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Okay, so I will be the guy who asks the common-sense question about wealth and taxes: If they “hurt the rich” the way that the Occupy Movement says they would, why are all of these wealthy people supporting the party hiking taxes the most? The thing that no one tells you about taxes is that the super-wealthy “one-percenters” love them. They protect their investment by making it that much harder for us, the average person, to cut into their slice of the pie. The best part is that they get the assistance of the Federal Government, who will send armed men to your door and haul you off to jail. Just as King George III viewed taxes as a way to keep his wealth ahead of that of his subjects, the wealthiest political party in the world, the Democrats, protect the wealthy with taxes and overly complex tax codes.
A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to my girlfriend’s mom and she was telling me that my girlfriend would inherit their home when they die. I asked her how she could hate her loving daughter so much. You see the house is old, and I know for a fact that about half of the plumbing in the house is cast-iron and dates to the original construction in the 1930’s. Now, let’s walk through what happens once she takes possession of the house.
She receives the house, which we will say is currently valued at four hundred thousand dollars. The government gets at least fifty percent of all inheritances, by law. Why? So the wealthy can’t leave their money to their bratty ass kids? Well, let’s not forget the state of California, who will want their taxes, too (Just to be extra sure that California doesn’t wind up with an over-abundance of super-wealthy people).
She starts out with a $200,000 bill that she has no way of paying so she resolves to sell the house. Now the other shoe drops: She is legally required to have the house inspected before selling. You can imagine that that may not go well in a house this old, with two elderly owners who don’t even have the strength and stamina to cut the grass on their own. Aside from which, just the cost of materials would be prohibitive, but that is a moot point. State law says that the work must be done by licensed contractors, etc, etc, blah-blah-blah.
So, she can’t sell the house in order to keep up with the cost of receiving a free house, so the taxes come due. The government then comes in and seizes the property and everything in it and auctions it off to make up the difference (if the full difference isn’t covered, she will be responsible for the remaining balance).
Now, reread that and tell me if you think any one of those issues would even slow down a wealthy person with ivy-league accountants and attorneys working on the problem? Every one of them was voted into action by a Democrat, the party professing that they are “saving the middle class” (Never mind that the Middle Class is a myth, except to the British).
Here is the thing: The rich love taxes, because wealth isn’t taxed. Income is. So, if you are worth eighty-billion dollars, but you ensure your CEO position only pays the minimum wage, you will only be taxed on the minimum wage. Right now, a CPA is shouting at this paragraph about asset taxes and business taxes, but most Americans don’t deal with these and I am trying to make a specific point about the taxes that was all share in. What I will say, for the second time, is that again you can see where these other taxes contribute to the problem, if anything: They are barriers to new wealth.
Occupy Wallstreet, the movement that popularized the idea of class-warfare, wants you to believe that they are for the poor and downtrodden. However, some of their biggest contributors are super-wealthy. Are they working for the enemy, or what?
Well, no. They are distracting and repackaging the Democrat’s role in widening the income gap. The 2008 market disaster was caused by President Clinton’s efforts at housing reform in the nineties. A full marketing blitz ensued, up to and including a movie that drastically exaggerated misconduct on the part of the bankers. What really happened is he used the Urban Housing Committee to force high-risk loans, which defaulted at unprecedented rates. There were several other factors, however, this focus of this article is how taxes protect the wealthy.
Think of the “fight against poverty”: The Democrats shout that the only way to fight it is by taxing everyone, including the poor. Here we are almost a century into the war against poverty and, according to Democrats, we are worse off than ever. How does this happen?
Well, those people at the IRS collecting taxes? They don’t work for free. Neither does anyone working in the welfare programs that process applicants, approve payments, track statistics or any of the other things that are part of the structure. Nor do those entities get free land, construction, computers or any of the assets that they need to do that job. So, for every dollar we give the government to help the poor, less than fifteen cents reach them. That’s eighty-five percent of the taxes taken out of our pockets to pay the people who pay the people who need it (once the rigorous process of approval has been seen to over six-to-eight weeks). This is a favorite trick of un-news: They post the percentages of spending, divided by the tax revenue, but they leave out all of the overhead costs of running these departments. In other words, they leave out that eighty-five percent of the taxes that were spent the cost of the operation to skew the numbers.
Does any of this sound like a war on poverty? Because it sounds more like a concerted effort to limit the opportunities of those who aren’t already wealthy.
The best money I ever made was in the oilfield. About $80,000 a year. However, that means that that year I paid $24,000 in taxes. That is an entire annual salary in and of itself. That is a car that I could have purchased, giving a salesperson a commission, supporting an automaker and their employees and on and on. Instead, it went to cruise missiles, the DMV (which at this point, could be completely replaced by online services), to pay the government for their excellent job ensuring that they are paid and finally, to the specific demographics that the government approves to receive support.
If taxes are for our benefit, ponder why the poor are taxed in the first place? If you are a Wal-Mart cashier making minimum wage and you wind up $200 short on your rent, who did that to you? Wal-Mart, obviously. Those vile rich with their selfishness. So, you go get a job somewhere else, but it happens again. Damn, it is almost like no matter which company you work for, you keep getting short changed. That is why the government is moving towards a higher minimum wage.
“They established the minimum wage to help the poor, though!” No, they didn’t. They established the minimum wage to make the tax code more accurate. Let me reiterate: The minimum wage was not established to help anyone other than the government. It means that they can have a ballpark figure to work with and they have control of how much money people make. This has the easy marketability of charity, but it was never about that. Even today, the only people that will benefit from the wage hike is going to be the wealthy and the federal government.
Big government and big business are two sides of the same coin, though: Remember those taxes I mentioned that CPA’s would use to blow holes in my claim about wealth not being taxed? Well, they would be right. There are taxes for wealth, however, having wealth means that you can afford to pay a very expensive attorney to find the loopholes. Meanwhile, those building wealth have to figure it out for themselves and if you stumble, in comes the IRS to take everything away. So why aren’t the loopholes closed?
When you get your paycheck, your taxes are already withheld, right? Not so when you figure the sales tax on your own goods. You sell it for $29.99, plus tax, but you receive the tax from the customer and then declare what you sold and for how much to the IRS. They worry that people would misdeclare things, so it is just easier to keep us all working for large companies because a withheld income tax makes their collections easier.
That sounds fine, on the face of it, except that if we all benefit from taxes, why would anyone not pay them? I can only think of two reasons: Either they can’t afford to, or they feel you are spending their (the taxpayer’s) money in ways that they do not consent to have them used. Just in case you didn’t know: The second one is, by definition, illegal according to the US Constitution (and the first one being an issue of survival makes any morality superfluous). We have been sold the idea that taxes help us, but time and time again, government intervention made on behalf of “the war on poverty” makes it worse.
It is already happening in New York, where over 1,000 small businesses (mainly restaurants) closed down and all of those people are now out of work. However, the big chains, like Applebee’s, can now justify switching to automated tablets at the tables, and cutting their staff. If you read my article “buying the gap”, then you know that they will not lower their prices until their market reacts, so for the next year, maybe, expect the same prices, but their overhead will be lowered drastically and profits will soar. The wealthy will make money on the new minimum wage, but it will put millions out of work and close down many small businesses.
How does the federal government benefit? Well, if their income is based on the percentage of the money that is made, then more is obviously better. It is actually way more insidious than that, though. The more you make, the higher of a percentage you are required to pay. So, let’s just all hold our breaths until they change the tax code so that those affected don’t pay extra taxes, eh? You probably shouldn’t, though.
Still, the minimum wage workers will be better off, and that makes it worth the sacrifice for the rest of us, right? Not at all. I agree, that if we can all chip in and help these folks, we should. However, the minimum wage will leave them right back where they were, and that is if nothing goes wrong.
The best-case scenario is that in six months they will be back working two jobs, both for the new $15 an hour wage. Why? Because when the cost of running your business goes up, you raise your prices. This is also why companies never pay taxes. It is all “overhead” and their prices will be adjusted to cover it. When this happens with every business in every industry in the country, nothing is gained. The cost of all businesses goes up. This means rent, food, gas and everything that you buy. Then, to compound it, professions like nursing and construction will then demand more money, because they feel that their job is more demanding than being a Taco-Bell cashier. There is nothing wrong with any job, but to equate saving lives and making change is absurd.
Of course, the whole concept is wrapped around these weird pushes from super-wealthy celebrities. That is the weirdest part of all: People listening to millionaires tell them that millionaires are greedy and can’t be trusted to have their best interests at heart. Activists shout “class warfare” and point at billionaires, and they even get celebrity endorsements. That is the part of the platform that should give it away right there. How is it acceptable for Beyonce to make $80,000,000 for singing and dancing, but we find a company CEO with thousands of employees depending on them morally reprehensible for making twenty-two million? We demand “income equality” from the CEO, but not from the entertainers/sports stars/actors?
I am not, however, one of those people that thinks we need no taxes. Some issues require societal support, and to claim otherwise is to not be facing reality. Taxes, to some degree, are a necessity, but why are we always adding new taxes and never repealing them? We made WIC for single mothers because women were closed out of opportunities in the job market. Well, they aren’t anymore, but not only is the program still in place, fewer and fewer people qualify for it each year. Well, along comes a new problem leaving people in economic hardship, should we redesign things?
Why restructure when you can just ask for more taxes? Why allow cities, towns, and regions autonomy to offset high, or low local incomes when we can seize the resources of the entire country? Can’t we benefit more people with more money?
There is no benefit to the general populace in most taxes, though. The more of your money that remains in your own hands, the better control you have over your own success. It is that simple. Rich people don’t give a damn about hurting your bottom line, they only care about not hurting their own. The best way that they can protect it, is to tax everyone else. That is why we have a sliding scale for taxes instead of a 15% flat-rate. The more you make, the more of a threat you are to their market share. That is also why Democrats love inheritance taxes. Windfalls are petri dishes for economic development, and they can’t have that. My girlfriend will be crushed by the loss of her house, meanwhile Baron Trump will still get his dad’s billions.
If you think taxes are for your benefit, ask yourself this simple question: Why is it that every service that you pay for sends you a bill and your government withholds your taxes from you? Might it be that they are concerned that you might feel less than inclined to turn over the money? They withhold it because possession is nine-tenths of the law. Once they have it, you really have no say in the matter. You may, or may not, get a return based on the votes of Congress, who routinely exempt themselves from tax law.
Actually, it is worse than that, since they make the law. They keep a significant portion of your income for your own good. However, you can’t have it back (as in “receive welfare”) unless you qualify, which you only do because of what they kept it from you, for your own good. If you get a windfall, they tax that severely. It is like a trap built around every financial opportunity you will ever have. Why? Because Capitalism is shifting and makes things turbulent. Yes, we would deal with runaway greed, but then we would use the market to shut it down. We have fought off the “Age of the Robber-Baron” once, and we can do it again. Theodore Roosevelt didn’t institute taxes to create fair labor practices, or establish a minimum wage, but he presided over a Golden Age in American history and economic growth. Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt responded with taxes and left us in the Great Depression for a decade.