Keys Posts 2012, Part 18

This entry is part 31 of 40 in the series 2012A

July 1, 2012

Taxes & Slavery

Duke: So, by your calculation, (Reference) sixty-something percent of the income I generate ends up going for taxes?

In other words, sixty-something percent of my labor ends up helping out our military, the elderly, the unemployed, victims of natural disasters, education, those in poverty, road & highways, many worthy causes in third-world countries, some of our threatened allies overseas, police & fire services, research, pollution reduction, the space program, and so on… is that right?

Sixty-something percent! Wow, I had no idea that my labor was making such a large positive contribution. No, I don’t necessarily agree with everything my taxes go for, but the net result is overwhelmingly positive instead of negative.

Thanks for letting me know!

JJ Yeah, it wouldn’t be so bad making the sacrifice if the whole 60+% went to worthy causes and was not wasted, but the government is so inefficient that about half the money is completely wasted and another half is not worthy making about 25% of our taxes going to something worthwhile. That’s why a 15% total tax bill (instead of 60%) is a lot more reasonable and could produce an even greater benefit than we have today.

Here’s an example of inefficiency: Obama’s Economists:

The Stimulus Has Cost $278,000 per Job

Here are examples of frivolous waste that has tremendous costs in addition to inefficiency:

The really bad part is we borrow money, in addition to high taxes, to do these things placing a great burden on our children and grandchildren.

 

July 1, 2012

Duke: Yes there is waste and inefficiency, but I do not accept your claim that only 25% of our taxes end up going to something worthwhile. Do you have a solid basis for that number, or is it based your broad assumption that half is wasted and the other half spend on something not worthwhile.

JJ It was an intelligent guess but I’ll be backing this up with some specific figures as this series I am writing continues.

Duke: Nor do I accept your equating the paying of taxes with slavery. I think you took one aspect of slavery and treated it as the whole of the matter, using wording that can also be applied to the paying of taxes by someone who begrudges them, and so you have extrapolated that paying taxes therefore equals slavery. Here is a somewhat more complete definition of slavery…

JJ Here is what I actually said in my post: “It is true that the overburdened taxpayer does not have all the restrictions of a plantation slave but a significant portion of his labor is forced upon him to pay taxes he doesn’t accept.”

I concluded that the core aspect of slavery is to be forced to labor against one’s will, but “the overburdened taxpayer does not have all the restrictions of a plantation slave.” This year the average person has to labor from Jan 1 to April 17 just to pay the taxes that are not hidden. That is a big chunk of freedom lost. I’d much rather spend that time having fun.

Duke: Housework probably has just (if not more) as much in common with slavery, but it is also not the same thing.

JJ You’ve gotta to be kidding. I can chose to do no housework if I want and no one will come after me but if I do not pay my taxes I can be fined and sent to jail. No comparison to either plantation slavery or taxpayer slavery.

Duke: Most people begrudge paying taxes because it’s easy to see the effect of money coming out of their pocket, and harder to see the benefits of a strong military, a good road system, programs that assist the disadvantage, education, research, reduced pollution, etc.

JJ I have no problem paying taxes for things that cannot be taken are of by free enterprise but whenever a group spends money that is not theirs with no accountability there is always tremendous waste and frivolousness in the name of doing good. I’m not going to just sit back and tell myself I am happy when over half my tax dollars are wasted.

Duke: And I was serious when I said that it was encouraging to learn that sixty-something percent of what I generate goes through the system as taxes at some point – it means my contribution actually amounts to something.

JJ Then by this reasoning if you increased your taxes to 80% you’d feel even better.

 

July 1, 2012

Duke: You can also choose to avoid having an income tax bill by simply nor working or working less, and no one will come after you and fine you or send you to jail unless you have outstanding debts, or incur debts that you do not pay.

JJ I disagree. You cannot just choose to have a non taxable income. There have been several years that I have had a very low income, but because I was self employed I still had to pay a self employment tax and if I didn’t do so then they would have come after me. Believe me in those lean years this tax money was very hard to come by and there was no option to not work.

 

July 1, 2012

Duke: Well you could theoretically have chosen to work for someone else, or even to be unemployed, if you really didn’t want to pay any income tax. But this is very much a side issue; the more important issues are a) whether or not taxation amounts to slavery, and b) whether most (about 75% by your reckoning) of the money we pay in taxes is wasted one way or another.

JJ I don’t maintain that paying taxes is slavery, for most are willing to pay a fair tax. I am saying that excessive taxation where we have to pay more than are willing, or go to jail, is a form of slavery. A slave has to work against his will for recompense that is much less than the fruit of his labor.

“For thus saith the LORD, Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money.

“For thus saith the Lord GOD, My people went down aforetime into Egypt to sojourn there; and the Assyrian oppressed them without cause. Now therefore, what have I here, saith the LORD, that my people is taken away for nought? they that rule over them make them to howl, saith the LORD; and my name continually every day is blasphemed.” Isa 52:3-4

 

July 2, 2012

 The Illusions that Grow Government              

This and your previous post on slavery/taxpayers was really good Rob. Did you write the slavery-taxpayers points yourself? If so, good job.

I hope you don’t mind me asking this of you but I think the group would find this of interest.

You are openly gay yet you do not fit the gay stereotype that is projected by the media. If you believe the media all gays are big liberals who want big government to give them more and more free stuff and services. I assume that you have a lot of gay friends. Do many of them think like you or do most of them fit the stereotype? Are any of them offended by the stereotype?

We have several gays on the list and they are all reasonable people – not really fitting the media stereotype. I have a nephew who is gay who reminds me a lot of you and is miles from the media stereotype. Anyway I think the group would find your comments on this subject interesting.

July 2, 2012

The main point to consider is that I did not equate over taxation as being exactly the same thing as plantation slave labor but that it has the prime component of slavery which is forced labor without recompense. What I am saying fits in with the following definition you quoted:

“…all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself voluntarily.”

This is the problem with many arguments is that one side will say; “Your definition does not exactly fit the parameters of my one definition so I will not accept it.” Most words have several layers of definitions and we have to look at the context of the argument to see if the person is using it accurately.

We had this same problem with the word “legal” a while back.

 

July 3, 2012

LWK In principle slavery should be simply defined as the condition of being forced to work for the benefit of others without your consent. “Force” is not necessarily some slave master with a whip, but government penalties and sanctions that make one accept one’s slavery as best available alternative.

JJ Good point Larry. Few would argue against the idea that the people in North Korea are slaves. The people are not bought and sold, they are not whipped to force them to work and they do not have many ingredients of plantation slavery. Yet they are definitely in a state of slavery for they are forced to toil against their will. All societies that have existed have possessed some ingredients that enslave people, some much more than others. To say that any nation is free of slavery ingredients because they do not have all the parts encapsulated in plantation slavery is way too black and white that misses the slavery principle by leaps and bounds.

 

July 5, 2012

Total freedom includes the freedom to harm. This freedom must be restricted to a degree but not completely. People are free to lie, betray friends, hurt feelings, attempt suicide, commit adultery which are harmful. It’s a judgment call which freedoms to do harmful actions need to be restricted. Some like rape and burglary definitely need to be restricted.

 

Jul 5, 2012

Compliments

Ruth: JJ, I also have a question for you as Teacher of this group, so that I can understand the psychological technique behind this.

When you compliment certain people (men usually), on their posts, do you compliment them for a reason? E.g. is there a particular motive behind your compliment, because I notice that you do not compliment everyone who may have made great posts in the past?

JJ I wind up complimenting more men than women mainly because men post a lot more than females do here. For instance, out of the last 65 posts only 10 were by females.

Of course I compliment people for a reason – I have a reason for everything I do, don’t you? A lot of people make good posts and if I complimented all of them the compliments would be fairly meaningless. I make a compliment when someone says something that I think is fairly original or particularly helpful to the discussion. The last two compliments I gave were on lists that originated with the writers own thinking. When I read Rob’s list I wondered if he wrote it himself or copied it somewhere. I thought it was good enough to have merited publication somewhere.

I complimented Dan on his original list of restrictions of freedom by government. It struck ne as something I may use myself.

I compliment not just on quality but on things I find particularly interesting and helpful. That may be different with me that for you or others. Others give compliments also which is good because everyone needs some encouragement now and then. I am certainly not the only judge of quality here. Ruth BTW I am not fishing for compliments either, because these days I do not care whether I am complimented or not on my posts.

JJ I think you do care as you have brought this subject up a number of times.

Ruth Isn’t a compliment really, in effect, catering to the other person’s lower self or ego, or trying to make the other person feel good about what they did?

JJ Why would you think this? Even God wants recognition for his work and wouldn’t let Moses enter the promised land because he did not give it to Him.

Flattery caters to the ego but this is based on illusion. A recognition of a work well done is very helpful and encouraging and even God likes a pat on the back.

By the way, you do a great job coming up with helpful quotes from a number of sources.

 

 

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