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Taxes are the Lifeblood of a Healthy Society

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With all this "noise" about fake news, there must be a "signal" we can call the truth in it somewhere. I think I found it. The truth is similar to pragmatism's claim that the truth is what works. And what works is being forced upon us by those for whom is works.

In simple terms, the confusion is the message. Keep the great unwashed masses confused and you can get away with just about anything. For instance, claiming a tax cut for the rich will be revenue neutral and then claiming the national debt has risen because of Social Security benefits and not because of the latest tax cut for major corporations who already don't pay their fair share of taxes.

When money doesn't come back into society (like from taxes) and it's kept out of circulation, society gets to a point where it simply can't function. Here's some news that has been proven fake for forty years: Keep taxes low on the uber wealthy and benefits will trickle down to the rest of us.

This is not politics. This is history. Don't believe me. Do the research.

Yoni Varoufakis, an academic economist and past member of the Greek parliament, explained our economic woes in a TED talk I watched recently. He called it the twin peaks of Debt and Cash. We can't pay off the debt because the mega-wealthy are taking the cash out of the system, refusing to pay taxes, and refusing to invest it on the programs that will employ people, which would increase the tax base and consequently pay off the debt.

Then I watched another talk by mega-wealthy Nick Hanauer, who says this situation is the result of neoliberal economic policies in practice for the last 40 years. What are neoliberal economic policies, you ask? Think of "trickle-down" economics and you'll have the gist of it. (This may be confusing to some. Neo-liberal economic policy has nothing to do with liberal or progressive politics)

According to Hanauer, a billionaire himself, two specific policies stick out: The reduction in the balance of power between labor and capital has left the workers' futures at the whim and fancy of the employer. Check out the quality of life in the right to work states. And the seeming eternal myth that increasing the minimum wage will result in fewer jobs, which has been proven wrong over and over again.

Tie this all up with the fact that corporations are really running our government and the foggy fake news laid down by spin doctors begins to clear up. To the government, to the corporations, to the mega-wealthy, we're all expendable cogs in the wheels of their progress.

When you decide who to vote for next time listen for how your candidate deals with these topics. And keep in mind the old adage, "we get the kind of government we deserve." If you've paid even a minute amount of attention to the national narrative, you would know that the Republican Party is the party of the wealthy. What you may not know is when you vote for them, that doesn't make you wealthy too.

Robert DeFilippis

 

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Author, columnist, and blogger with a long career in business management, management consulting and executive coaching. I've authored and published seven books: "You, Your Self and the 21st Century,"The Flowers Are Talking to Me," and "Faith (more...)
 

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5 people are discussing this page, with 16 comments  Post Comment


Robert De Filippis

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It's almost tax time and the air will be filled with all kinds of BS about taxes.

Submitted on Tuesday, Jan 14, 2020 at 4:18:42 PM

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Thomas Knapp

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Taxes don't come into "society." They come into "the state." In anything other than Mussolini's desired all-encompassing fascist system, there's a difference.

Submitted on Tuesday, Jan 14, 2020 at 7:21:09 PM

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Thanks for your response. I see government as a function of a society. But my point of the article is that taxes properly paid and spent are necessary for a functioning economy and consequently a healthy society.

Submitted on Tuesday, Jan 14, 2020 at 9:22:03 PM

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Yes, that's where we disagree. In my view, and as Marx put it, the state is the executive committee of the ruling class. It neither constitutes, nor usually very much represents, "society."


So I would characterize the act of taxation as appropriating surplus value FROM society for the benefit of the ruling class, in much the same way that Marx characterizes capital as appropriating surplus value from labor.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jan 15, 2020 at 1:37:15 PM

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Reply to Thomas Knapp:   New Content

Thank you for your insights. But pointing out that there are hierarchies of power, a phenomenon as old as life in this planet, seems gratuitous to me. So I'll stay with my expressed intent of the article, which was to point out the impact on society of not paying taxes.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jan 15, 2020 at 5:43:08 PM

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Lee Beacham

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Reply to Thomas Knapp:   New Content

Want less taxes? Reduce government. Reduce regulations, laws and government employees. Top to bottom. Simple to say....but true. There is no other way to reduce taxes. Government has to do less with less people.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jan 15, 2020 at 8:48:18 PM

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That is the way it actually works, despite the fact they are supposed to promote the general welfare, among other things.

Submitted on Thursday, Jan 16, 2020 at 9:04:15 AM

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As long as taxes do not go in any way to subsidize or protect industries that cause public health harms, we'd be pretty much ok.

Unfortunately......

Submitted on Wednesday, Jan 15, 2020 at 6:25:49 AM

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Thanks for your response. Unfortunately, we don't get to designate where our taxes are spent except through voting. And that's a real stretch.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jan 15, 2020 at 5:44:42 PM

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It is worse than that. Subsidizing the wealthy at the expense of the middle and lower classes increases the power of the wealthy. Wealth and power increase psychopathic behavior among those who have it.


It is possible we may reach the point when a French Revolution may be needed to save us. I certainly hope not.

Submitted on Thursday, Jan 16, 2020 at 9:07:20 AM

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" When money doesn't come back into society (like from taxes) and it's kept out of circulation, society gets to a point where it simply can't function." Really, is there any money that is not "in Society"? Unless it's in a mattress or gold bars, it's in circulation in our economy. What I think you are saying is people who are not in the economy don't get enough money. But it's not all doom and gloom. Nobody goes hungry (NOBODY). The truly mentally ill do slip through if they don't have caring family. The anti-social mentally ill use to be confined for their protection. Liberals interfered with that. We need to revisit the rights of the incompetent. Same with drug abuse. We either put up with the status quo or implement "tough love". That's penalize bad behavior and reward the good. Most long term poor will stay poor. Poor isn't jail. Poor can leave poor when they want to sacrifice what ever is keeping them poor. Again...Where is this money not in circulation? I want some.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jan 15, 2020 at 8:43:49 PM

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Reply to Lee Beacham:   New Content

You do not seem to understand the concept of "velocity of money". Invested money circulates far more slowly than money used in every day transactions. Invested money produces far less "utility" than money circulated through people who need it.

Submitted on Thursday, Jan 16, 2020 at 9:10:10 AM

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Robert De Filippis

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Reply to Lee Beacham:   New Content

I disagree with your comments on so many levels. When money is taken out and put into other financial holdings like off shore accounts, our economy suffers. That's the point of this article. Regarding the hungry.You don't know what you're talking about. I volunteered in a homeless shelter for 18 months. I met lots of hungry people. Ronald Reagan shut down the state run mental institutions and he sure wasn't a liberal. Thinking drug abuse will respond to tough love and punishment is about as ridiculous as it gets. The WHO declared it hasn't worked for four decades of trying. Finally regarding the poor choosing to be poor is such an ignorant generalization, I don't think it deserves a rational answer. Here's my suggestion. Stop commenting about issues you've read about and go out and do something about them. Then come back with a valid opinion or two.


Submitted on Thursday, Jan 16, 2020 at 1:53:43 PM

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Lee Beacham

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I'm as close as an expert you'll get. I was born into a dysfunctional family. My abusive alcoholic dad beat me and brothers when he occasionally slept in our house a few days a week. At age 15 he told me he never wanted to see us again. My mother went on to marry 3 more times. A couple were good guys. I quit school at 16. But I married an angel at 21 and entered Clemson at 24. Graduated with a B.S. on time with no debt. Worked my ass off for a while and then worked smart till I retired at 60 on investments. Never without a job. I've seen it all, done it all except illegal drugs. If you can't make a life in America, you didn't want it enough. The good thing is you're free to be a low as you want to go. We as a nation should quit trying to bribe people to be more than they want to be. Most people left to their own will rise as high as they want. How? Get up early, work as long as you can and sleep so you can do it all week. You can rest when you're dead.

Submitted on Saturday, Jan 18, 2020 at 4:36:47 AM

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Richard Pietrasz

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Reply to Lee Beacham:   New Content

Some succeed the way you did. Not all have the drive, energy, minimum talent, and luck. The US economy has long been structured such that many people who do all the right things will continue to fail, because there is not enough room at the levels enough above poverty to be comfortable.

Submitted on Saturday, Jan 18, 2020 at 5:44:47 AM

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Reply to Richard Pietrasz:   New Content

Sorry, I don't believe you. I said I've been around. More than most. I've supervised dropouts and collage grads. It's bad personal decisions that you seem to think society is responsible for. You are wrong. Poverty is time and place, not a life. No one in America is rooted in poverty unless they are comfortable with it. More are just either evil or lazy. Everybody gets to choose every day. No one is cemented or hogtied to poverty. Don't ignore poor but proud. Poor parents raise successful kids and vice versa. No one in America is forced to be poor (or more poor than they want to be). We will allways have poor people. They're just not the same ones year to year. Luck is what God gives you. Not everyone recognizes God when he knocks. I did. He provided me with a wife that made all the difference. 45 yrs now and counting.

Submitted on Monday, Jan 20, 2020 at 1:54:13 AM

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