Have you ever leaped into the heart of a raging fire to rescue someone trapped by the flames? Have you ever stepped into the middle of a domestic dispute to keep it from escalating into violence? Have you ever taught in an inner city classroom plagued by indifference and hostility? Have you ever tended and comforted patients with some fatal and contagious disease? Have you ever put your life on hold to aid the victims of some natural or man-made catastrophe halfway around the world? Have you even ever spent the day hauling away people’s garbage or cleaning their houses or doing some other equally unpleasant job?
I doubt you’ve done most, if even one, of those tasks. I also expect you think someone should do them; and I expect you think mayors and governors and presidents should advocate — and sometimes order — that people put themselves in harm’s way to see those tasks done, even if they have not done those things themselves.
Regarding the question of private vs. public agency/employee performance and, specifically, the question of “conflicts of interest” when private entities are doing public work: Why does everyone seem to assume — and why do you and most of those you invite to speak on your program grant — that “public servants” are immune to the lure of self-interest and conflicts-of-interest that are presumed to be the hallmark of “private enterprise”?
Regardless of how it may or may not benefit the banks themselves, the ability to pay for purchases with a debit card is a service of convenience that a bank provides its customers; and they have every right to charge for it at whatever rate they choose.
In practice — and the reason taxes inspire such animus — as often as not taxes are really the price we pay for what other people want.
What assurance can you offer me that, if I go along with a robust governmental stimulus financed by debt and inflation now, then the Congress and the President will follow through with austerity programs to resolve that debt and inflation later?
Because, unless you (or someone) can provide such assurances, can convince me that our politicians and government bureaucrats will suddenly change their approach to fiscal policy and behave in the rational way that economists would advise them to do, I and many like me cannot support such stimulative policies.
Thank you so much for putting this all in “perspective”! What did we learn from this, even before any actual issues were discussed?
- If you want to find the “Tea Party”, you go to the “Bible Belt”; and you do not merely go to the Bible Belt, but you look for the Moral Majority; and you do not merely look for the Moral Majority, you seek out “Jerry Falwell’s” Liberty University, the central asylum for the misogynist, evolution-denying, gay-hating, xenophobic, flat-earth Christian Right.
- Tea Partiers are inherently untrustworthy. They can’t even be expected to be honest about whether or not the Tea Party has leaders. Of course it has leaders: we found them, at Liberty University! Well, technically it wasn’t Liberty University but Lynchburg, VA — but that’s the same thing, right? And, since these are the “leaders” of the Tea Party (we told you so!), what they say naturally reflects what the Tea Party stands for. In its entirety.
- Tea Partiers all speak in funny rural accents that good, sophisticated, intellectual NPR listeners automatically associate with ignorance, racism, parochialism, and lunatic faith. They are rustic.
- Tea Partiers are all fundamentally ignorant people with empty heads and no curiosity, just primed to be brainwashed by the manipulations of the right-wing media machine.
- Tea Partiers learned everything they know about politics and government from FOX news. Which means the Tea Party is really directed by Glenn Beck.
So, of course, having already gotten all that background, we can safely, sanctimoniously, and in good conscience, ignore everything else that is said by anyone interviewed because, well, it’s all the product of ignorance and superstition….
Do you think that maybe your pre-judgement — dare we call it “bias”? — about what the Tea Party is, what it stands for, and who supports it, might have skewed your reporting on it just a bit?
“No taxation without representation” was the rallying cry of the American revolution, an explicit acknowledgement that the role of taxpayer — the role of providing financial support to government — is an overtly political one. If corporations are not individuals for political purposes, then they should not be taxed as individual entities. If corporations are really no more than aggregates of their stakeholders, and have no right to political participation other than through those stakeholders, then political duties, including the paying of taxes, should also apply strictly and purely through those stakeholders.
When, in the history of the world, has separating the authority to act and the responsibility for the consequences ever resulted in anything good?
I actually think the Estate Tax has a beneficial consequence in preventing the establishment of multi-generational economic dynasties. Apart from the potential detrimental effects of such dynasties on society and the economy, they do spiritual damage to those who inherit them: handing someone “success” without any need for effort or sacrifice is almost always a recipe for intellectual, psychological, and moral dissipation.
My objections to the estate tax — and to other tax policies — are based more on basic ideas of economic fairness and on the cultural ideals of “family”.
Suppose you want me to pay for your health care — or for your mortgage, or for your car, or for your iPod, or for anything else you feel you really need but can’t afford — and I don’t want to do so. If you point a gun at me and tell me to give you the money, it would be armed robbery. Everyone knows you don’t take what isn’t yours by force just because you want it. That would be wrong.
So, instead, you convince your Congressman to take the money from me, as a “tax”, and to give it to you. Why does that suddenly make it right?
What if I still don’t want to pay? What if I refuse — what do you think is going to happen? Federal agents will point guns at me and tell me to give them the money. Is taking my money by force suddenly righteous, rather than outrageous, because you outsourced the job? Is that what democracy is supposed to be about — lending moral authority to what would otherwise be morally reprehensible?