Haven’t posted for a while – just been so busy with work. After being out of work for 10 months and then getting a job that works me 10+ hours a day 5-6 days a week, I’m definitely making up for it. But it does mean that the blog (among other things) gets neglected.
But during this time, I have listened to the news and read posts from most of you. And you know, thinking back over the past couple of months, we are still on the same topics. Obummer is still on the campaign trail trying to sell us on the "new" government-run healthcare, the media is still trashing the TEA Party movement, the Republicans are in disarray (at least in my opinion), and anyone opposed to Obummer’s policies or actions is a racist. Then there’s the international stage, of where the United States is rapidly becoming either a laughingstock or pariah, and is pissing off most of our traditional allies. Last is a financial crisis of governmental deficit spending that I believe will be the end of this country if not corrected immediately.
Which tells me that we are all in a big steaming bowl of "not good" in a hand-basket on the express train to Hell…
Quite frankly, the political / government system of the United States has moved so far away from what the Founders of this country had envisioned I wonder if we will ever get it back. The Founders knew that an informed and involved populace was necessary for the Republic to survive, thus the reason for the First Amendment right to Free Speech / Freedom of the Press. However, that has been hijacked by a media that is interested more in ratings points and support of one side of an issue rather than fairly presenting all sides of an issue.
We have also seen the advent of the professional politician. This creature dips into the public trough throughout their lives, voting benefits for themselves (healthcare and pensions) while supposedly serving the public’s interest. This creature, in my opinion, couldn’t support themselves in any useful fashion if it wasn’t for politics. It’s no wonder that the original Constitution required office holders and voters to be property owners and to receive no compensation for their service. Serving in a public office was considered an honor and a privilege, not a career path.
Government is no longer a government "by the people for the people", but is now a government taking care of the people through social programs. The recently passed health care legislation is only the last in a long line of government programs designed to "help" people. I submit that while some people need help once in a while when some misfortune falls upon them, that task was not the responsibility of the government of the United States. Instead, the government is to protect the rights of the population to "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness," and is not responsible for the success or failure of the individual in their "pursuit of Happiness."
But that is not the case, because what happens if you take away all incentive to improve oneself? Take this excerpt from a post back in 2006:
…I got to know the mentality of many of these people. The bottom line is that they feel do not have a way out, and since they feel that they have no way out, they are thus entitled to the Welfare. Yes, training was available for them to improve their educational background, but if they went through the training and got a job, their benefits would be cut to a level below that they would be receiving from the Government. Thus, in general, they were better off just sitting around & not working. Some people did go out & try to work, but not very many.
Moreover, what incentive does anyone have to succeed? I have heard that part of the Obummer tax plan would be to tax families or businesses earning more than $250,000 gross would be taxed at a higher rate. Why aspire to a higher level of income if you are going to have your hard work taken away from you?
Worse yet, the details of the costs of the government health plan are starting to surface, and it really doesn’t look good. In fact, it is a disaster of almost unimaginable proportions. It’s so bad that talk of a national VAT (value added tax) is being kicked around. Now if there is anything besides a national health care plan being a drain on an economy, it’s going to be a VAT. For those of you who don’t know how a VAT works, here’s a definition (from Wikipedia):
Value added tax (VAT) avoids the cascade effect of sales tax by taxing only the value added at each stage of production. For this reason, throughout the world, VAT has been gaining favour over traditional sales taxes. In principle, VAT applies to all provisions of goods and services. VAT is assessed and collected on the value of goods or services that have been provided every time there is a transaction (sale/purchase). The seller charges VAT to the buyer, and the seller pays this VAT to the government. If, however, the purchaser is not an end user, but the goods or services purchased are costs to its business, the tax it has paid for such purchases can be deducted from the tax it charges to its customers. The government only receives the difference, in other words, it is paid tax on the gross margin of each transaction, by each participant in the sales chain.
In many developing countries such as India, sales tax/VAT are key revenue sources as high unemployment and low per capita income render other income sources inadequate. However, there is strong opposition to this by many sub-national governments as it leads to an overall reduction in the revenue they collect as well as a loss of some autonomy.
Sales tax is normally charged on end users (consumers). The VAT mechanism means that the end-user tax is the same as it would be with a sales tax. The main difference is the extra accounting required by those in the middle of the supply chain; this disadvantage of VAT is balanced by application of the same tax to each member of the production chain regardless of its position in it and the position of its customers, reducing the effort required to check and certify their status. When the VAT system has few, if any, exemptions such as with GST in New Zealand, payment of VAT is even simpler.
A general economic idea is that if sales taxes exceed 10%, people start engaging in widespread tax evading activity (like buying over the Internet, pretending to be a business, buying at wholesale, buying products through an employer etc.) On the other hand, total VAT rates can rise above 10% without widespread evasion because of the novel collection mechanism. However, because of its particular mechanism of collection, VAT becomes quite easily the target of specific frauds like carousel fraud, which can be very expensive in terms of loss of tax incomes for states.
The bottom line is that you, the consumer, will pay more for your goods and services, and the government gets more money to waste after it takes its cut. And the politicians from both parties wonder why the TEA parties are popular…
Our government must be taken away from the professional politicians and returned to the people that it is to represent and protect. The Republican and Democratic political parties are more concerned with power than representing the people that elect their members to office. We see this time and time again with the irresponsible behaviors exhibited by our elected officials. The question is whether or not the People will wake up and take action in time to save this country.