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View Diary: Bartlett:  Teabaggers Totally Ignorant About Taxes (276 comments)

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  •  Taxes are how we get things done (21+ / 0-)

    Behind all the mechanisms of U.S. government, there is one theoretical basis, that our government is one "of the people, by the people, and for the people" (and, yes, I know that's Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address").  We are the government.  Right?  Or wrong?  Let's decide.  

    When we are taxed by our government, aren't we really taxing ourselves, voluntarily, to pay for those things that we want to do and build collectively?  We have every right to insist that our taxes be used properly, but taxes are not "unnecessary" and they are not always onerous.  When you think about it, taxation is really the way we Americans get things done, collectively, without public ownership of the "means of production" (true socialism).  Taxation is really our best defense against socialism.  The attitude that we should all just take care of our own interests and forget about collectivism through government and taxation, is ludicrous.  

    How many miles of asphalt do you think you can afford to lay in your lifetime, how many miles of electrical line, how many dams and bridges you manage to build before you die, and how big do you think your national defense force can grow?  

    Taxes are America's way of getting things done.

    •  taxes stop us from getting things done (0+ / 0-)

      I could do a lot more if I didn't pay so much money for taxes.

      •  really? like what? (12+ / 0-)

        And it's no, nay, nay never no more!

        by gooners on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 06:09:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  No, You'd Be Busy Doing A Shipload of THings (23+ / 0-)

        for yourself that society does for you.

        You're way way out to lunch on how civilization functions. Look how the people of Somalia live, where the taxes and government are about zero. Survival, because no advanced economy can operate without government.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 06:32:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Please. How would you pay for the (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        majcmb1, Matt Z, Pinecone, wonderful world

        war in Iraq?

        BTW - if no taxes are so great, why are people in Somiali, Haiti doing so badly?

      •  so none of this gets done? (27+ / 0-)

        Social Security Medicare/Medicaid

        State Children’s Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP)

        Police, Fire, and Emergency Services

        US Postal Service

        Roads and Highways

        Air Travel (regulated by the socialist FAA)

        The US Railway System

        Public Subways and Metro Systems

        Public Bus and Lightrail Systems

        Rest Areas on Highways


        All Government-Funded Local/State Projects

        Public Water and Sewer Services (goodbye socialist toilet, shower, dishwasher, kitchen sink, outdoor hose!)

        Public and State Universities and Colleges

        Public Primary and Secondary Schools

        Sesame Street

        Publicly Funded Anti-Drug Use Education for Children

        Public Museums


        Public Parks and Beaches

        State and National Parks

        Public Zoos

        Unemployment Insurance

        Municipal Garbage and Recycling Services

        Treatment at Any Hospital or Clinic That Ever Received Funding From Local, State or Federal Government (pretty much all of them)

        Medical Services and Medications That Were Created or Derived From Any Government Grant or Research Funding (again, pretty much all of them)

        Socialist Byproducts of Government Investment Such as Duct Tape and Velcro (Nazi-NASA Inventions)

        Use of the Internets, email, and networked computers, as the DoD's ARPANET was the basis for subsequent computer networking

        Foodstuffs, Meats, Produce and Crops That Were Grown With, Fed With, Raised With or That Contain Inputs From Crops Grown With Government Subsidies

        Clothing Made from Crops (e.g. cotton) That Were Grown With or That Contain Inputs From Government Subsidies

        If a veteran of the government-run socialist US military, VA benefits ? Smithsonian Museums such as the Air and Space Museum or Museum of American History

        The socialist Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson Monuments

        The government-operated Statue of Liberty

        The Grand Canyon

        The socialist World War II and Vietnam Veterans Memorials

        The government-run socialist-propaganda location known as Arlington National Cemetery

        •  Sweet list (21+ / 0-)

          A list more complete than the one I was preparing :-)

          Several years ago (it would have been late 2003 or in 2004), I went to a meeting of the Libertarian party in Guntersville Alabama, thinking that I might get involved in helping the Libertarian Party elect local candidates to office.

          It didn't take long for me to understand that they were trying to achieve a totally unrealistic goal ... almost no government. In our modern world, that would be essentially chaotic and unworkable.

          For instance, they could never explain adequately who was gonna pave my street or collect garbage in Grassy, Alabama (Zip 35016) ... "you and your neighbors will do it yourselves.  Or you'll pool your resources and pay for it."  Huh?  Quite obviously, they didn't know my neighbors.  That was not going to happen.  And if city contractors, paid for partly with public tax revenue, didn't pick up trash in Grassy Alabama, it would be dumped off the side of the mountain on Thompson Falls road ... I saw the evidence left behind by those who refused to pay a nominal fee for garbage pickup.  That's what would happen if we just rely on the social conscience and the sense of personal responsibility that all of us feel.  And that would be a huge mistake.

          Oh, I see what the plan is ... the plan is to force compliance with social norms and to force individual responsibility.  That would become the government's primary role if the Libertarians have their way. Can you think of another country or society where government doesn't assume responsibility for such things as public health and social welfare, or infrastructure maintenance, but devoted itself to making sure that people abide by all social and moral strictures?  A society where the government forced people to "do the right thing"?  What country came to your mind?  Honestly, as much as some of us might like to see men publicly humiliated or beaten in the streets for wearing white athletic socks with sandals, that's not a feasible way to run a modern society.

          The Libertarian Party in Alabama wanted to do away will all government, but didn't seem to have figured out how we'd educate our kids, assure clean water to our homes, provide public health services, ensure the safety of our food supply, that sort of thing ... things that, all-in-all, governments do pretty well for most of us.  No, they do it damned well.

        •  I don't know of anybody -- not even the right (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pinecone, coffejoe

          wingers -- who argue that we should not pay ANY taxes.  

          The right wingers are fine with paying taxes for things like national security, infrastructure, public parks (which they see as part of infrastructure), police protection.  The kinds of things that the private market cannot do.  

          They think, however, that the federal government should not do much more than that.  They do not think that the federal government should be in the business of providing services and subsidies to people who do not have as many resource themselves.  They think that private charities should do that.  That's do not want to pay taxes to provide those things.  

          •  Yes, because charities always make sure to do the (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            one essential thing for the poor and downtrodden that the government safety net never does:

            Remind the peons of their place.

            Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

            by Robobagpiper on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 07:22:48 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I didn't say that view was correct, of course (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              it's simply a different philosophical view over what government is for.  

              My point was that arguments that "right wingers don't want to pay taxes for infrastructure, police, national security and the defense" is just wrong.  They do want to pay taxes for that.  Just not for a whole lot more.  

              •  I haven't seen a single sign from their rallies (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Matt Z, Pinecone, bushondrugs

                claiming they are OK with paying taxes for ANYTHING.

                As a matter of fact, I think these people think the war in Iraq was free.

                •  There are, of course, fringe wackos in (0+ / 0-)

                  every movement.  But if you actually TALK to the rational conservatives or libertarians (and there are a lot of them out there -- they are doctors, lawyers, CPA's, engineers, small business owners, etc.) that is what they will tell you. I work with a lot of them in my law firm, and I have right wing Christian Conservative relatives in California -- who are part of a very large similar group (think Rick Warren).  That is exactly their mantra.  The federal government should be only involved in a small number of things that private individuals and entities cannot do, and it should leave charity to private inidividuals and organizations.    

            •  they only take care of the "worthy" people (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Matt Z, Pinecone, Dar Nirron

              for example, the Catholic Church has withdrawm donations to a homeless shelter in Maine because the organization supported the gay marriage bill.
              And withdrew their donations to various orgs in DC because they legalized gay marriage.

              Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul, And sings the tune--without the words, And never stops at all. -Emily Dickinson

              by skohayes on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 07:52:21 AM PDT

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              •  That is true, to an extent (0+ / 0-)

                they are much, much more likely to think that people who make bad choices in life should have to live with the consequences of those choices.  They are much more likely to be willing to help the disabled, because they see that as something beyond their control, than they are willing to help someone who dropped out of high school, because they see that as a personal choice.  (For those people, they are more willing to provide free schooling than a subsidy.)  That's what I hear from them.  

                Actually, the philosophical reason they think charity should be left to the individual is because, in their words, "It's my money.  I earned it. If it's charity, I ought to be able to decide who I give it to."

          •  But what they fail to understand is the national (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Matt Z, Pinecone, skohayes, bushondrugs

            security eats up a big portion of taxes. Heck, we pay as much for our national security as the rest of the world combined.

            These people are OK with a big "socialistic" government as long as it spend on things THEY approve of.

            With that in mind, how the heck are they ANY different than progressives. Just like the tea baggers we also want a big government. The only difference is how we spend it.

            In other words, to spend for the excessive national security, they want high taxes just like the rest of us.

            •  I'm sick of our socialized wars. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Matt Z, Pinecone

              I am looking forward to Obama getting us out of Iraq.

              A Wall Street "bonus" should not be more than what my house is currently worth.

              by bushondrugs on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 07:43:49 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Actually, not really (0+ / 0-)

              for FY 2009, Federal Defense Spending was about 23% of overall federal spending.  SS and Medicare combined was about 39%.  

              But I agree that people on the right and on the left do not want to pay taxes for things that they do not think the federal government should be doing.  It's just that those on the right have different notions of what the federal government should be doing than those on the left.  

              •  Two points. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                First - you had to combine SS and Medicare to get a number bigger than defense.

                Second - the actual claim was that we spent more on defense than the rest of the world combined.  I don't know if that is true or not, but that was the actual statement made.

                •  My point is that (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  defense is less than a quarter of the budget.  So, if you reduced the federal government to only those things the right wingers or libertarians thought the federal government should be doing (like defense and infrastructure), then yes, we'd all pay a lot less in taxes.  

                  •  TBU .... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    be the change you seek

                    A phrase I learned from reading "Switch" - a book about successful change initiatives.

                    TBU = True But Useless

                    In this case, yes - you are right, but the odds of any elected federal government eliminating Social Security, Medicare, and refusing to pay interest is so unlikely that the conclusion is "True But Useless."  Except as it might help us understand how bizarre their thinking really is.

        •  Well, it definitely depends on what type of (0+ / 0-)

          culture/society you want to live in. For example, I imagine may ancient Indian tribes were happier with their lives living from the land than many of us in our high-tech society today (and of course didn't have to pay taxes).

          Morevover, its sometimes hard to define what "paying taxes" is. Take, for example, people living in North Korea. It wouldn't surprise me if large portions of the population weren't required to pay taxes at all- they just get a voucher for bread once or twice a week. Still, they have streets, etc. Since everyone in this case works for the government, they still paid taxes "indirectly".

          If the public option leads the US to Communism, then maybe we should spread Democracy by sending our for profit insurers to Iraq, Af., NK, China and Cuba.

          by FudgeFighter on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 08:01:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  You forgot Tang ® (0+ / 0-)

          NASA created the fuel for thousands of kids in the 60's so they could go out and protest their govt now.

          Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul in this world--and never will. Mark Twain

          by whoknu on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 08:15:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Everybody daydreams (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        about the things they could have if they didn't pay THEIR taxes. However, all that daydreaming is done in the context of everyone else having paid their taxes so that all the common goods and services are still available. If you had to, in actuality, pay for all your peripheral needs out of your own pocket, with no social cooperation, you would be well and truly screwed. As I said to your buddy above, Somalia ought to look pretty damned good to someone with your attitude.

        Life isn't a battle between good and evil, it's a battle between signal and noise.

        by ChemBob on Sat Mar 27, 2010 at 07:24:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  How is it that YOU pay so much in taxes (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        be the change you seek

        when you were certain you lost your job for smoking pot?

      •  stupid idiotic right wing talking point (0+ / 0-)

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