William The Coroner’s Forensic Files

Wednesday, 15, April, 2009

Further Thoughts on Tax Day

Filed under: Social Commentary — williamthecoroner @ 22:08

Having read these essays, I was thinking more thoughts about tax day.  I enjoy living in an industrialized society. I like having libraries, and roads, and mail delivery. I like having public health, and FAA inspectors, and food inspectors, and all of that. I think that the United States is too big, and to wealthy, to put up with people dying in the streets.

I’m willing to pay for that. I’m willing to pay decent money for those things. I do want, however some things in return for my money.

  • I’d like the people in government to act like public servants. Entirely too many people in politics get too used to having people’s tongues (metaphorically) stuck up their behinds.
  • I’d like government to act efficiently and carefully.
  • I’d like government to stick to it’s brief, and either get constitutional justification for their actions or stay out of it. (You want a National Endowment for the Arts? Peachy. Pass a constitutional amendment and do it the right way)
  • My county government has been hit by many scandals in the past few months.  I know that there is a whole public corruption task force at the F.B.I. office in town, and they’ve had to pull in agents from out of town to deal with the mess and graft.  I want to see severe penalties for this.
  • I’d like people to either get serious about the rule of law, and enforce them, or get rid of the laws.
  • Finally, I’d like to see being a member of Federal or State government to be a part-time job.  I’ve pursued an anti-incumbent voting policy for years, and I think Crankyprof has the right idea.

Ultimately, though, it is the small businessperson, the professional, the tradesperson who ultimately does stuff.  I appreciate the FAA inspector keeping my airplane from falling out of the sky (or on my house)  AND I appreciate the pilot who gets me there in time and in one piece as well.  Government does a lot of important stuff, and it is wise to pool and centralize some resources.  I can’t hire an individual inspector to make sure the planes are safe, for example.  If there were no airlines, that inspector would be on line to get on the Golgafrinchian B ark.  But government doesn’t make stuff, it doesn’t make wealth, and it doesn’t build the economy.  We shouldn’t treat the people who do as a cash cow to milk.

In addtion,  everything, EVERYTHING, spent by the government is paid for by consumers at some point.  Ford buys a stamping press?  The cost of that goes into the cost of your car.  Higher taxes on business–that’ll get passed along too.

I used to have a computer game called Sim City.  It was pretty crude, this being 1989 and all, but you were a city administrator, collecting money in taxes and providing city services.  If you didn’t provide the important services, people left.  If you made taxes too high, people left too.  It was a crude example, but people do look at value in their lives.  I live in a suburb, and pay a significant tax burden.  The city services are pretty darn good.  If I lived in the City of Cleveland, I’d pay significantly less.  I’d also get lousy schools, indifferent garbage pick-up, spotty police protection, and my street would not get plowed in the winter.


  1. AGREED! Well said Sir!

    Comment by Old NFO — Wednesday, 15, April, 2009 @ 22:36 | Reply

  2. I don’t understand the argument that you need Constitutional Amendment to fund the NEA. Congress has power to raise taxes ‘for the general welfare’, and the power also seems implied by the Necessary & Proper clause (although whether any one agrees that it’s either necessary or proper for the gov’t to fund art is worthy of debate on the floor of congress).

    But I would caution against term limits. For one thing, when people get fed up, they DO throw the bums out. We’ve seen it in 2008, 2006, 1994, etc. And if you put term limits on the legislative branch, you open up a couple of other cans of worms. For one, every few years you’ll have a bunch of politicians with ‘nothing to lose’. They’re getting thrown out, and unless they’re going to run for another higher office, then they basically have no one to answer to. And, you increase the power of the senior staffers, lobbyists, and others who are already entrenched on The Hill. They’re permanent and also not beholden to the voters. (This is a bit of an issue with the Executive, but is much worse with the legistlature.)

    Comment by Bill — Thursday, 16, April, 2009 @ 13:13 | Reply

    • I agree, the problem with term limits, though, is that we don’t throw the bums out.

      I’m not a constitutional scholar, by a long shot. I’m concerned that the “Necessary and Proper” and general welfare clauses are too bloody broad. I LIKE the tenth amendment. Though it may be convenient and easy to just say “make it so” I think it should be difficult to make it so. Yes, governments have sponsored art since before the Pharoahs. Doesn’t make it right. Education? Education is a good thing. Is is the purview of the Federal government? The drinking age?

      Comment by williamthecoroner — Thursday, 16, April, 2009 @ 20:34

  3. I’ve been reading “Atlas Shrugged” and am about half way through. It’s amazing how much it duplicates the antics of our government today.

    I whole heartedly recommend everyone read or re-read it. It’s an eye-opener and very appropriate for our times.

    Comment by Crucis — Thursday, 16, April, 2009 @ 17:08 | Reply

  4. I have long been a proponent of term limits as a means to halt career politicians… make ’em go home and live with the results of their politicking… but I’ve been thinking a lot about Bill’s comment. Take away the need to get reelected, and you take away some of their restraint… it bears thinking about. So how can we restrain them by other means? Cut and cap their salaries and take away their cushy benefits, maybe? Pay them like servants instead of like masters? Unfortunately, Congress has the power to vote their own pay raises and benefits, and no member of Congress is likely to vote to change that. So again, I ask… how do we restrain them without term limits?

    Comment by misbeHaven — Friday, 17, April, 2009 @ 08:52 | Reply

    • Piers Anthony wrote a hideous story in his Anthonology where the only people who could be politicians suffered such severe torture that they were basically completely handicapped, and so had no physical desires that they could fulfill. I wonder if making the consequences of misdeeds higher would work. But then I liked the way the Romans handled things.

      Comment by williamthecoroner — Friday, 17, April, 2009 @ 08:58

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