Moral Clarity and the Stimulus, Part Last

Out of all the things that President Obama said last night at the joint session of Congress, both good and bad, one segment really, really bothered me:

In order to save our children from a future of debt, we will also end the tax breaks for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. But let me perfectly clear, because I know you’ll hear the same old claims that rolling back these tax breaks means a massive tax increase on the American people: if your family earns less than $250,000 a year, a quarter of a million dollars, you will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat: not one single dime. In fact, the recovery plan provides a tax cut – that’s right, a tax cut – for 95% of working families. And these checks are on the way.”

Nevermind that the top 1% income earners make 21% of all income , (according to Vice President Biden) but pay a staggering 37% of all income taxes (11 times more than the bottom 25%)– we’re going to end so-called tax breaks for the rich. But, it gets even richer: at the same time, we’re going to give most everybody else a tax cut.

Raise taxes for some, and cut them for others– um, I’m pretty sure there’s an overused three-word phrase for this kind of thing: redistribution of wealth. Such a scheme denies the absolute right to private property (one of our alleged inalienable rights); instead, the government determines the utility of property in various hands. Under the guise of economic stimulus this time, the government figures that the rich can afford to part with more of their property, which can be more “stimulative” in the hands of others, so it must be justified to shift it around a bit. (Notice how the President appealed to “a quarter of a million dollars” as if to imply whoever makes more than that massive sum shouldn’t grumble about having to pay even more?)

And get this– “the checks are on the way!” The government saves the day again. Just keep voting for people who will take from others and give it to you.

I’m sorry, it’s really not complicated. All the sophisticated economic arguments in the world are not worth one whit when it comes to right and wrong. What’s more– the entire genius of the American system is built on inalienable rights. But it appears that recognizing them is increasingly becoming optional in these “trying times.”

Unfortunately, Lousiana governor Bobby Jindal’s Republican response to Obama’s speech was relatively flat and actually came off a bit condescending. That’s too bad, because the common sense message was lost a lot in his delivery. He didn’t seem like “one of us,” which will have to be the Republicans angle if they want to get elected going forward. Moral clarity will resonate with the American people– I don’t know why it has taken Rick Santelli for the Republicans to figure it out.

Meanwhile, in other completely newsworthy news, we’re supposed to get excited because Michelle Obama wore a sleeveless dress to her husband’s speech last night.

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4 Comments

Filed under Brandon

4 responses to “Moral Clarity and the Stimulus, Part Last

  1. Holly

    Brandon, thank you for writing about this key issue: our right to private property is in danger. Just today, I learned that the State of Maryland has a law pending in Annapolis that would require retailer gift card balances to be sent to the State if the consumer didn’t use the funds by four years after the date of issue.

    When these gift cards are sold, the retailers do not count them as income — rather, the income is counted as the gift cards are spent. After four years, retailers are allowed to consider any unspent amount as part of their income as by that time, it’s probable that the consumer either lost the card or disposed of it.

    Right now, Best Buy makes around $39 million annually off its gift cards that aren’t fully redeemed. But what some people are forgetting here is that it’s Best Buy’s money — not the government’s! Best Buy is the entity that did the advertising, trained its sales force to push gift cards and put the cards at easy point-of-purchase locations so they would be picked up as impulse items. Why should the government freely benefit from that ingenuity? Scary stuff, but what’s even scarier is that 31 states already have this law on the books. How the heck did we let that happen? Who failed us on this one?

    To top it off, if the recession deepens and the employment rate hits double-digits, I believe that we may see a phenomenon akin to France, where people hardly work — compared to America, at least. In other words, people will be laid off, but employers will retain their most talented, driven, hard-working employees. However, the State will swoop in to save the unemployed (as well they should — to a degree), and because the economic crisis will be so severe, the State will take care of all the basic needs of these people: food, shelter, clothing, health care and more.

    The people who continue to work will be taxed even more (hey, they have the income, right?), forcing them to a point of subsistence that’s pretty equal to the lifestyle of the unemployed. Now, those who work hard will be buoying up the country, making it so that everyone can afford to eat. Those who are unemployed, however, will be on a total free ride — they will be hardly any worse off than their working neighbors. So it’s feasible that wealth would be completely redistributed at this point, with the people who have the work ethic getting the raw end of the deal because they have to work for their living.

    Of course, the cunning (but not moral) among the people who still have jobs will realize the situation and take steps to equalize their plight with that of their unemployed neighbors — they will stop working too. These are the people who went to college with the sole motivation of gaining entree into a middle class, white collar job. They do only what they have to do to get ahead in life, but the rest of the time they live for their gut: eating, drinking and being merry.

    When the majority of society lives this way, with no higher sense of purpose, we’re in for some huge problems in the days ahead. But we have our hope in Christ Jesus.

  2. t3rr3nc3

    This world could use a few more Raatikkas. Well said Brandon.

    Holly, thanks for sharing about the gift card hogwash. As you may know, I work in Gift Registry at Target HQ. Not surprisingly, I find the pending law in Maryland extremely disturbing.

  3. czfinke

    There are some harsh words for the unemployed in Holly’s comment. I’m unemployed, have a bachelor’s and a master’s, and want very much to get a job. I was laid off. Others will be laid off to, and most of us just want to work. We’re not lazy, or trying to sneak into the middle class to live a life of revelry and greed. We’re not unemployed so that we can freeload on the teets of the workers and the government.
    It’s a tough time.

  4. The problem is that the government is taking from those who produce real wealth and giving it to those who do not. The handout to the “poor” is a pittance in comparison to the literally trillions given to bankers, who create no real wealth or manufactured goods. The banks are parasites. Not all, but most. This is why the founders gave Congress the ability to create money, so that the population could have control over this very important task. Now this task is controlled by private banks. Yes the Federal Reserve is neither Federal nor a reserve. It is a private cartel. It runs the biggest ponzi scheme ever created.

    I will sum things up before I end up writing a book. We give half our wages to the government (this is true when you add up all the income, sales, gas, property and other taxes your employer pays). Then Congress gives this money to the banks. The banks then lend it back to us at interest and take our property if we fail. In essence, we are paying the banks so they can continue sucking money from us in the form of interest on debt, both personal and government.

    Now this also happens in times when the economy is doing well, but in a smaller and more discrete way. In those times, the Congress borrows money from the banks, who are able to create 90%+ of this money from thin air, and then Congress gives the banks our tax dollars in the form of interest on the debt they created. That interest payment is Hundreds of Billions of dollars each year. Multiple Presidents have likely been killed, or attempted, when they tried to restore the power to create money to the Congress. Think this is totally bogus? Look it up for yourself!

    Do you believe that it is coincidence that the top donors to Obama were banks and Wall Street?

    I’ll stop now. I have to go produce real wealth now, so I can avoid dependence on my captors for survival. ugghhahhahh

    P.S. I would just like to note that there are many who propose gold as the solution. This is also a poor system of money and not a solution to our current trouble.

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