Taxes: Are We Sure We Need The Carbon Tax?

QuestionBelieve it or not, on social media, I have witnessed people advocating for Carbon Taxes for the United States and Canada in more than one or two posts.  Mentally shocked, stunned, and intrigued, but not wholly surprised by this turn of events, I have been reading some of the literature, the websites, and the emotional pleas.  May I congratulate the producers of this literature on the masterful job of marketing ideas anathema to liberty as espoused by these materials?

Before those marketing the Carbon Taxes break out the champagne and meatless burgers, let’s discuss something seriously.  When was the last tax that actually did what it was supposed to do?  What is an effective tax being collected and used at funding the government without developing the need for debt?  Name your favorite tax; if it doesn’t make the list below, leave it in the comments; I will research it, and if it is doing what it was supposed to do, I will retract this entire article and issue an apology!  I will put this conclusion against every single tax, in every government, across the globe.  The tax’s only stipulation has to be effective in every nuance of the word “effective” as listed in the Webster’s Dictionary.Lemmings 4

Social Security was an early contender and loser.  Social Security began with a considerable fund, then Congress voted itself the ability to raid the fund, paying “IOU’s,” and now the fund is all but bankrupt, and if you were born after 1980, do not expect to see a dime of forced taxation through Social Security.  Between skyrocketing costs in administering the program and the government raids, there are no retirement funds in this Ponzi-Tax scheme.Access Your Social Security Benefits Information Online | East Brunswick, NJ Patch

Medicaid/Medicare is another early contender, another tax that is directly witnessed in the paychecks of Americans, and a program fraught with fraud, laced with expenses, destroyed by exorbitant wages for bureaucrats and processes that are so byzantine that pretzel factories have fewer twists and turns.  Another Ponzi-Tax scheme that is underfunded or overstaffed to the Nth degree, and the government continues to add everything but sanity and common sense to the program.  As a point of fact, Medicare and Medicaid, being state/federal shared programs, the convolutions and responsibility for who pays make the Tasmanian devil of Warner Brothers fame look like he is strolling in a park as he walks calmly past.Medicare vs Medicaid (EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW)

Fuel taxes were a very short non-contender on this list.  The government has been pushing fuel taxes as the direct means of fixing roads, bridges, tunnels, and other infrastructure projects.  Still, there is never any money in the fund, and there are constantly terrible roads and bridges to point to that need immediate fixing.  Worse, the only solution is to increase the taxes paid, not to answer where the money went that was collected to pay for the repairs.Fuel Tax

In Maine, as a kid, we had a DARE program.  The program was doing a good job and helped to keep kids off drugs.  In November, the election carried a tax addendum that parents and teachers all got behind to push to approve because the program was doing a good job.  The following January, directly after the tax went into effect, the government announced that the DARE Program was being canceled as too expensive.  The tax was not returned, not canceled, and is still on the books as a valid tax for the taxpaying public, but the program has been dead since the mid-1990s.  A similar event occurred in Utah, Arizona, and I would bet several hundred other places as well.Geauga County Sheriff - Law Enforcement - DARE Program

Sales tax, do they promote sales; no.  Does a sales tax improve sales; no.  Does a sales tax help those who sell goods and services; no.  Does a sales tax aid the area the sales tax is collected in regarding sidewalks, street maintenance, sewers, etc., for the common good and improvement of society; no.  Why do we have sales taxes?Bookkeeping & Tax Puzzle Pieces: Payroll and Sales Taxes

Inheritance Tax, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax, etc. – better known as the class of death taxes, are more interesting contenders for this list.  Do inheritance taxes promote or demote savings, spending prudence, and family wealth?  Go on; I will wait; you can discuss this amongst yourselves for a moment. … Need more time.  No worries.  I can wait.  …  Since the government began charging inheritance taxes, less people have saved money, fewer people leave money to their family and friends as it causes long-term problems for the living.  The social aspects of this single tax are so incredible; we could spend several years describing the fallout and never cover all the details.Death And Taxes Quotes. QuotesGram

Excise taxes – also referred to as “Sin Taxes.”  These are taxes, not fees, passed onto the consumer by the soda, fast food, tobacco, and alcohol manufacturers to prevent kids from using these products that the government collects and then misspend.  No, these are direct taxes that raise the final costs before and at the register that everyone thinks is a good idea to deter people from using those nasty products.  Except, how many people have been stymied by the taxes on sin products; research claims the number to be a statistical zero.  This means that when the error margin is taken into account, the number is too small to be statistically significant enough to measure.  Puritans passed this logic into tax code; thank them the next time the government figures you should pay more for a Playboy than a National Geographic, more for a pack of cigarettes and a six-pack of beer.  Since fast food is considered a sinful commodity, sin taxes apply, are you eating less fast food because of the sin taxes and sales taxes?  By the way, are you losing weight from the height of taxes on your sin foods and drinks?

Wealth Tax – Did this tax increase the number of wealthy people; no!  Did the wealth tax make taxes more “fair” and “proportionate” for the lower and middle class; nope!  Did the wealth tax equal anything; no!  However, the tax did help increase the number of tax lawyers bilking people making money out of their hard-earned dollars to hire them and defend their fortunes.  Ask Majority Leader Pelosi how many she has to hire and keep on retainer to avoid taxes; oh wait, she is exempt.  But her husband’s income isn’t.  How many tax lawyers, accountants, bookkeepers, and money managers does he have to hire to prevent him from paying taxes?  Just remember something, according to the government, your cellphone is considered a luxury, and is charged a wealth tax.  I know people who live out of their motor-home, they are considered homeless, but their home is charged a luxury tax rate.  They do not have any other home to live in, and live year round at various campgrounds as they save enough to move down the road.  They are not rich, they sold everything, bought a used motor home to pay the bills, they are not retired; unfortunately, they are not alone in America either.  Think the language is skewed where taxes are concerned; I do!OMG, They're paying a wealth tax over there - millionin10

The government already collects a significant amount of taxes classified as “Environmental Taxes” on everything from fuels and oils to chemicals, aerosols, bottled gases, and firefighting retardants, among many other products.  There are environmental taxes on the fuels you and I use in our vehicles, the trucks that carry our goods to market, the farm machinery raising animals and grains for markets, and that power the ships sailing the oceans.  How much cleaner is the water and air with these taxes?  These taxes were intended to help protect the environment; instead, these tax proceeds flowed into mysterious accounts and then into murky government payments.  Now the government wants to increase taxes with a carbon tax to protect the environment.  Are these environmental taxes going to disappear if a carbon tax is implemented?  I did not see this mentioned in the literature; surely, that was a simple oversight, and the government will correct their mistake and eliminate taxes no longer needed.Revenue from environmental taxes in EU reached nearly 360 billion EUR - Finance and Markets

Here’s a fun exercise, search the phrase “effective taxes,” and you find how language has been plasticized where taxes are concerned.  An effective tax is an average tax.  Not that the money went where it was supposed to go, not that the tax effectively funded the government without producing debt, simply acknowledging that you paid the average of everyone else.  Think the government was effective in using your tax money?

Knowledge Check!Do you see a commonality here?  Failure to fulfill a purpose leads to increases in taxes, fees, surcharges, and other tax schemes, and the money never goes where it is intended.  Honestly, can you trust the government to accept your hard-earned money and create a healthier environment?  I have my doubts.  Feel free to correct me.

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Progressive vs. Regressive – Sales Taxes

Flying BuffaloAny time a debate about taxes arises, the terms progressive and regressive get thrown around like popcorn in a food fight.  Whether or not those speaking, even know, or care about the definitions, implications, and repercussions are different topics and one I will not hazard a guess.  My intent here is to help you know and better understand the terminology as we discuss the broader topic, sales taxes.  Please note, since the early 1900s, the word progress has been twisted by tyrants, plasticized by the media, and manipulated into means one thing to one person and a different thing to a politician.  Of all the terms plasticized for tyranny, progress is one of the most egregious examples.  Just like the term “Buffalo-wings.”

Progressive

Progressive and progressivism is a political philosophy that empowers a more extensive and more intrusive government, a government without any shred of decency, and a government that is as intrusive as possible into your daily life.  Progressivism has been the catchphrase for all sorts of political hooliganism and liberty theft at all levels of government.  These abuses by the government have been made possible because, as everyone knows, progress, the root of progressivism, is a good thing.Angry Wet Chicken

Progress is defined as moving forward or onward towards the desired destination.  Also, progress can be advancement or development towards a better, or more complete, “modern condition.”  Archaic definitions sometimes provide critical insight into a word, and in this instance, the archaic meaning of progress was a state journey or official tour, especially by royalty.

Without the political connotations, Progressive means something relating to or characterized by progress, making use of new ideas, findings, or opportunities.  In the classroom, progressive relates to an educational theory marked by an emphasis on the individual child, informal class procedures, and encouraging self-expression to the point of sacrificing educational opportunities.  The meaning of progressive also refers to making progress, moving forward or advancing, increasing in severity or extent, expanding the base rate of something, and a few other definitions specific to the sciences of computers and lenses for glasses.Angry Wet Chicken 2

President Woodrow Wilson (D) was a progressive, and many of his political detractors were regressive.  The distinction was drawn on a political scale to aid in differentiating and scorning political opponents who were concerned about the spread of government.  We need to be clear, any time anyone talks about progressive taxes, they are discussing expanding the base tax rate.  Making tax increases sound more pleasant is a key to twisting the meaning of words and exercising tyranny on a population.

Regressive

As you might have probably guessed, regression is the exact opposite of progression.  Regressive as an adjective relates to the production of regression, decreasing the rate as the base increases, and is characterized by simplification of structures in an evolutionary process.  Regression is the action of regressing, and regressing relates to the act of reasoning backward, moving backward to a previous, and possibly worse or more primitive state, but it is also a privilege of going or coming back to something.

Emotions and Language

Emtional Investment CycleThe terms progressive and regressive are a perfect example of how emotions and language mix.  Without knowing all the definitions of a word, people will choose to use the sound of the word to decide whether the word sounds harsh or pleasant.  For example, progression sounds good, and regression sounds bad, but progress has roots in royalty taking a trip, and regression is a privilege or returning.  Hence, one of the main themes in these articles has been and continues to be how to control your emotions to improve your decision-making, the need to read, the opportunity to learn and keep learning words to empower conversation and knowledge.Apathy

When emotions rule, people like President Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, George Bush II, and many others with conspiring congresses get away with fundamentally destroying the fabric of America.  One of the tricks used against the citizens of America and in many democratically elected governments across the globe has been using language and emotions to enact reigns of tyranny.  Let us face facts, the IRS and the Federal Income Tax are not progressive; America did not move forward by paying a tax that fundamentally hurts people in their wallets.  Education reform and progressive schools did not improve America’s ability to compete globally on reading, writing, and arithmetic.  The progressive ideas from the late 1800s to shut down literacy among government-mandated schools did not improve America!  Frankly, we should count ourselves lucky to have the opportunity to regress on these fronts.

Sales Taxes

Bird of PreyOf all the progressive ideas needing to be eliminated, the sales tax sits at the highest pinnacle for regression.  Consider this, in states with the highest sales taxes, the sales tax is a pyramid where the final consumer winds up paying taxes on business-to-business transactions, dynamically increasing the price of the final goods or services delivered.  Business A buys raw goods from Business B and sells these goods to Business C to make small parts.  Business A buys these goods from Business C and sells them as finished goods to a consumer.  In a sales tax pyramid, the government gets paid at the end of every transaction; thus, a product in Vermont will be less expensive than a product in South Dakota, due precisely to the sales taxes paid by Businesses AB, B, and C during the manufacturing process.  Thus, the top five states in the United States with the highest sales taxes have a tax pyramid scheme in place, and the end consumer pays through the nose for everything!

In states with a less broad sales tax base, the sales tax remains egregious but more silent in how it steals your money!  According to the states with tax pyramid schemes, those with a less broad sales tax base are considered regressive, and those with the highest sales tax base are called progressive.  Either way, the sales tax continues to be the silent killer of ingenuity, innovation, job growth, and so much more.  Because people expect to pay a sales tax as a condition of making a purchase, the sales tax has become the majority of the fuel price paid to power a car, the hinge upon where jobs are produced, and part of the reasoning for populations to flee from.Plato 3

From an article on sales taxes by the Tax Foundation, we find the following important information:

“Narrow sales tax bases reduce collections, but more importantly, they make the tax less neutral and less economically efficient. Many states exempt certain goods (like groceries or clothing) from the sales tax for political reasons, excluding many consumer services (such as dry cleaning, haircuts, or tax preparation) largely by historical accident. Most states instituted their sales taxes during the Great Depression when services made up a much smaller portion of the economy. Since then, the portion of total U.S. personal consumption dedicated to services has grown significantly, while the purchase of goods has declined. This trend has contributed to the erosion of states’ sales tax bases over time, an unintentional base narrowing that puts upward pressure on sales tax rates.

Remember, sales taxes going up are considered progress. Reducing or eliminating the sales tax, which is the right path forward, is deemed to be regressive, based solely upon the sound of the terms being used.  Broader tax bases are not equitable, but many economists, especially those Keynesian Devotees, will claim broader tax bases and pyramid tax schemes are progressive, equitable, and helps the rich pay their “fair share.”  How can a person tell that sales tax schemes do not work to make “equitable” tax bases; “Curiously, a policy expressly designed to inject progressivity into sales taxes—an exemption for groceries—largely fails to accomplish its purpose. Studies suggest that the exclusion of groceries beyond the necessary exemption for food purchased using SNAP or WIC does not favor lower earners.”

Plato 2While the Tax Foundation does an admirable job pitching for “right-sizing” the tax base to make sales taxes more “equitable,” they miss the forest for the tree.  Sales taxes are a silent killer and need to be regressed from American purchases at the earliest opportunity!  Taxes never produce progress!  Write that on your hand, and use that hand to correct the behavior of politicians who want “progressive taxes,” a “federal sales tax,” or want to improve tax burdens progressively.  When did American goods stop being traded, and manufacturing jobs were exported when the income tax started!  Why do people not want to live where they pay high sales taxes because of the progressive nature of sales taxes, the other progressive tax structures, and the only entity winning is the government.

Knowledge Check!America, we need to regress from the state where the income and sales taxes have taken us.  We cannot afford the government largess stolen from workers anymore.  We cannot afford the size of local, county, state, and federal governments.  Until the taxes are regressed, which would be a huge opportunity to realize, we will continue to be treated as the property of the government, and I, for one, am done being owned and forced into indentured servitude just to pay for the government who abuses me!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.