confiscating the product of human labor and endeavor for its own purposes. Taxation has always been part of the “social contract” but even the writers of our foundation documents, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, were aware of the danger involved in a government too greedy to be concerned with over taxation. As Thomas Jefferson wrote: “A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government...”

Two hundred years later our nation finds itself 15 trillion dollars in debt, running trillion dollar deficits yearly and looking to tax the people even more. Where does the true blame lie? More importantly where is the solution to be found? Common sense dictates, based on experience past and present, that a nation which attempts to tax itself out of debt soon bumps up against that social contract once again but this time as a government at odds with the people which formed it, for that taxation becomes a form of oppression. It is easy to point fingers at the “wealthy” and call it a day or a slogan or even an election strategy. It is harder to understand and accept that free nations based on free market economies produce outliers in terms of wealth. This should not be seen necessarily, as a bad thing, no more than an average sampling of a hundred human beings will yield one which is tallest or one which is shortest. Nor should free markets be seen as a free-for-all. That’s where good government comes in. Corporate responsibility is also crucial. To that end, there are hundreds of huge corporate endowments which give billions yearly to charitable and humanistic causes while providing jobs, tax revenues and economic growth towards a prosperous middle class. Furthermore, in a nation in which the average individual classified as living in “poverty” has: sufficient food to eat, access to free healthcare, free education, and subsidies for free housing (this data comes from a recent Heritage Foundation analysis of the 2010 US Census), it becomes selfdefeating to call for a strategy of class warfare. What exactly are we trying to achieve when even our “revolutionaries” are well fed and have graduate degrees? A quick review of the Nutrition Table provided by a recent Department of Agriculture report reveals the prosperity of our nation where all childhood age groups, rich and poor, are receiving between 150 to 200 percent of FDA recommended daily allowances of food and nutrition in equal distribution. Emphasis on ALL groups “rich” and “poor.” Ms. Janet Kelly in her recent article in The Wave states that the current Estate Tax would yield an additional 400 Billion dollars over the next decade. That may be true, but how would that in any way address the ongoing Trillion dollar YEARLY deficits being incurred by our government? It becomes more of a straw man argument for class division when put into perspective with our profligate spending. As our government keeps spending money beyond its means and printing more at the Treasury Department the rise in interest rates that go with inflationary spending would quickly dissolve those “Death Tax” dollars with increased interest payments alone. Add to that the automatic yearly 8 percent increase in the government budget as afforded by the current “Baseline Bud geting” method and you quickly realize that taxing families who have produced jobs and industry and businesses, a second time upon death will do little to mitigate the enormous yearly outflow of dollars.

A quick math calculation will tell you that this government will allow itself another 200 Billion dollar spending increase next year while still running trillion dollar deficits! In two years you will have eaten up all the benefits gained from ten years of a confiscatory “Death Tax” while simultaneously ensuring that the families of those individuals taxed a second time around will be less likely to produce more jobs and more industry for a government too eager to confiscate their hard work. While marching on Wall Street may appear to be a great strategy for the Left (even if Wall Street gave far more to President Obama’s election than to his opponent in 2008) it ignores the elephant in the room which is: out of control spending. Economists have stated clearly that the best way to get out of our current national predicament and to avoid turning the credit liquidity crisis of 2008 into the much worse sovereign debt crisis of 2012, will require growing our way out of this problem with policies encouraging all Americans to prosper as opposed to encouraging Americans to storm the Bastille. Free market solutions which allow people to keep more of their money, to invest, to save, to start businesses and to spend on other free market endeavors. As our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grows, so do the fair tax revenues garnered from that prosperity. So do the jobs for those who seek them.

A balanced budget amendment would go a long way towards controlling a government grown too big to be concerned with the individual.

An end to yearly “baseline budget” increases might make Congress more accountable to Americans instead of the other way around. Major tax code reform and simplification would eliminate loopholes and the idea that the wealthy are getting away with not paying taxes. A clear energy policy instead of throwing half a billion dollars at companies like Solyndra or billions at Cash-for-Clunkers type schemes would be a starting point for renewed energy sector growth instead of dead end fiascos.

How about marching on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the quasi-governmental housing/lending agency which is asking for billions more in public funding while losing billions in public dollars yearly and seeking to pay its board members millions in “bonuses” this year?

The next time there’s a march on Washington, sign me up to meet with my fellow Americans at the Jefferson memorial with demands for a federal government more accountable to the people as opposed to being fearful of its demands on our children’s futures!

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Hey doc, while all of your

Hey doc, while all of your comments on death and taxes seems like common sense to the right, let's see how the comments come out next week from the lefties. This will be where you want to kill off the old, starve the poor, and not educate the kids rhetoric starts pouring out. We give more to the elders, more to the poor, and spend more on education than ever and it is never enough. There won't be a solution in any of the comments, just a verbal beat down on common sense. The fault that I perceive to be is that the left knows what will work but is afraid to deal with reality. Hey left side: Do the math. No, really add it up. If you took everything that every rich person had you could run the government for a few weeks. Then that would run out. Then no more new jobs. Then you have what you finally asked for. EVERYONE IS EQUALLY POOR. Trickle up poverty does not work.


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