A nation of thieves

Derek Thompson, senior editor at The Atlantic, wrote on April 16 (citing an analysis from the Joint Committee on Taxation) “Half of American taxpayers owe no federal income tax, and most of those filers actually net tax benefits from federal income taxes.”

In fact, though, Mr. Thompson is at pains to point out “The majority of households who pay no income tax still pay net taxes to the IRS.” That’s because “workers of all income levels” still pay payroll taxes on their first $106,800 in earnings — levies that actually flow right into the General Fund, despite the purposeful illusion that they’re somehow set aside in “personal trust accounts” for each taxpayer.

The number of American households “who really do pay practically zero overall taxes” is actually about 15 million American households, “or 10 percent of all taxpayers,” Mr. Thompson reports. (Note we’re now talking about “workers,” sidestepping the question of how many “non-workers” pay no taxes and still get to vote.)

Thanks to “refundable tax credits” — the negative income tax — these 15 million filing households “receive more cash from the IRS than they contribute in federal income taxes and payroll taxes,” Mr. Thompson writes.

And even some of those still pay excise taxes to the federal government when they buy tires or gasoline.

So, are we near the point where 51 percent of Americans can cheerfully vote to tax the remaining 49 percent at no cost to themselves — or not?

Maybe we’re asking the wrong question. The concern here is that limited government cannot long survive — the alternative being a “complete government,” by which the Founders meant a tyranny — if the majority of voters, advised that the politicians are raising taxes again, no longer say “Darn! Another bite out of my bank account”! but instead respond “Great! Sock it to those greedy ‘One Percenters,” and ‘Spread some of their money around’ to me!”

How many have now moved from “Group A” to “Group B?”

In search of a more nuanced answer, the Heritage Foundation on Feb. 8 posted the annual update to their Index of Dependence on Government, at http://tinyurl.com/6mtj644.

Their finding? “Today, more people than ever before — 67.3 million Americans, from college students to retirees to welfare beneficiaries — depend on the federal government for housing, food, income, student aid, or other assistance once considered to be the responsibility of individuals, families, neighborhoods, churches, and other civil society institutions. …”

Since 1962, “The Index score has grown by more than 15 times its original amount. This means that,” after compensating for inflation, “more than 15 times the resources were committed to paying for people who depend on government in 2010 than in 1962,” report William Beach and Patrick Tyrrell of Heritage’s Center for Data Analysis.

The Index has now grown by 60.7 percent just since 2001, they report.

“Perhaps the greatest danger is that the swelling ranks of Americans who enjoy government services and benefits for which they pay few or no taxes will lead to a spreading sense of entitlement that is simply incompatible with self-government,” the Heritage analysts conclude. “Are Americans completely indifferent to history’s many examples of republican government collapsing under the weight of just such populations? … Do Americans want to further accentuate class lines between those who pay for programs that advance dependence, and those who unquestioningly accept — and expect — the assistance from those programs? Are Americans ready for the new class warfare, the battle lines of which are drawn by these dividing lines? … The United States has long reached the point at which it must reverse the direction of both trends or face economic and social collapse.”


Who are these Americans on the taxpayer dole? Many smugly assume we’re only talking only about unmarried “welfare queens.” But what about Social Security? The federal courts have ruled many times that Social Security taxes can and do flow directly into the General Fund; Today’s retirees receive moneys paid in by current young workers, which is why the young cannot be freed from the giant Ponzi scheme under any circumstances.

None of us retain claim to ANY “individual account balance,” which is why we can’t bequeath our accrued “Social Security annuity” to our widows if we die at age 64-and-a-half.

That’s not to say Social Security recipients have larceny in their hearts. They were told all their lives that they could count on these benefits. But does this make it likely they’ll ever vote for politicians who vow to end this Ponzi scheme?

One of the signs of addiction is the degree of panic that sets in when you threaten a user’s supply.

Let those of us who seek a smaller government call for reducing such “social spending,” and those with the spike of government cash in their arm immediately shriek that we actually favor trillions in spending for “a fleet of flying death robots dropping million dollar bombs overseas and hitting nothing but sand and rocks,” that meantime we “want our children to have a world class education but we don’t want to pay our property taxes.”

Hm. Were they under the impression that the Libertarians’ national spokesman is John McCain?

Most libertarians have joined with Texas Congressman Ron Paul, also an Air Force veteran, in opposing virtually all our post-1945 undeclared wars on the grounds they lead to expanded DOMESTIC government power (see the warrantless snoop-and-arrest provisions in the latest Defense Authorization Act) and creeping national bankruptcy, not to mention that little “unconstitutional” problem.

We want all our troops brought home, an end to these absurd wars of failed overseas colonization. We want funding for the military-industrial complex cut in half for starters — a step that needn’t deprive a single soldier or Marine of boots or ammo.

The schools? Yes, we must also include them in our list of welfare “benefits” which will soon tip the fatal balance and give the mendicant classes an irreversible majority at the polls.

If your kids go to a “public school,” you’re accepting a government handout to the tune of more than $10,000 per kid per year, for something you should be funding yourself.

You wouldn’t expect the government to feed or clothe your kids — I hope. So why expect men with guns to seize from your neighbors enough to fund 12 years of the most inefficient institutionalized method known to man of teaching those same kids reading and writing and computational skills that ought to be acquired in four or five — the number of years the typical Founding Father went to school?

Except in the ritziest of suburbs, where the job is easy, the schools have now largely de facto abandoned their former mission of transferring complex literacy and knowledge of our history and Constitution to our progeny, revealing themselves as little more than an enormously costly urban “jobs” program.

(Listen to the statists whine about “what it would do to the unemployment rate if we laid off half the teachers!” Do they mean none could find work as private tutors? Also note how carefully they sidestep the fact that half today’s school system employees AREN’T teachers.)


“Education”? The institution we refer to is a vast network of day care centers and youth internment camps teaching kids little more than to beg permission to use the toilet, to mind their proper place in the hierarchy (the student council — not the run-of-the-mill kids but the brightest of them — decides with what color crepe paper to decorate the gym for the dance, NOT whether to recommend firing that inadequate science teacher), and to cheat on their tests to keep up appearances.

The main purpose of this domestic gulag archipelago is to take charge of the kids from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. so moms can work full-time, a step cynically marketed as “women’s liberation” but actually made necessary by the fact that the state now requires families to meet twice the tax burden of the average blue-collar wage earner of 1952, who could easily support a family of six in a free-standing house on a single income.

Meantime, in order to allow the society to breed enough real leaders to survive a few more decades, the wealthy captains of industry and government are indeed allowed to get their kids “a world-class education,” precisely by keeping them miles away from these government schools, though at the price of being required to also fund “public school” cattle pens they never use. The government youth internment camps are thus our largest income redistribution scheme.

Yes, I would close the government schools. If parents were left no choice but to pay DIRECTLY for their children’s education or do without, the difference in results would mimic how food quality improves when we pay for our own groceries, as opposed to settling for whatever the fat guy slaps onto your tin plate in the government chow line.

Property taxes? The statists also accuse us of “wanting to go back to the days when only property owners could vote.” How ironic that it’s their irresponsible conduct which is quickly revealing to all the danger of allowing those who are net tax recipients — who have no “skin in the game” — to elect politicians who promise to further loot the “haves” in order to give them more free stuff.

(President Obama took over the college student loan business. Now he promises college kids their too-big loans will soon be “forgiven.” By these steps, college becomes a government monopoly giveaway, just as Medicare turns medicine into a government monopoly giveaway. But doctors are now lucky to receive 50 cents on the dollar from Medicare. Have college professors and administrators stopped to think that the same may be coming for them? That a government that funds their enterprise may soon want considerable input into what they teach?)

The very hysteria with which folks now shriek at the prospect of losing these welfare schemes — largely unknown to our great-grandparents before 1930 — shows how close we’ve now come to the point of no return. Cutting the federal budget in half (for starters) would return us to the spending levels we saw in the late 1990s (Total federal spending in 1995 was $1.5 trillion; it’s now $3.8 trillion.)

Was anyone shrieking, in 1995, that the government was too small, that children and the elderly were starving in the streets because voracious Uncle Sugar was sucking too LITTLE in taxes out of the struggling private sector? In 1985? In 1975?

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