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We are all familiar with the expression that "the road to hell is paved with good intentions." But, what we assume this means is that things don't always turn out as planned or even that good intentions are not enough.

What I'd like to suggest is that, as often as not, when injury results, "good intentions" are an excuse or distraction designed to hide that intentions are misleading, at best, and never good. In other words, "good intentions" is a euphemism to disguise the antagonism which propels any number of humans to abuse their own kind, as well as the tools we have created to shape our environment.

Abuse, as in the misuse of things for purposes other than they were designed for, is rampant in the U.S. I've previously suggested that perhaps our fixation with death is to blame for lesser evils (abuse and torture) being overlooked. But, whatever the cause, there is no question that abuse is rampant and addressing it piecemeal by offering special protection in the law for "protected populations" is having little positive effect. Child abuse, spousal abuse, elder abuse, sexual abuse, as well as the contamination of air, land and water with toxins, are all increasing. And much of it is legal.

Some of us consider the exploitation and abuse of our fellow man evil. But that's because we subscribe to the liberal premise that all men are not just created equal, but good; that bad behavior is the exception, not the rule. Not so our neighbors who call themselves "conservatives." When they consider their fellow man, they rely on the preconceived notion that all men are created evil (originally sinful) to arrive at the conclusion that we set up governments to make them good. In other words, people need to be coerced.  The only remaining question is how that is best (most efficiently) achieved. Which works best, punishment or reward?

Since punishment tends to generate resistance, our "conservative" friends have opted for a judicious mixture of both--rewards or benefits for their friends and punishment or deprivation for enemies and inconsequential people. Inconsequentials are useful to the extent they can be relied on not to fight back and to serve as an exemplar and thereby avoid having to target some people directly. In other words, indirection and misdirection are critical to an agenda of deprivation. Good intentions, as noted above, are a convenient excuse.

But where, you ask, does the IRS come in?  We're all familiar with the expression that "nothing is certain but death and taxes," so we might just as well leave it at that. But, in fact, while death is certain and so is change, taxes are not only not certain, but routinely avoided and exempted as a component of the web of rewards and punishments our conservative friends employ to coerce compliance. And, while it may seem ironic, the realization that taxes are neither certain, nor inevitable, leads to the realization that the power to tax is perhaps being abused.

Not immediately. In order to perceive that, at least on the federal level, where the agency which issues the dollars then aims to collect them as revenue, we have to consider whether there is a useful purpose to collecting taxes that is being or liable to being abused. We have to consider, or should, that, since the Treasury can issue currency in unlimited amounts, it isn't necessary to first collect what is being spent for public purposes--that the common wisdom about which comes first and which comes second (taxes or spending) is wrong. But, if so, then what purpose is there in the IRS collecting revenues. If the dollars aren't needed and taxes aren't designed to reward and punish, though using them as such is abusive, what's the point of revenue collection?

Oddly enough, the answer is in the word "revenue." The object of federal tax collection is to bring the currency back where it started from, to "give unto Caesar that which is Caesar's," because that is the proper function of currency; it needs to move, to cycle through the economy and be properly accounted for, instead of having to keep issuing new--a practical impossibility as long as the currency was fashioned out of relatively scarce minerals. Hoarding was obviously always a problem, abusive of the economy as a whole, much as restricting access to other measuring and communications tools would be, but it is a problem much exacerbated, now that the potential supply of currency is virtually unlimited, by the impulse to save/hoard turning into an obsession on the part of people determined to retain the ability to reward and punish and exercise control.

If the object of taxes on the federal level were merely to recycle the currency through the Treasury and take an accurate measure of the economy, no income or transaction would be exempt. Moreover, the rate or percentage of any transaction to be sent back would be irrelevant--just enough to provide an accurate measure and keep the dollars moving at a good pace. That they're currently not is evidenced by this graph from the St. Louis Federal  Reserve Bank (which I have now use some two dozen times, despite my reluctance to be repetitive).

To conclude, if the purpose of federal taxation is to recycle the currency back through the Treasury, then the prevalence of exemptions and preferential treatment is, on its face, evidence of abuse. Equal treatment is an obligation that's imposed by the Constitution on our agents of government, first and foremost of which are our representatives in Congress. So, if those elected public servants are employing the revenue collection process or regimen to advantage some populations and disadvantage others in the interest of securing their own tenure in office, then those representatives have to be removed. We, the voters, might even ask ourselves whether the "recipients" of the Congressional munificence, the banksters, whom many of us would like to see in prison, are more guilty of malfeasance than members of Congress, who subscribe to the dictum that there shall be no free lunch and even propose to starve the children of parents, who aren't sufficiently compliant to work for next to nothing and refuse to expire (like the inconsequential workers in Bangladesh) in the prime of life from injuries on the job.

The Cons do not mean well. Generous people need to stop assuming that they do.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (10+ / 0-)

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Fri May 17, 2013 at 08:43:52 AM PDT

  •  I have to admit my views on taxes have (4+ / 0-)

    been evolving.

    I used to pay them freely, in good conscience. This is not to say that I don't have a good CPA. I do. But I've never resented the taxes I've paid, and I've paid more than six figures multiple times.

    The abuses of disaster capitalism on the taxpayer, however, have been changing my mind. Wars and tax cuts for the rich and corporate welfare and bail-outs were not what I had in mind, yet they have become such an enormous part of the budget. I'm less inclined to want to pay taxes when most is going to a bad cause, especially since much of the safety net is paid for through its own set of taxes.

    Perhaps we ought to be focused on avoiding taxes through the use of parallel economies using mutual currencies and developing our own safety nets in stronger families and communities? I don't know, but I'm exploring that possibility.

    From here on out, no one can escape the havoc wrought by the unmitigated Class, Climate and Terror Wars.

    by Words In Action on Fri May 17, 2013 at 09:03:13 AM PDT

    •  A common currency is a convenience. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite, myboo, Eric Nelson, native

      It's likely why the countries in the euro zone recently opted for it. It is convenient not to have to deal with the ones changers all the time. But, I suspect it wasn't anticipated that the money changers would exact their pounds of flesh in other ways.
      Their recent experience has given us the opportunity to appreciate the situation of the states since the end of the Civil War. That one of the first things the Confederacy did was issue its own currency is probably not insignificant, albeit not emphasized, as far as I am aware, in the histories of the era.
      Did distrust of the Confederacy lead to the demise of their dollar, or did the refusal to credit their currency hasten the demise of the Confederacy?

      Is it a fluke that the Cons are messing with the currency? Money and the law are their tools of subordination.

      We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

      by hannah on Fri May 17, 2013 at 09:38:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tipped & rec'ed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hannah, Eric Nelson
  •  The bankers or congress? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hannah, native
    We, the voters, might even ask ourselves whether the "recipients" of the Congressional munificence, the banksters, whom many of us would like to see in prison, are more guilty of malfeasance than members of Congress, who subscribe to the dictum that there shall be no free lunch and even propose to starve the children of parents, who aren't sufficiently compliant to work for next to nothing and refuse to expire (like the inconsequential workers in Bangladesh) in the prime of life from injuries on the job.
    In this latest 2013 "scandal" it was a decision by Crane C. Hauser - Chief council of IRS who recognized that there was a probliem with the 1959 re-interpretation of the 1954 law on 501(c)4 social welfare tax exemption law.

    Hauser wrote (in 1962 or there abouts):

    "..a policy decision as to whether the language of the statute or the language of the regulations controls should be reached.."
    ..Hauser was referring to the change from the orginal 501(c)4 law which used the word exclusively only when defining the terms of a social welfare program. The change was to re-define that word to mean primarily to further the common good...

    IRS had no authority to make this change. So in this case it was the fault of IRS. But it seems almost certain that it was congress critters and their rich constituents/cronies that decided to let this re-interpretation slide. A social welfare program becomes a vehicle to establish shell corporations to launder tax exempt money anonymously

    Not for 99% of working folk.

    And who benefits most (or actually - who is the only beneficiary) from making taxes hated as punishment to be avoided and part of an "evil" govt?  The richest who are lawyererd up to avoid them.

    Again not the little guy.

    And after us "little people" are persuaded that..

    taxes are not only not certain, but routinely avoided and exempted as a component of the web of rewards and punishments our conservative friends employ to coerce compliance. And, while it may seem ironic, the realization that taxes are neither certain, nor inevitable, leads to the realization that the power to tax is perhaps being abused.
    ..we are steered away from the real abusers and deprivators.

    The Rich who benefit get the little people to fight for what benefits not the little guy, but the richest.

    Answer: both - congress, upper & lower is the banks in way too many ways - imo

    source:Lawrence O'Donnell ;former chief of staff of the Senate finance committe and MSNBC's host of "The Last Word"

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