Quotes of the day

>> Thursday, April 15, 2010

Still, if you're looking for a cheap excuse to get the Fox News Militia fired up, Tax Day is a gimme. And why not? As viewed from the comfy confines of conservative punditry, taxes are a form of bureaucratic robbery.

You dittoheads know how it works: Every April 15, millions of decent, hardworking Americans get shaken down by the IRS, whose sadistic geeks make them fill out really complicated forms, then send checks. This moolah is handed directly to welfare queens and illegal immigrants, who are required to mate in the hopes of producing a Mongrel Super Race of Criminal Freeloaders. If there's any dough left over, it goes into the Super Secret Christian Baby Abortion Fund.

I can't really hope to compete with that narrative.

-Steve Almond, "Suck it, Tea Party: I love Tax Day";
Salon, April 15, 2010.

Some defended being on Social Security while fighting big government by saying that since they had paid into the system, they deserved the benefits.

Others could not explain the contradiction.

"That’s a conundrum, isn’t it?" asked Jodine White, 62, of Rocklin, Calif. "I don’t know what to say. Maybe I don’t want smaller government. I guess I want smaller government and my Social Security." She added, "I didn’t look at it from the perspective of losing things I need. I think I’ve changed my mind."

-Kate Zernike and Megan Thee-Brenan, "Poll Finds Tea Party Backers
Wealthier and More Educated"
The New York Times, April 14, 2010.
(h/t unfocusedme!)


Eric Thursday, April 15, 2010 at 12:19:00 PM EDT  

Bonus quote, also from the Almond piece, and one I believe in as a fundamental truth:

I would be happiest, as a taxpayer, if my return came with a survey, so I could check off those items toward which I wanted my taxes devoted. But that's not how it works. How it works is, if you want to live in America and partake of its bounty -- plentiful food and water, shelter, safe streets, schools and so on -- you pay your share. If folks don't like that, they can leave.

Seriously: while the Almond piece is a little tongue-in-cheek, it's also absolutely dead on; go read it in its entirety if you haven't yet.

Leanright,  Friday, April 16, 2010 at 10:32:00 PM EDT  

83% of unemployed Californians have been out of work for an average of 27 months. Higher corporate taxes should fix that. ( I would believe that statement if I were a COMPLETE MORON).

Fuck Jerry Brown. Meg Whitman for Governor.

Eric Saturday, April 17, 2010 at 10:28:00 AM EDT  

Dave, Dave, Dave.

I realize that you would prefer a society without roads, fire departments, schools, police officers, prisons, civil courts, criminal courts, a registry of deeds, social services, or public hospitals--much less one with welfare services for the disabled and unemployed. But the fact is that most people like the services they benefit from, even when they've given insanely little thought to how they're provided. I have yet to meet the conservative who drives over a pothole and says, "Well, that's okay as long as I'm paying lower taxes."

Which means that money for the kitty has to come from somewhere.

Now, there are some conservatives who say taxes are okay--if they're sales taxes or flat taxes or otherwise regressive taxes. The problem with those kinds of taxes is that they take a larger percentage share out of a poor person's pocket than they do out of a rich person's pocket. Which increases poverty and the attendant societal ills.

Now, as for corporations:

Corporations, as it happens, have a lot of money. They also exist entirely at the sufferance of the state. While free market conservatives and Randian types seem to be all in favor of corporations, what they seem to forget is that a corporation has no more rights to do anything, including exist, than the government that allowed them to be chartered as a corporation will suffer them to have. A corporation is not a person except insofar as a state says they are, cannot even exist unless the state allows them to register themselves into existence. Of course, that turns out to be a small price to pay--or ought to be--for the benefits that accrue to the actual people who make up the corporation and thereby limit their personal risk while pooling their productivity.

However, whining about alleged abuses of corporations by the government is ridiculous, silly and stupid. No state or government is obligated to allow the corporation to exist at all. In a sense, the state brought the corporation into this world, and to borrow a riff from Bill Cosby, sure as hell can take it out.

Which is not what California wants to do, I presume; I assume that California merely wants corporations registered to do business in California to pay a fair share for privileges like having access to Californian roads and graduates of Californian schools and having the property they're allowed to own as artificial, legal "persons" protected by Californian police officers and firemen. Otherwise, of course, you might have a situation in which low-income blue collar workers are subsidizing those services for artificial legal "persons" at a discount. Hardly seems fair, does it?

Thanks for playing.

leanright,  Saturday, April 17, 2010 at 7:12:00 PM EDT  

You seem to assume that I have zero tolerance for taxes. NOT the case. Yes, I understand that all that lovely stuff I use everyday is thanks to my tax dollars. I'm fine with that. There is a vast difference between being over taxed and reasonably taxed. I imagine that North Carolina doesn't have the tax burden of California? I just paid $576 to register my car for one year...I pay 8.75% sales tax.....My kids teachers go on strike next Tuesday. Yeah, it's a mess here. Let's just assume that YOU lived in a state with about 12.5% unemployment, and let's assume that you wanted the corporations in the great state of NC to get people back to work; Are higher corporate taxes going to accomplish that? Roads are great, they are even better when people can DRIVE on them to get to a JOB!

California has been run by tax and spend government for far too long. There is relatively no incentive for a company to base itself in California. It's logical to see that an employed state creates taxes in other ways. Income tax, sales tax, etc.

Please don't assume that I don't adore all of the amenities my taxes bring me. There is a point where being over taxed becomes a burden to individuals and the companies that would like to hire them.

Eric Sunday, April 18, 2010 at 12:33:00 AM EDT  

I'm not in a position to compare California's tax rate to North Carolina's, or--perhaps more relevantly--to compare the tax burdens of the respective states. It sounds like your sales tax burden is within a half-percent of a Charlotte resident's (the statewide sales tax is only 5.75%, but in the city of Charlotte the total sales tax is 8.25%).

Similarly, the unemployment rate in NC, as of the most recent data, is 11.8%. Congratulations, times are tough all over.

You seem to be focused on the disincentives for corporations to come to California. The fact is, however, that states routinely offer plenty of incentives to corporations--including considerable tax breaks for bringing in certain kinds of business. Corporations frequently seem to consider these incentives as if they're some sort of entitlement, seemingly forgetting that they only exist at the sufferance of states to begin with.

It's a fair argument, however, that there is a zero-sum game at play here, and that a corporation considering a tax hike in one state might choose to station itself instead in a state desperate enough to offer a tax cut, and that this may cause a loss of jobs in the first state. Unfortunately, this is a problem irrespective of tax hikes anywhere; that is to say, even if California cut corporate taxes, hoping to encourage business and jobs, North Carolina could attempt to cut corporate taxes more, and so on, until a corporation was gleefully getting a free ride. I don't have a solution to this problem; that's not true--one could avoid that problem by effectively abolishing state governments and Federalizing all tax and corporate registration, but that's not a legal solution under our system of government.

As for over-taxation: it's relative. Americans pay some of the lowest taxes in the world, and many of us still seem to think they're too high. Indeed, it would appear most Americans have no realistic sense of how taxes work at all, or how they're taxed relative to other countries, or how taxes have worked historically (Edge Of The American West recently made a wonderful point about the fact that income tax was originally a replacement for the high rate of tariffs; students of American history may also recall that tariff issues are sometimes cited as an alternative to slavery among the causes of the American Civil War).

At any rate, I do congratulate you for making an actual rebuttal argument this time instead of changing the subject to the real-or-alleged misfeasance of some other liberal somewhere. Thank you.

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