Friday, July 8, 2011

So Tax is Theft?

Rand Paul, R, Kentucky

I'm probably going to write about this at some length, but for now here's just a little starter.  I've heard quite a number of "conservatives" assert that "tax is theft."  If so, what is it when some guys kick down your door and steal all your stuff?  And are you just calling more thieves when you call the cops to report the crime?  When we get done with this tax is theft policy the GOP is putting into practice, there won't be any more cops to call.  Meanwhile, the fact will remain--people will make every effort to survive, and for some, kicking down your door is exactly what that effort entails.

It's Saturday now, and getting towards 95 outside, with more or less 100% humidity, plus a veritable bloom of midsummer ticks, both the big'uns and the teenincy ones.  Might as well carry on with this here in the kitchen, with a cup of coffee and a doughnut.

What worries me, and particularly about the future as the generation now in its 20s and 30s faces it, is that this destructive ignorance which seems to be carrying the day with regard to our shared social world--our life as Americans if you like--is demolishing important and subtle features of life which it took many decades to create, and at a time when most people did believe in the "common good."  Today, on every hand, are examples of this ignorace knighted with power that simply boggle the mind.  Just this morning I read a transcript of some congressional conversation concerning cuts in Social Security which used, as an example, the wonderful, shoulder-shrugging idea that "if you can't afford a Mercedes, well, just by an Acura this time around."  Hey, great idea.  Where's my head-slap key.  In fact, real people are choosing between getting that hurting tooth fixed and getting enough food in the house to last till the next month's red letter day--the day that next little social security check arrives.  People talk about gramps moving in with the kids as though even that is at least an option--might be, but only if you have kids and if they aren't going to be sent over their own edge by such an eventuality.

Then, over at another place in this squeezed balloon, we're now fine with totally messing up a child's life just because their parents came here when they were an infant looking for work (and maybe they were in that boat because some rich people in America decided the NAFTA law was a great idea?)  Just sayin'.  I saw a moment the other day where a sweet little 9 year old girl was having to translate her parents through a complicated situation because neither of them could speak enough English to get what was happening.  Let's think about that, shall we.  First, this little kid sure does have a lot of responsibility on her--how'd that affecting her childhood?  Second, she's speaking English just like a "native," and that's because she is one to all intents and purposes.  So what happens to her if her mom and dad get arrested for not having documents?

And why is that the current state of affairs in America, that we would ever think blowing up a child's family was ok, and particularly in pursuit of some abstract concept defined as "well, they shouldn't have walked across the desert with their baby 8 years ago just to get a job they desperately needed to survive.  They should have jumped through all the hoops, period."  If they didn't, well it's just too bad for this little earnest child who deserves a medal for bravery and courage, and might well grow up to be as fine an American as we could ever imagine.  Where are these selfish people coming from?  (And why do so many of them claim in the most strident of voices to be Christian, of all things?) 

It's a great concern to me that our Democratic President is apparently willing to collaborate with these champions of selfishness and self-concern.  Who's going to make a stand if not Mr. Obama?   Certainly no one in the Republican Presidential Hopeful ranks.  All they offer, every one, is arguments justifying cruelty, selfishness, self-servingness, and the general attitude that each person fending for himself is the true American Way.  There are so many arguments to this awful conclusion that I think millions of our fellow citizens--worried as I am about the future--just memorize this stuff as an aid to better digestion and sleep.

If it's all torn down, this already tattered social fabric, does any one think it will be reparable?   This isn't like a bridge in Minneapolis, or a tornado ravaged town in Missouri.  And there are other symptoms--symptoms which indicate to me that the big money already owns the whole game.  Consider that last week gas taxes went up about $.02 on the dollar.  I don't know what happened where you live, but here in central NC, gas prices immediately went up about a dime.  What's that, if not a clear message to government--Do not mess with us, we will hurt you back, and instantly.  Seems like the oil companies might see it another way--that our oil-dependent world is their cash cow, that in a way they owe us for their success.  Exxon keeps setting profit records, year after year.  And they probably also chip in a few million to people who can articulately sneer at any idea which might mitigate our oil dependence.  The result?  It's physics: try taxing them and they'll cube the tax right back at the consumer, and give Mrs. Soccer Mom a nice free pamphlet with her fill up suggesting that her gas price might go down if she votes for folks who want to drill the continental shelf.  And it's all codified now, via Citizens United.

It's going to be an interesting month, August.  We haven't even started watching the hurricane map around here, and I'm still heating with the trees that Fran knocked down in '96.  Here's something you can do at this very moment.  It might matter:

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