May, Already?

Hi, there – haven’t forgotten the blog.   I’ve got a big event this week that I’m working on…..will be back after Wednesday.

Can you even read this comic?  It’s awful tiny, isn’t it?

From Nataliedee.com:

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9 Comments

  1. pino said,

    May 18, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    public roads

    You can argue that inter state infrastructure is the proper role of the Federal Government.

    public schools

    Is an example of one of the most local forms of public government you can find.

    public library

    Same as schools. Though in some places the library is a County entity.

    I don’t see how this pokes holes in the “Don’t let the Federal Government tax away my freedom”.

    • May 18, 2010 at 5:18 pm

      I wouldn’t word my argument quite the same, after all, it’s just a comic, right?

      That said, the federal government puts substantial funding (more than 10% of all education funds) into public schools, notably to fund special education needs. We could cover that ourselves, but only with additional local taxes.

      What amuses me is that much of the anti-tax crowd seems perfectly happy with accepting aid in the form of Medicare benefits, disability payments, social security payments, and so on. If they want to go off the grid that’s fine, but there’s a reason we have a social safety net.

      Further, (spending aside – that gets its own post) they completely overlook the fact that our taxes are very low right now.

      “Amid complaints about high taxes and calls for a smaller government, Americans paid their lowest level of taxes last year since Harry Truman’s presidency, a USA TODAY analysis of federal data found.

      Some conservative political movements such as the “Tea Party” have criticized federal spending as being out of control. While spending is up, taxes have fallen to exceptionally low levels.

      Federal, state and local income taxes consumed 9.2% of all personal income in 2009, the lowest rate since 1950, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reports. That rate is far below the historic average of 12% for the last half-century. The overall tax burden hit bottom in December at 8.8.% of income before rising slightly in the first three months of 2010.

      “The idea that taxes are high right now is pretty much nuts,” says Michael Ettlinger, head of economic policy at the liberal Center for American Progress. ”

      http://www.usatoday.com/money/perfi/taxes/2010-05-10-taxes_N.htm

      You are more than welcome to think that the federal government should be stripped of all but the most basic duties, but we’d just have to disagree on that. There’s nothing wrong with having different philosophies. Thanks for the comment.

      • pino said,

        May 18, 2010 at 8:59 pm

        That said, the federal government puts substantial funding (more than 10% of all education funds) into public schools, notably to fund special education needs

        And they shouldn’t.

        What amuses me is that much of the anti-tax crowd seems perfectly happy with accepting aid in the form of Medicare benefits, disability payments, social security payments, and so on.

        Two responses to that:

        1. They feel that they have given to the system their whole life. They should be able to take out. Or, stated another way, they are only asking for what was stolen from them.

        2. I strongly would disagree with the Federal government dumping money out of a truck on my street. But I’d pull over to pick it up.

        If they want to go off the grid that’s fine, but there’s a reason we have a social safety net.

        I would gladly sign away my claim to Social Security if you would agree to stop taxing me and my employer via FICA.

        Federal, state and local income taxes consumed 9.2% of all personal income in 2009, the lowest rate since 1950

        When less than half the population doesn’t pay taxes and 80% of THEM actually get money for being alive, the overall tax rate will look lower.

        If you look at the tax burden for those that pay it, the number is much different.

      • May 18, 2010 at 9:48 pm

        And I don’t mind paying additional taxes if it means that Americans as a whole will benefit. Fundamental difference of opinion, neither “wrong.”

        I would love to keep our social security and FICA in our pockets to invest as we please, but the truth is, most people, for many reasons (ignorance, optimism, misinformation, pure stupidity, etc.) would not invest wisely, if they actually invested at all (ie. pay bills, play the lottery, buy a Twilight-themed merchandise), thinking they could replace the money later. Even if controlling your own funds was just one option of many, loads of people would figure out how to screw themselves at the end of the day and we still have to pay for them. You just can’t have the elderly starving and freezing to death, even if it’s their own damn fault. I like the idea of having control of our own SS funds, but it’s simply not practical.

      • pino said,

        May 18, 2010 at 9:57 pm

        And I don’t mind paying additional taxes if it means that Americans as a whole will benefit. Fundamental difference of opinion, neither “wrong.”

        Fair enough.

        Would you agree that if we were allowed to keep that money America would be better served through private charity? Or, that the help the government “provides” may not be more than the help provided by investing that money?

      • May 18, 2010 at 10:17 pm

        I think charities do a lot of fine work. I donate to a number of them myself – local ones. I do not think that they can possibly fill the tremendous need there would be if people did not get SS checks.

        The truth is that food banks and shelters are completely overburdened as it is – donations are low due to the economic climate and they aren’t even serving their current clients as well as they would like. Somewhere on this blog, I delve into this topic a little further, IIRC.

        The other problem, and this is a big one, is that charities can turn away anyone they want. A church food bank could turn away a hungry atheist – or the hungry Muslim may (wrongly) assume that the Baptist church wouldn’t serve him and go without. Charities that did so on the basis of their religious practices might be constitutionally protected so laws might not be able to address this.

        They can also limit their good deeds to certain populations as part of their mission statement – women with children or only the homeless, for example, which cuts out a lot of those who are truly in need.

        And of course, there are geographical issues – people in a rural community may simply not have a charity available to serve them.

        Lastly, most charities are quick fixes – they do not solve the underlying problem. Canned soup may feed an elderly man for a week, but his need will remain for next week and the week after that – at least social security checks are constant, even if they are not overly generous.

        So no, I don’t think that is a viable solution. I think they have a place in our system and I think their work is commendable, but it isn’t the answer.

  2. May 18, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    Also, I have a big thing tomorrow morning – I shouldn’t even be on here. Distractions, distractions….

  3. John McKee said,

    May 19, 2010 at 1:58 am

    Tis a fine blog you run here, RL. I’ll have to get into the habit of visiting 🙂


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