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5/29/01

STRAPPADO WRACK

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Tax Cut Is But A Small Relief

The easing in our tax burden by the recent passage of the tax bill, still ignores the systemic basis of our dilemma. The casual manner by which it has been accepted by the public just goes to illustrate how deep and profound the distortion in public financing has become. All of us know people who don't object to the amount of taxes they are paying at all levels of government. Some even think that higher revenue should be extracted from the public. How did we get into this time warp that has shades of the Twilight Zone written all over it?

The lineage is long and consistent. The argument for growth in public institutions is embedded within a culture of dependent citizens that seek more benefits and favors that they are unwilling to provide for themselves. The ranks of government check cashers has become the majority. They vote and demand more all the time. With the passage of the income tax, America left the realm of free enterprise and adopted the redistribution mentality. It took decades and several generations of falsely educated constituents to accept that security rests in the generosity of a benefactor.

Now this erroneous tenet is seldom challenged. It has become an article of faith that the responsibility for abating all discomfort lies within the political dispenser. Politicians are professional panderers. They live to gain and keep power. The tax payer is compelled to become the self financing source for the bureaucrat who plays in a sandbox of never ending toys. Any objective observer must conclude that efficiency in government is absent and virtually non existent. At its core, the services that are the justification for the extraction of tribute seldom provide the benefits that are their promise. Has the indoctrination succeeded and retaining your own property no longer is a primary concern for the average taxpayer?

In business decisions should be made that reflect the stability and growth of the enterprise. Too often, valid decisions are tempered, if not reversed because of the tax implications. Anyone who has ever filled out a long form knows all too well that social engineering is central to the process and that collecting public funds, take a secondary consideration. Revenue to fund legitimate government services is proper. But the scope of those services and the manner by which those moneys are raised is the nature of this debate.

We no long hear of the flat tax, user fees or consumption assessments. Any of these methods are eminently more fair than disincentives on the productive motives of wealth creators. Deductions to offset income is a fools game. The requirement of a gigantic apparatus to administer arcane compliance through a web of Byzantine mazes is the height of insult to ourselves and our country. Can anyone doubt there must be a better way? Of course there is, but it will never see the light of sunshine on this day; within the current political structure.

That brute hard reality, doesn't change because people demand more solutions; but that government is unable to provide. Where actual problems exist, most solutions are possible within our market system, where true competition is allowed to contend for patronage. But when that competition is destroyed because of confiscatory regulations, unconscionable levies and favorable treatment of the largest and dominate conglomerates, you have departed from free enterprise and have entered the domain of state/capitalism.

It may not be much of a surprise that the public has so little enthusiasm with the meager refund that they will get. They know that inflation is genuine, because they pay the bills. They also know that the chances for true relief are nil. So when will there be a national outrage? When will the public demand that which they have earned for their own use? The sad answer is not anytime soon. The tax issue is rapped in the clothes of our national malady. The majority is now content to be the junior partner in their own endeavors. The American spirit has been dimmed and shines only rarely nowadays. Those few who are willing to resist, usually pay a heavy burden for exercising their rights.

When people demand prescription drug coverage, paid out of the public treasury as a right, while paying half their income in taxes, you have an undeniable national crisis. But that is exactly where we are! We could list all the alternatives for generating public funds to finance government, but those options will fall on hollow ears. The will to insist upon fundamental reform is absent in the public consciousness. The antagonist extends beyond the usual suspects, for we have all become part of this shell game. We all act like drunken sailors at a foreign port, on pay day; but swab the deck the rest of the month while we recover from our hangover.

So take your scanty rebate and spend it well, the price of the burgers are on the rise and your hunger will return sooner than you think. Some of us could bear losing that excessive weight, but others, can't afford the gas to get to the drive thru. If you are happy with this plight, Rod Serling would be proud. You are not only an audience for all his reruns, but are actually actors in this theater of the absurd.

SARTRE - May 29, 2001

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