Cutting taxes a con game for the rich

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Responses on line,  By email Larry included long list of taxes

Brian Molitor’s response: Forum: Violating the ‘principles’

 

August 26, 2009

 

            We are being duped by the powers that be in a way that I have never seen in my lifetime. No, it is not the socialist agenda that people claim Obama is following. Nor is it the abortion debate as the only moral issue facing our country and no, it is not the view of our President that the US is a nation among a family of nations. It is not the environmental crisis of energy and climate change.

            Rather we are being conned into a cause that does not belong to 95% of the people by the 5% who will benefit the most. This is the hue and cry over taxes. The Republicans have been caught up in this con game so deeply that the only proposal they can make to benefit our country is to “cut taxes”. That is their solution to the banking failures, that is their solution to government spending, that is their solution to unemployment, that is their solution to corporate greed, and that is their solution to corporate bankruptcies.

            If that isn’t bad enough, too many people who will gain nothing from this single-minded mission by the wealthy loudmouths of talk radio and TV are jumping on the band wagon of lower taxes. It almost sounds like a revolution. They have staged TEA parties in April and July. I am sure none of those protesters were in the top 5% of earners, the only group who has consistently benefited from the Reagan revolution of the 1980’s.

            The local protesters call themselves “we the People” but are unwittingly playing into the hands of the wealthiest 5% of taxpayers. The tax decreases in 2001 and 2003 for  those wealthiest taxpayers were greater than the entire annual income of more than half the population.

Let’s be clear about several points in this campaign however. The ones talking the loudest on the national stage are raking in millions of dollars for their strident rhetoric. They already received the biggest tax cut in history under the Bush administration and now they want more even though these tax cuts are part of the economic problem we face today.

For sure we pay many taxes at the local, state, and national level. The biggest are property taxes, income taxes, sales taxes. It is easy to stand on the corner and protest any or all of these taxes, but I invite the tax protesters to look at the services our taxes provide. Tell me which of these you want to lower or eliminate and then we can have some fruitful discussion. 

·   Public education from kindergarten through college. Yes, students pay college tuition but it doesn’t cover all the expenses.

·   City, county and state Police

·   Fire protection

·   Local and state libraries

·   City, county, state and national parks and recreation sites

·   Local, state and national highways, including rest areas, service centers on toll roads Maryland is considering closing its rest areas. Also included is road maintenance like resurfacing, fixing pot holes, and snow removal.

·   Garbage collection

·   Water service

·   Sewage service

·   Various regulations, like those on utilities, food and drugs

·   Jails, prisons and penitentiaries

·   Social Security

·   Medicare

·   Aid to those in need, such as food stamps, unemployment benefits, health insurance for low income people

·   Military

·   Research in science and diseases

·   Air traffic controllers

·   Security

·   Space program

·   Local, state, and federal courts

·   Local, state, and federal government operations

            One writer complained some months ago that he couldn’t buy a more expensive home because of the property taxes on that home. Did it ever occur to that person and anyone else who thinks like this that perhaps other reasons prevent buying a more expensive home? Like not enough income or family spending is too high? Both of these are valid considerations in buying a home, not just property taxes.

            I don’t want to give up any of these benefits or services. I readily admit that there is waste at all levels of government but we have just witnessed the excesses of private business that have ruined our economy and the futures of many citizens.

            It is time someone stood up and said “enough is enough”. I am proud of the taxes I have paid and continue to pay because as Oliver Wendell Holmes declared, “taxes are the price we pay for freedom.”

 

Responses

From the online comments at Midland Daily News. Reprinted with permission.

Kathy wrote on Aug 26, 2009 12:00 PM:

" My God. This is the most intelligent thing I have read in the MDN is a long time. Thank you. "

 

cliff wrote on Aug 26, 2009 12:16 PM:

" Great post! I've always thought it strange that the tax protesters all look like they pay very little taxes to begin with. The men in the pin-stripe suits must all be laughing from their corporate offices to see all these poor folks protesting against their interests and supporting corporate America, who must be doing OK or they wouldn't be paying the executives who make such bad decisions so much money. "

 

Stan wrote on Aug 26, 2009 12:50 PM:

" It appears readers are the ones being duped by Mr. Bufka. Several things on his list are not funded by any of the tax cuts being discussed in Washington, so many of his strawmen are invalid right off the bat.

   As for what needs to be lowered or eliminated - that covers the rest of his list. As for who benefits from tax cuts, anyone with a rudimentary understanding of percentages will realize that those who pay more will benefit more from cuts (especially those who are double and triple taxes on the same money, i.e. capital gains), so the whole class warfare thing about the "wealthy" is a moot point.

   I agree with Mr. Bufka, however, that it's time we all stood up and said "enough is enough." Government at all levels is wasteful and irresponsible in their overspending. It's time they stopped balancing their financial malpractice on the backs of honest, hard-working American families and business owners.

   Cut spending, cut taxes. It's not rocket science. "

 

Kathryn wrote on Aug 26, 2009 1:02 PM:

" www.mises.org  presents the other side of the controversy. "

 

Ron London wrote on Aug 26, 2009 1:07 PM:

" As usual, Mr Bufka begs the question. One of the major components of the cost of many of these services is the level of benefits paid to public employees. One can save money on many of these services simply by requiring employees to pay more of the cost of benefits. One can save money by means testing programs. One can save money by requiring true competitive bidding. One can save money by eliminating earmarks.

   One can do all those things without threatening public health or safety and provide savings necessary to reduce the tax burden on businesses and people.

   But Bufka, as usual, would rather short-circuit intelligent discussion by name-calling. Typical. "

 

Stategirl wrote on Aug 26, 2009 1:35 PM:

" Where does the deficit fall on that list? The military of course. But how about Corporate welfare/Economic stability as a category? Should we agree that government is responsible for the health of capitalism? Hmmmm. Taxes are the price we pay for living in a civilized, organized society. But the balance is tipping....and I think this is why you see protesters. They understand the roles of federal vs state vs local government, and want to stop the Fed's power grab. "

 

Chris R wrote on Aug 26, 2009 1:47 PM:

" I think you could make an argument against many of these "services" but high on the list would be military (greater spending than the next 20 countries combined, I believe)...Space exploration (how many billions for this?)...National security is a misnomer, I fail to see how our aggressive foreign policy that has lead to an unsustainable, money-chewing empire is a good thing.

   Public education is also a funny thing...we create the public school system and then we make laws that make attendance compulsory. Pretty much eliminates any competition, and if you even suggest cutting funding you are labeled as being "against kids".

   Regardless, I do not know anyone that thinks paying approx 40% of income (+/- 10%) is reasonable. Maybe Mr Bufka can let us know what the optimal rate that he envisions would be? And most people resent property taxes, are we serfs?

   The funniest thing I have heard recently is a guy (state rep from somewhere) advocating increasing unemployment duration which would result in higher taxes on businesses...he said that businesses should not worry about higher taxes b/c all that money will come back when the people that get it, spend it at that business. If this is the case, why not tax businesses at 100%? "

 

Oz the real one wrote on Aug 26, 2009 2:41 PM:

" I wonder how many of the elite Teabaggers will be on the list of 4,000 tax cheats to be released by UBS...... "

 

Stan wrote on Aug 26, 2009 2:56 PM:

" I wonder how many cabinet nominees will be on it. "

 

Andy wrote on Aug 26, 2009 5:20 PM:

" What kind of liberal math leads Norbert to conclude that 95% of us do not feel the pain of increasing taxes. I have an average middle class income and I'm pretty sure the each of my pay stubs shows a significant chuck of taxes taken out of it. Last I checked when Granholm raised the income tax rate last year, I saw more money coming out of my pocket, which meant less available for other things. I'm pretty sure each time a new millage comes up asking for only 0.50 mills more on top of the other 20 millages passed, I notice an impact to my disposable income. 80+% of the cost of those "services" you mention are employee costs- so exactly why should I blindly support giving public employees as much money as they "need" while you lecture the rest of us on how little we can get by one? Please enlighten all of us on how this helps working middle class people raising a family and working for private industry that you demonize. You are a text book example of why we need more alternatives to government education. Idiot. "

 

PROPOSAL wrote on Aug 26, 2009 8:41 PM:

" First, thanks Mr. Bufka for the excellent summary on taxes. It was a good reminder for me.

   Second, a proposal. Since we have such a knowledgeable local in STAN who has all the answers for everything, including Washington DC and our country, let's send him there to SOLVE all the problems. I'll pay the air fare. Just think how much better our country and especially Midland will be without him! "

 

Missing options wrote on Aug 26, 2009 9:34 PM:

" Sure, many "services" are listed above, but there is MUCH more spending by the government that is NOT listed above. Even then, I doubt any credible individual would agree that dollars are wasted in even these services listed above.

He can continue to focus on thetop 5%, but taxing all of their income will not take care of all the gov spending.

Many do not want to government to give handouts and kickback. Eliminate that. And yes, Norbert, those companies and "rich" folk continue to create jobs for many a citizen. THAT IS THE key.

So please, don't preach to me that the government needs all those funds. Look at things today and compare that to the 60's. My, haven't things grown- in the wrong direction. War on Poverty- yup that worked too. "

 

mo II wrote on Aug 26, 2009 9:36 PM:

" oops, left out AREN'T wasted in the second sentence above. "

 

Stan wrote on Aug 26, 2009 9:41 PM:

" Andy,

Excellent points. The burden of too much taxes is felt by everyone, even those who may not directly be paying them. Having one of, if not the, highest corporate tax rates in the world means that products and services cost everyone more. The triple tax on capital gains means entrepreneurs have less money to invest and create wealth. Closer to home, the 22% surcharge on the business tax that is funneled to Hollywood movie moguls means Michigan businesses can't hire as many workers. (It should come as no surprise that Michigan's unemployment has more than doubled, from 7% to 15% since that fiasco was created.)

   It's easy for Mr. Bufka to demonize the "top 5 percent" of earners, because he obviously lacks the humility and presumption of good will to realize those 5 percent are pulling the wagon while everyone else is just along for the ride. "

 

attysrevil wrote on Aug 27, 2009 7:28 AM:

" mr. bufka will soon post his address and checking / saving account numbers so the taxes will get paid for everyone. "all is well in sparkle city " "

 

Raol Duke wrote on Aug 27, 2009 10:21 AM:

" You are SPOT ON Cliff. A quick glance at the tea bagging types and the uneducated masses at the recent town halls make it painfully obvious that nearly all of these vocal folks are earning probably mid 5 figures and they are doing nothing but carrying water for people they will NEVER share a fenceline with. "

 

Stan wrote on Aug 27, 2009 12:53 PM:

" Raol,

Maybe you should read Bufka's list again. I don't think just 5 percent pays taxes that fund those things. "

 

Jeff Nielsen wrote on Aug 27, 2009 2:04 PM:

" I love how Mr Bufka takes a line from our current president...... "Lets be clear....." "

 

By email August 26, 2009

Norbert

I agree 110% with the views you expressed in today's (Wed) MDN. It's a shame that a significant majority of the population of this country is unwilling to accept such a common sense and fair-minded point of view for our future. There are days when its difficult to maintain optimism.

Dave in Midland

 

P&L

Thank you for expressing your thoughts so clearly. My husband and I totally agree with your comments in the MDN August 26. Living in Midland you must get a lot of grief for your democratic beliefs. I hope you know many people agree with you. Keep it up. You are doing a lot of good.

Larry

August 27, 2009

Norbert,

Re your"Opinion" in last night's MDN....where you're happy to pay your taxes because you so much enjoy the services they provide....it's a good thing, because in 2011 when the Bush tax cut program expires and income taxes increase, dividends are taxed higher, capital gains tax will increase, estate/death tax exemptions decrease, and Obama raises all the other taxes in some way and form to pay for all the trillions of national debt he's running up, plus the big hit from health care reform, you, my friend, are going to get a dose of tax increase and like you've never seen before.

   I assume you'll enjoy being taxed at 50% like Canadians and Europeans to support a socialized health care sytem where you have to wait days to get a doctor's appointment and thenmonths before you can have a critical operation?  Also, I hope you're rich, because you'll see the value of your retirement income be significantly less.

    Good luck! And.....enjoy the below.

 Larry

 

At first I thought this was funny...then I realized the awful truth of it.

Be sure to read all  the way to the end!

        Tax his land,

       Tax his  bed,

       Tax the  table

        At which he's fed.

      

        Tax his tractor,

        Tax his mule,

        Teach him taxes

        Are the rule.

       

       Tax his work,

       Tax his pay,

       He works for peanuts anyway!

      

        Tax his cow,

        Tax his goat,

         Tax his pants,

        Tax  his coat.

      

        Tax his ties,

        Tax his shirt,

               Tax his work,       

           Tax his dirt.

      

        Tax his tobacco,

         Tax his drink,

        Tax him if he

         Tries to think.

     

         Tax  his cigars,

        Tax his beers,

         If he cries,

         then his tears.

       

        Tax his car,

        Tax his gas,

       Find other ways

       To tax his ass.

       Tax all he has

       Then let him know

       That you won't be done

        Till he has no dough.

       

       When he screams and  hollers,

       Then tax him some  more,

       Tax him till

       He's  good and sore.

      

        Then tax his coffin,

        Tax his grave,

        Tax the sod  in

       Which he's laid.

       

       Put these words

       upon  his tomb,

       'Taxes drove me to my  doom...'

       

       When he's gone,

       Do not relax,

       Its time to apply

       The inheritance tax.

      

       Accounts  Receivable  Tax

       Building  Permit Tax

       CDL  license Tax

       Cigarette Tax

       Corporate  Income Tax

       Dog  License  Tax

       Excise  Taxes

       Federal  Income Tax

       Federal  Unemployment Tax  (FUTA)

       Fishing  License Tax

       Food  License Tax

       Fuel  Permit  Tax

       Gasoline Tax  (42 cents per  gallon)

       Gross  Receipts  Tax

        Hunting  License  Tax

        Inheritance  Tax

        Inventory  Tax

       IRS   Interest Charges IRS Penalties

        (tax on top of tax)

       Liquor  Tax

       Luxury  Taxes

       Marriage  License  Tax

       Medicare Tax

       Personal  Property Tax

       Property Tax

       Real  Estate Tax

       Service  Charge Tax

       Social  Security Tax

       Road Usage Tax

       Sales Tax

       Recreational  Vehicle  Tax

       School  Tax

       State Income  Tax

       State  Unemployment Tax  (SUTA)

       Telephone  Federal Excise  Tax

        Telephone  Federal Universal Service

        Fee  Tax

       Telephone  Federal, State and  Local  

        Surcharge  Taxes

        Telephone  Minimum Usage Surcharge

          Tax

       Telephone  Recurring and Non-       

        recurring charges

         Telephone  State and Local  Tax

        Telephone  Usage Charge  Tax

        Utility  Taxes

        Vehicle  License Registration  Tax

        Vehicle  Sales  Tax

        Watercraft  Registration  Tax

       Well Permit  Tax

       Workers  Compensation  Tax

      

        STILL  THINK THIS IS   FUNNY?

      

Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, and our nation was  the most prosperous in the  world.

   We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.

   What  in the hell happened? Can you spell   'politicians!'

And I still have to 'press  1' for   English!?!?!?!?

   I  hope this goes around THE  USA at least 100  times!!!!!  YOU can help it get  there!!!!

GO  AHEAD - -  - BE  AN AMERICAN!!!!!!

Thank you,

Ceccanti, Inc.

Ed Armijo

253.537.2990 ext 23

 

My reply:

Thank you, Larry, for taking the time to write and especially for this list. I do appreciate it. I know we pay a lot of taxes and id dint’ do justice to the problem. Andy pointed that out in a reply on line too. You are right about the tax burden but the middle class has a high burden because the rich have been paying less and less for the last 30 years and billions of dollars of our taxes have been given to corporations in the form of abatements and other subsidies. For example, did you know that Cabela’s in Dundee collects sales tax for the state like all other businesses … but they get to keep those taxes! This one store got a tax subsidy worth $40 million.  You and I are making up that loss. That’s why the middle class is being hurt. The middle class will benefit very little if any from the continuation of the Bush tax cuts in 2011. I am not worried about that lapse. They won’t affect me one bit. What do you think?

   This is the kind of discussion we need – not protestors in front of the Court House!

Norbert

 

(Note: Larry was surprised by this info about Cabela’s.)

 

MD: one of the best m'dear!  you do great work and we all appreciate you so much.  thank you.

 

GK:

Dear Norbert,

 

I remember the time when the Bush's tax cuts kicked in. I can assure you that

my family DID feel the difference. I can also assure you that we were NOT in

the top 5%. I was a postdoc in New York, my wife was in college and our son

in school. All we had was one very modest salary. In fact, these tax cuts were

instituted for the whole income scale, even the lowest tax rate was decreased

from 15% to 10%. Therefore, EVEY person who paid taxes benefited from the cuts.

 

Forum: Violating the ‘principles’

By Brian Molitor

Published: Sunday, August 30, 2009 3:12 AM EDT Reprinted with permission.

 

I wish Norbert Bufka writer of a monthly column in the Midland Daily News, would practice what he preaches. His web site lovingly coos that he wants to "overcome polarization and division" and that he wants to "spark dialogue, rather than confrontation". Sadly, his columns don't line up with his statements.

 

In the past two months, he indicates that our nation's woes were caused by white males, specifically non-Catholic Christians of Anglo-Saxon heritage ... especially if they were wealthy. In Norm's world, the intentional misdeeds of these louts date back to the signing of the Constitution, but they don't stop there. Mr. Bufka explains that in modern society, Republicans team up with wealthy loud-mouthed radio and TV hosts to con fellow citizens into unrighteous, civil disobedience. How? They convince people, evidently too dumb to think for themselves, to "stage" protests about high taxes and to speak up against government interference in their lives. Perhaps some of them might actually be tired of paying high taxes. Perhaps.

 

In his most recent column, Bufka adds another enemy, private business, to the list of villains when he explains that it was "excesses of private business that ruined our economy and the futures of many citizens."  The excesses of corporate giants such as Enron is well documented, however, with one inflammatory, oversimplified statement, he condemns the efforts of thousands of private businesses nationwide as well as those in our own area. It is the hard work and integrity of private business, many of them family owned, that has helped to create much of our nation's success. Private business owners aren't all prone to excess, and those that are did not single-handily doom our nation. As for the wealthy, I wonder if some of their wealth came from hard work, rather than from excesses? Just wondering.

 

Next, he slams all Republicans for playing a "con game" with taxes.  You know, if I was sincere at all about trying to rid our society of "polarization and division" that's not the sort of statement I would make ...

 

I would be interested to know if Bufka credits any white, non-Catholic Christians of Anglo-Saxon heritage, Republican males, especially the wealthy ones with doing anything right in the past couple hundred years. Did those folks contribute anything to America's greatness? Did they build our infrastructure, create alliances with other nations, send huge amounts of aid and money to others when disaster struck? Did any of them stand up for the rights of women, Native Americans, or slaves?  It seems like that event called the Civil War might earn a little credit for the union soldiers that died in battle. I know that a few of those guys were in the category of nation wreckers that Bufka enjoys criticizing.  Of course, it could seem politically incorrect to even hint that those folks did anything right, fair, or honorable, and that sort of truth might not make for exciting reading, so why write about it?

 

I was initially fooled by Mr. Bufka's kindly face above his column, but no more.  His writings violate the "principles" that he pretends to hold dear by making reckless, prejudicial statements about entire groups of people based on their race, gender, political affiliation, religious preference, economic status, and vocation.  If Mr. Bufka really wants to end polarization and division, he has an strange way of showing it.  

 

Brian D. Molitor is a Midland resident. He is president of Molitor International and a corporate strategist for Gantec, Inc., both of Midland.

http://ourmidland.com/articles/2009/08/30/opinion/editorials/doc4a99de405eff7651360803.txt

 

My comments September 23, 2009:

When I first read this I was quite shocked. I kept asking myself, “did I say that?” Then a friend of mine told me when she read it, she kept saying, “Norb didn’t say that.”. Molitor  set up my position and then shot it down. Unfortunately he misrepresented my position in every instance. This is  called a “straw man” argument.

For example, I very clearly in the August column which he quoted referred to excesses of American business. I do not know how this makes all businesses look bad.

He also said I criticized all white Anglo-Saxon non-Catholics. I have no idea where he comes to such a conclusion. I ask you to read the July column yourself.

He does have a good point about my criticism of the Republicans. Yes, the Democrats do have a majority but it would be good politics if the two parties could work together on such a monumental issue. Also it would be good if the Republicans could offer a serious proposal.

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