Saturday, July 10, 2010

Ya can't get sumthin' fer nuthin'

Please forgive me, as I'm liable to ramble from stress, lack of sleep, and other assorted foolishness, but all these Tea Part no-tax types are really giving me a wedgie of biblical proportions. They think government's the problem to everything and the free market is the solution to everything.

Uh, hello, you really think no government is a good idea? Go visit someplace that hasn't got a working government to speak of: Somalia. See how you like the free market solutions there, such as the strongest rule and everyone else cowers, piracy, child soldiers, rape as a tool or war, and so on. You think you're that tough, Messrs. Paul the Elder and the Younger and the rest of you, that you'll wind up top dog in that scenario?

The bottom line is that government serves us all. It's all around us and, despite its many problems, does us a whole boatload of good most of the time. It's like the list of things in the famous viral email A Day in the Life of Joe Republican--damn near everything the guy touches in his day has been developed, guarded, improved or otherwise affected in a positive way by some sort of government action, yet he thinks he's a lone superhero who achieved everything in his life on his own and he begrudges anyone else who wants a sliver of what he takes for granted.

You can't get sumthin' fer nuthin,' folks. Yeah, you anti-tax types, I'm talkin' to you. You want police and fire and EMS to come save your hide when something goes down? You pay taxes. Those rescue folks can't rescue you if the roads aren't plowed or the water doesn't flow, so you'd better have those public works types there, too. You need to sue a contractor to stiffed you? It takes court types to try the case and see to it that you get your restitution or the contractor who stiffed you goes to jail. It takes public servants to guard those people in jail. It takes accountants to keep banks in line and people at the DMV to test new drivers and bus drivers to get you to work and scientists to keep your drinking water clean and so much more. There are people doing thousands of jobs you've probably never even heard of, but if you need 'em, you'll be damned glad to have 'em.

Do government workers screw up? Sure. But I haven't seen your average rank-and-file public servant do to our country what Bernie Madoff did. Or BP. Or Enron. Etc. Our country functions better when there are enough jobs to go around, when people don't go hungry or sick, and when there's enough infrastructure (i.e. government) around to help keep the good stuff happening and keep a lid on as much of the bad stuff as possible.

And for the privilege of living in that society, you gotta pay. If you're not in a position to pay--say you're jobless, or unable to work, or have suffered some catastrophe, for example--then I think it is
perfectly fine for the government to help you, for as long as you need it, in whatever ways you need help to be safe, secure, healthy and keep a few shreds of dignity about you. People who are taken care of and made to feel welcome will, when they can, be eager to contribute whatever they can to society.

However, if you're one of the lucky ones who benefits a whole big heaping bunch from the privilege of living in a society with plenty of government to enforce laws and keep things moving, then isn't it fair that you pay a larger share of the cost? Unless you're the pirate lord in some part of Somalia, you didn't get there yourself. So unless you're willing to pay for your own private police, fire, medical, FDA, water testing, forensic accounting, armed services, court system and more, pay your share and quit your bitchin'.

crises averted, and then some.

The phone bill is paid and there is enough $ left over that this month
should end with enough food in our bellies. thank you.

The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all of your time.
Willem de Kooning

Friday, July 09, 2010

no taxation without representation

It's a familiar line, one that we are taught from childhood. It
sparked the revolution and brought about a democratic sea change that
would eventually span the globe.
But it's more than that. Real democracy can't exist without
representation, and it can't exist without a robust progressive tax
system. otherwise we end up with a walmart democracy. sure the price
is cheap but the product is crap and the workers are starving. we get
what we pay for, and low tax rates mean shitty policies.
Robust, progressive taxes. those 2 words are important. taxes are the
last safegaurd, the bit of leverage that means companies can pay their
workers shit if they like, but the workers will get back services from
the government like healthcare and eduction funded by the taxes the
company and their bosses pay. it incentivises higher wages so that fat
cats can offset some of their own tax burden. it makes politicians
more responsive to the people, because the people have paid for

The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all of your time.
Willem de Kooning


my phone (and only source of internet since my compy died) is about to
be shut off and i foolishly spent this month's donations/subscriptions
on groceries.
70 bucks keeps it on for now. 140 keeps it on till august. i wish i
had some pithy wit to make you giggle and hit the donate button but
all i got is a giant worryball o stress.

The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all of your time.
Willem de Kooning