Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tea Parties

Today was a day of tea parties. I hope the government recognizes that we're not just upset about taxation, but also (and more importantly) about spending, because it's out of control.

I heard someone say that we are all happy to pay taxes. Well, I'm not. I would be if they were properly levied and used well, but they're not, so I'm not. The Constitution provides for excise taxes. That's all we should have. The 16th Amendment was an accidental result of congressional brinkmanship, the legislative equivalent of the Cuban Missile Crisis if both sides had launched nukes.

Excise taxes, by the way, are a brilliant solution that make sure the Federal government can't grow too large or extend its power too far.

To use a restaurant parable, think of sitting down to dinner, having a lovely time, and then getting the bill, which turns out to be much higher than you anticipated. Politely asking why that's the case, you're told you're helping to pay for the dinner of the diner at the next table, who's just not able to cover his family's tab.

You can accept that, though you'd have liked to have been asked before it was assumed you'd pay. Then the impecunious diner happily invites people from off the street to join him at your expense, and the restaurant threatens you with jail time if you don't continue to pay the bill. That's where we are now.

What would help change the situation?

1. Taxes must be visible. No more withholding. A fair tax model is the best, most Constitutional solution, but I'd be content with a flat tax.

2. Everyone must have a stake. It doesn't matter if you can't pay much, but you can't pay nothing. That way, when tax money is misused, everyone is outraged together.

3. We can't keep using taxpayer resources on people who aren't entitled to services. If we had unlimited resources, I'd want to take care of the entire planet. We don't have unlimited resources, we never will, and we can't keep pretending we do.

I've also heard some people, and seen some coverage, indicating these tea parties were partisan. They weren't. Many people of varying ideological backgrounds attended.

Conservatives are ticked at the taxing and spending.

Liberals are ticked at the way taxes are being used.

Here's an example of unacceptable spending policies in California.

Let's say you're a hypothetical person who is fine with really high taxes. Aren't you at least a little angry that a legislature has seen fit to cut disability payments before any serious layoff of state workers, or cuts to pork projects? I don't care how liberal you are, that's just ridiculous.

We're doing similar things at the Federal level, and it's likely your state is, too. Want to be sure? Have a look here, at Citizens Against Government Waste.

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