Raving Conservative


Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Tax Curse

Every schoolchild knows the old phrase “No taxation without representation!” It is the mantra shouted by our forefathers as they set our great nation on the path to independence. It is the war cry our first brave soldiers fought by, and the cause those courageous men died for. Is it any wonder then, that taxes remain a pivotal point in the America of today?

Tax issues surround nearly every election. Politicians promise all manner of tax reform and relief to a hopeful nation waiting for that wonderful day when every man and woman can keep a greater portion of his or her hard-earned money. But rather than relief, Americans stand helplessly by as taxes grow and eat up a greater portion of our paychecks.

This brings us to a vital issue. Not any lack of representation as we have more and bigger taxes levied against us year after year. The issue is how our representatives are actually representing our best interests and managing our many tax dollars.

Most Americans have no idea how the three months pay we give the government every year is actually used. We share vague ideas of unknown billions going to national defense, law enforcement, wildlife preservation, and government bureaus that supposedly provide us with essential services. While this is absolutely true, hundreds of millions, and possibly billions of tax dollars are wasted every year on projects and services that do not serve our national interests, but only serve a select few with the money and power to influence our elected representatives.

Take the milk-buying program for example. The federal government placed what is known as a price floor on milk. This price floor is actually higher than the price/demand ratio and so people buy less milk because it costs too much. This would hurt America’s dairy farmers very much because they wouldn’t be able to sell all of their milk, but good old Uncle Sam has stepped in with a milk buying program where the government buys up all of the milk that the dairy farmers can’t sell. Naturally, the dairy take advantage of this by raising as many cattle as possible and producing as much milk as possible because they know the government will purchase all the excess milk. Naturally, dairy farmers have become quite wealthy as a result, but the rest of America suffers as we pay high prices for milk, and our hard earned tax dollars are spent on the extra milk that we refuse to buy. What does the government do with all this milk you ask? Well, now you know where government cheese comes from.

Two more famous wasteful programs are the tea-tasting program and the sugar program. The tea tasting is just one nice, old man who samples all the shipments of tea that come into America . . . and the bureau of dozens of supervisors, managers, and quality control experts that oversee this one man. Fortunately, after years of waste, this program has finally been ended. The sugar program is a government agency that keeps all foreign sugar out of the United States in an effort to keep the price of sugar artificially high. The result of this is that not only must we pay more for our sugar than the rest of the world, but we also pay the government to do this to us.

There are dozens, if not hundreds of other such wasteful programs that eat up our taxes and do us no good of any kind, yet our elected representatives refuse to do away with them. This is exactly the kind of robbery that our forefathers fought and died to stop, and we now sit idly by and let it continue on with little more than a grumble. I do not advocate the elimination of taxes, taxes are essential to fund an effective government and an effective law enforcement and national defense system, but I do not advocate our tax money being wasted on useless and harmful programs while our essential services are underfunded.

Our forefathers succeeded in getting taxation with representation, now it up to us to make sure that our representatives are responsible with the taxes we pay.


  • As a resident of the Dairy State, I have to tell you that your representation of "wealthy farmers" milking the state for money is ridiculous. The only farms getting wealthy are corporate-owned farms, which is why government agricultural subsidies should not be given to corporations. Some family farms do very well, but most just get by modestly if at all. And they work their tails off for that modest living. Only a country of fools would fail to support its native agriculture.

    As for other programs to cut, I've got a few:

    How about the $12 billion in exploratory subsidies passed for the oil industry?

    Or perhaps the estimated $150 billion spent on a missile defense system that shows no sign of ever working?

    Or perhaps the estimated $100 billion spent annually to maintain the world's largest nuclear weapons stockpile?

    Or maybe the estimated $20 billion spent on maintaining and developing our submarine fleet?

    For that matter, how many billions are spent on other Cold War-era military projects that are costing us a fortune and have no practical use outside of lining the pockets of Republican-supporting defense contractors?

    And of course, the mother of them all: what about the $200 billion we're borrowing annually to perpetuate our occupation of Iraq?

    By Blogger Samurai Sam, at 1:03 PM  

  • Don't mention the war! :-)

    By Blogger DanProject76, at 1:35 PM  

  • Amen and amen, Samurai and Dan P.

    In truth, though you rather skipped over it, Daniel, I think a rather big issue is that we don't have representation. The system has been corrupted so that we continue to send those in office who will represent corporate wants.

    I've rarely if ever had anyone running for office (much less actually placed in office) who represents anything close to my views (Dennis Kucinich seemed like something in the ballpark last Presidential election, but we see who far he got...)

    Until such time as the US citizenry demands that our leaders change the rules to get rid of the over-representation of corporate interests, we will not have true representation.

    By Blogger Dan Trabue, at 3:02 AM  

  • Perhaps it would help to look at it by the numbers.

    According to the White House's Office of Management and Budget:


    2005 (as projected in 2004)
    Defense: 410
    Non-Defense: 440

    Subtotal: 850

    Social Security: 512
    Medicare: 272
    Medicaid/schip: 199
    Other 307

    Subtotal: 1289

    Interest: 204

    TOTAL: $2,343

    Defense = 17% of total spending (discretionary and mandatory)
    Defense = 48% of discretionary spending


    That is, by the White House's own numbers, we're spending half of our discretionary money on "defense" - slightly over half a trillion dollars.

    That does not factor everything in (such as the large percentage of the national debt that can be laid at the feet of defense spending), but it's a good indicator of who's doing the most actual spending (hint: it ain't progressives).

    By Blogger Dan Trabue, at 12:38 PM  

  • Where are our friends on the Right? No further discussion on this matter?

    I did notice over at another rightish place, some fella was advocating an across the board 40% cut on all programs. I wonder if our friends here would be okay with that?

    That would bring our defense budget down from ~$600 billion to less than $400 billion, returning ~$200 billion to us poor taxpayers - as compared to the ~$8 billion that would be returned from "welfare" programs.

    You know, I'd be willing to do that kind of reducing. Would y'all?

    By Blogger Dan Trabue, at 6:26 AM  

  • Dan T,

    I would be willing to examine ALL federal spending cuts. What must be done is not only to cut the watseful programs, but we must also trim th efat from from the budgets of the needed ones.

    As for the military in patricular, as someone who has been inside for 9 years I can tell you the military budget should not be reduced just yet because there is already a money shortgae for equipment, repairs, bulletts, and training. I would first root through the development part of the budget and find the billions wasted on unfeasable equipment, ueless equipment, and good equipment that just gets scrapped anyway, and I would reallocate those funds to training and benefits. give that a chance to setle in and see what happens.

    You liberals always go on about how big the military budget is, but you have obviously never been in the military. Almost every existing military unit has already had its budget slashed steadily over the years, and the soldiers are constantly griping about the loss of training and services that have resulted from it.


    In answer to your proposals:

    The oild industry makes plenty of money. They can pay for thier own oil exploartion.

    We need a missle defense system because we seem to unable to contain the spread of nuclear weapons to psychotic government regimes like North Korea and Iran.

    I amno fan nukes myself. We do not need over 10,000 nukes. our 200 strongest nukes could wipe out all life on Earth as it is. What do we need the the others for? I'd call those super nukes scary enough for anyone.

    We need the submarines.

    Obsolte government programs of all sorts should be eliminated.

    We will leave Iraq when the country is stable enough that we no longer need to stay and keep order in the chaos we have created. Deal with it.

    By Blogger Daniel Levesque, at 10:20 AM  

  • "You liberals always go on about how big the military budget is, but you have obviously never been in the military."

    Since when is encouraging fiscal responsibiity "liberal"? I thought I was being conservative by so doing.

    Some of us go on about how big the military budget is for one reason, Daniel: The military budget is massive!

    More than the next 25-ish nations combined. Half of our disposible income.

    Yes, it's certainly too small for using in the manner that we've been using it, but we've been using it in a fiscally irresponsible manner. We can't be the world's policemen, for a whole myriad of reasons, fiscal responsibility included.

    I will agree with you to this end: What money that is put in to defense ought to guarantee a living wage and benefits to both current and retired military members.

    On an unrelated note: I'm looking forward to watching your run for the governorship. You'll be leaving your blog up while you're running/you don't think anything you've posted will hurt you?

    By Blogger Dan Trabue, at 2:13 PM  

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