A Taxing Day-LK’s WOR BroadKast 4/18/11

LK’s jury is in: a higher top tax rate means better times ahead for all, the rich included. Dr. John joins a local protest and returns with a poignant reminder of the brighter side of America. LK points out the folly of attempting to change heartsand minds in a region that might as well be another planet.

Here’s the link.

All Protests Are Local

Today was the tax the rich/make them pay protest in my little town.  To be honest, it was a little rainy, I stayed up kind of late watching the Red Wings go down to the Canucks, and I needed to cut the grass.  But, since I made the commitment, I had to honor it, and so I headed down to meet the other anarchists.  Carefully hiding my Jaguar down the block, I ducked into Starbucks, gulped down a coffee and covertly trashed the corporate logo’d cup.  Clean of upper middle class trappings, I was ready.

At ground zero, about 60 people were milling around and chatting.  I was welcomed, asked to sign in, and handed a huge sign board.  No one mentioned SIGNS!!!
I actually felt surveillance cameras on me!  It hit me right then that my radical college days behind me, I have turned into a wimp.  I tried hiding my sign upside down, then behind some branches and even passing it off to a signless geriatric couple.  Pathetic, I know.

But then, something happened… I looked around and saw the determination of the people surrounding me.  Their absolute belief that they were making a difference by lining up along a tiny village street and announcing that things were absurdly wrong ice-watered my subdued self.   With that, and the passing cars tooting their horns in support, I actually joined the crowd. I chatted, proudly lifted my sign, and exchanged info, like Wells Fargo will have to reimburse 115 million dollars in undeserved tax write-offs, and this tax season neither Bank of America nor Wells Fargo will have to pay any federal income taxes.

I talked to vets, and laughed with the others as a little kid in a passing-by Bentley threw us the peace sign and his mom almost threw him in the back seat.  I even welcomed the cops as they pulled up.  Great, I thought… we need this publicity!  Yeah, I was a WE.
But, the cops were friendly and just asked us to stay on the sidewalk.  One even fist pumped as he drove away.

The thing that really got me though,  was the pure, focused, singular agenda these folks were about.  Clearly, not even the local news outlets were going to cover this event, and it wasn’t a sunny day with nothing to do.  There wasn’t even free donuts and coffee.  Nope.  They were there to be heard.  Democracy.

My wonderful country, tarnished, lop sided, and even stinking of corruption,  still remains one of the few places where the people can speak out without fear.  As I left, I realized I was blessed to live here.

Taxation Without Justification

editor’s note: we’re reprinting LK’s piece from February 25th, when the notion of a tea party was just a gleam in a libertarian’s eye.  Enjoy.

I pay my taxes every year with begrudging acceptance. I’m aware of the umbrella of security my tax dollars pay for. I’m grateful for the military, the libraries, the arts, the social services, the emergency services, and, if needs be, the basic necessities that are provided to me and my fellow citizens, in large part because of our tax dollars. I’m still not crazy about parting with the money. But until now, it seemed like a fair swap, $600 hammers notwithstanding.

This year my begrudging acceptance is morphing into raw fury. Paying taxes has turned from a civic duty to a nauseating leap of faith.

Now make no mistake, I’m a charitable sort. So much so that my accountant just informed me that the percentage of my income donated to charitable causes is high enough, for someone in my modest income bracket, to raise a red flag in the IRS dungeon deep within the bowels of the Treasury building.

Clearly I’m not adverse to lending a helping hand. I’m just not big on lending a trillion dollars.

I have no problem having my tax dollars pay for the victims of natural disasters. Following Katrina, and despite the horrific ineptitude of Brownie and Bushie, I’ve never for a moment regretted my money being used in the attempt to salvage what was left of the lives of folks I’ve never met and may well never meet. I’ll never fly in the space shuttle, but I’m happy to contribute to the well being of those who do. I’m happy to contribute to raw scientific research that may (or may not) lead to polished and societally useful applications.

Disease cures, time machines, environmental fixes, bring ‘em on; mi dinero es su dinero.

But paying taxes this year is different. It’s going to be impossible to figure out which distressed homeowners were duped, dumb, or avaricious, and treat each category accordingly. It’s going to be impossible to weed out the shady mortgage brokers, and the white-shoe firm hotshots who bundled together a bunch of toxic waste and sold them as bouquets of roses. And what exactly do you do with the greedy idiots who bought the stuff? Recapitalize them with your money, and with mine?

Yet our tax dollars are going to be used in ways even the best and the brightest can’t figure out, let along articulate. Geithner was one high IQ joke in his address to the nation.  Not Mensa’s finest hour.

I think the shoe’s on the other foot this year. There’s probably a statute or two on the federal, state, and local books that makes it illegal for me to call for a moratorium on tax payments until the government gets its act together, so I won’t do that.

That said, it would certainly be righteous for the citizens of this nation to demand that our government fully explain, in terms that are clear to PhD’s in economics and Wal-Mart cashiers alike (and given the rash of layoffs, there may be some individuals who are both), exactly how the government plans to use our money this year.

And they should tell us before April 15th.

This year, that should be their due date.

If they don’t, interest and penalties, withdrawn from their salaries, should accrue for each and every public official who lives off the public dime, until such time as they set themselves, and us, straight. And if they have trouble paying their bills, they can wake up in a nervous sweat just like the rest of us.

No taxation without justification. Tea party anyone?

Taxation Without Justification

I pay my taxes every year with begrudging acceptance. I’m aware of the umbrella of security my tax dollars pay for. I’m grateful for the military, the libraries, the arts, the social services, the emergency services, and, if needs be, the basic necessities that are provided to me and my fellow citizens, in large part because of our tax dollars. I’m still not crazy about parting with the money. But until now, it seemed like a fair swap, $600 hammers notwithstanding.

This year my begrudging acceptance is morphing into raw fury. Paying taxes has turned from a civic duty to a nauseating leap of faith.

Now make no mistake, I’m a charitable sort. So much so that my accountant just informed me that the percentage of my income donated to charitable causes is high enough, for someone in my modest income bracket, to raise a red flag in the IRS dungeon deep within the bowels of the Treasury building.

Clearly I’m not adverse to lending a helping hand. I’m just not big on lending a trillion dollars.

I have no problem having my tax dollars pay for the victims of natural disasters. Following Katrina, and despite the horrific ineptitude of Brownie and Bushie, I’ve never for a moment regretted my money being used in the attempt to salvage what was left of the lives of folks I’ve never met and may well never meet. I’ll never fly in the space shuttle, but I’m happy to contribute to the well being of those who do. I’m happy to contribute to raw scientific research that may (or may not) lead to polished and societally useful applications.

Disease cures, time machines, environmental fixes, bring ‘em on; mi dinero es su dinero.

But paying taxes this year is different. It’s going to be impossible to figure out which distressed homeowners were duped, dumb, or avaricious, and treat each category accordingly. It’s going to be impossible to weed out the shady mortgage brokers, and the white-shoe firm hotshots who bundled together a bunch of toxic waste and sold them as bouquets of roses. And what exactly do you do with the greedy idiots who bought the stuff? Recapitalize them with your money, and with mine?

Yet our tax dollars are going to be used in ways even the best and the brightest can’t figure out, let along articulate. Geithner was one high IQ joke in his address to the nation. Not Mensa’s finest hour.

I think the shoe’s on the other foot this year. There’s probably a statute or two on the federal, state, and local books that makes it illegal for me to call for a moratorium on tax payments until the government gets its act together, so I won’t do that.

That said, it would certainly be righteous for the citizens of this nation to demand that our government fully explain, in terms that are clear to PhD’s in economics and Wal-Mart cashiers alike (and given the rash of layoffs, there may be some individuals who are both), exactly how the government plans to use our money this year.

And they should tell us before April 15th.

This year, that should be their due date.

If they don’t, interest and penalties, withdrawn from their salaries, should accrue for each and every public official who lives off the public dime, until such time as they set themselves, and us, straight. And if they have trouble paying their bills, they can wake up in a nervous sweat just like the rest of us.

No taxation without justification. Tea party anyone?

World’s Gone Wild

Money that should be used to assist unwitting victims of predatory lending is instead going, with unclear legal status, to bail out brokerage houses and the bovine blowhards that ran them. Into the ground. McCain and Hillary chortle behind closed doors as the populace is distracted by Obama’s pastor. Obama , whose foresight has been 20/20 nearly everywhere else, displays a longstanding and possibly lethal blind spot. Bush and McCain invoke the spirits of both Orwell and the naked Emperor by declaring with bully pulpit certainty that things that are undeniably evident (like, say, instability in Iraq) are in fact not there, and things nowhere to be found (like, say, gradual stabilization in Iraq) are staring us in the face.

Up is down and down is up and black is white and white is black and no one with a Doctorate in Glib writing on the front pages of the Wall Street Journal or The New York Times should convince a sane citizen otherwise. There’s a case to be made here for not paying taxes, as the government collecting them is shedding legitimacy like a snake sheds skin. It’s times like this that make me wish I had gone to law school, so I could puzzle out the constitutional grounds for refusing to fund lunacy.