William Thien

Archive for August 2012

An associate of mine was telling me that he had received a substantial tax refund this year and when comparing it to mine I was rather surprised as it was many thousands of dollars more. During the time that we have worked together, he has received close to a year’s salary in total tax refunds more than I. That’s substantial and a bit of an insult to me since we have the same position and are paid exactly the same. We are not businessmen so we do not have a large number of operating costs we can write off. We both make the same amount of money. He is married, I am not, but that was only a minor difference. The major difference between his tax return and mine was that he has five children.

On his tax return each of his children represented a large deduction to his earnings and as a result, he received a substantially larger tax refund than I did. At first I thought, OK, raising children is expensive these days, why shouldn’t he get some help from the government (that’s us the taxpayers, by the way)? But then the thought occurred to me (I didn’t tell him and I hope he doesn’t read my blog) that his children are going to public schools and at times he has used public services for medical support of his family. Again, there is nothing wrong with that. It is good that we offer the best public education in the world and can provide medical support to families in need.

But to give him a tax break substantially larger than mine when in fact he uses more public services than I do, uses more services in a substantially greater amount than I do, seems like foolish and definitely unfair tax policy. What is essentially happening is that I am paying for his children to attend school and to obtain free health care. The tax break, the deduction that he receives is possible because I do not receive the tax break. In essence I am paying to raise his children. That’s how they offer him a tax break. They take it from me in some way or another and give it to him in the form of a deduction.

In the region of the country where I live there is a bird that lays its eggs in the nests of other birds and then lets the other birds rear their young. The name of the bird is The Brown Headed Cowbird. It sneaks up to another bird’s nest when the other bird is away foraging and deposits its egg in the other bird’s nest. When the bird that is out foraging returns to the nest, more often than not they simply begin incubating the Brown Headed Cowbird’s egg along with their own and then they rear the fledgling as if it was their own. Sometimes the host bird can’t raise its own and is only able to raise the fledgling of the Brown Headed Cowbird due to diminished resources in that vicinity and the voracity of the Cowbird fledgling.

It occurs to me that much like the unwitting bird who is rearing the Brown Headed Cowbird’s egg, the invader’s egg, a parasite as defined by ornithologists, I am paying to raise the children of others. If you ask me, that is unfair tax policy. Some might say, well that’s just the way it is, and I myself, I’m not certain I have a problem with that really.

But perhaps many of the problems we have with balancing governmental budgets, many of the problems we have with massive abuses of the huge system of entitlements we have in this country stems from the perception that people have originating from the tax code. Can we afford to have another child? Heck yea! It’s a tax break! And as families have more and more children using more and more government services, we as a country are at a loss for how to pay for those services used because we in fact give people a tax break for using them. In a sense, that is what is happening. And similar tax policies apply to corporations as well for conducting certain types of business or using certain types of resources, natural resources even.

No business in their right mind pays people 100 percent of the cost of their products to purchase their products. You will not find one truly successful business that says, “we will give you five dollars for every hamburger you buy from us.” Instead of you paying us, we will pay you. Sounds like a pretty good deal, right? Until of course it comes time to pay all those people behind the counter, the servers, the ones cooking the food, the maintenance people. Where is the money? Well, boss, we gave it to the customers. Well, where are they? Get the money back! They are at the restaurant across the street eating with the money we gave them. Well whose harebrained idea was it to give them the money in the first place?

It seems to me that if we want to balance the country’s budget and the budgets of all of the states and municipalities we need realistic tax codes and policies that address budget disparities, tax policies that somehow seek payment for services used and not payment to the users, particularly the Brown Headed Cowbirds of America.

It’s only fair.

Or, how about this? Do you have a Brown Headed Cowbird living in your back yard? Check this box for your standard Brown Headed Cowbird deduction, and if you are a corporation, double the deduction.

Copyright © William Thien 2012

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First, let me say that my condolences go out to the families of the victims and the survivors of the three mass shootings of late. The circumstances are indeed unfortunate.

But the media has wasted little time using its perpetual bully puppet to reinvigorate the debate on personal gun ownership in The United States, coming at the issue full steam ahead, and I believe that is a misuse of its Constitutionally granted authority in relation to the public and it must be addressed promptly.

I have not seen any one news outlet raise the question of whether or not any of the three shooters were carrying their guns legally in public or whether or not they had a concealed carry permit. Yet, the media wants to compare those who are carrying legally to the mass shooters simply by the mere fact that those who legally carry guns do in fact carry guns and so did the mass shooters. In other words, the media is putting those who carry legally in the same category as the mass shooters. Of course there is no logical conclusion there but the media neglects to inform the viewer of that fact and instead does what the media insists upon doing repeatedly and that is to cause hysteria, thereby causing irrational thought, thereby bringing about change under emotional circumstances when if there were ever an issue that should be decided when level headed, the issue of gun ownership in America is it. The media are “preying” upon the emotions of Americans while they are in throes. Typical of the media. Predatory. I add that the issue of gun ownership has already been debated and debated and debated and found by The Supreme Court to be constitutional.

It leads to me ask once again, why is the media so against gun ownership?

I have no way of investigating the matter myself, but I presume that none of the three mass shooters were carrying their weapons in public legally. The media neglects to inform the public of that fact. Let me add, though, that I believe in something called “Constitutional Carry,” or that you should be able to carry a weapon for self-defense without a permit required. So, ultimately the question is statistically insignificant. Why should I have to pay the government to protect myself? Because that is what almost always is involved with obtaining a concealed carry permit, a fee. Where I reside the fee for a concealed carry permit is fifty dollars, some training, and some paperwork.

In catastrophic physical attacks on people I know, the government has never been there to prevent the attacks, never, not once, yet I pay the government at huge expense to protect the people I know anyway. Why? I don’t pay the government to implement the law to get even with those who attack those I know, I pay the government to prevent the attacks in the first place. That is where concealed carry comes in, it helps to fill the gap created by the government’s inability to protect in a timely manner, at such a great expense, and you hope to prevent such events as the three mass shootings.

I doubt there is anyone out there, except the media and certain segments of the government perhaps, who would disagree with me that we live in a different age in America, one populated by highly violent, anti-social people and organizations (some would say animals) who stalk you, with method and in an organized way, and insult your existence as you go about your daily lives, corporations and organizations that spy in individual citizens and that collect information about your habits, likes and dislikes and your associations and sell that information, often highly personal, private information to anyone and everyone willing to pay for the information, not to mention those who would attack you for a few dollars just to buy something illegal. There are all sorts of private organizations collecting information on private citizens in The United States, one that even claims to be collecting information on one of the three previously mentioned shooters. Who knows what they are doing with that information? Who granted them the charter to collect that information in the first place and disseminate it publicly after the shooting? Do you see what I am talking about here, do you understand the insult to the basic human rights that modern Americans suffer from the onslaught of the myriad of organizations and media and government who are squeezing the very ether of personal right in America right out of the American? Contemporary existence in America is a persistent, violent insult.

It makes you wonder why the three shooters really went off?

We live in a predatory age in America. The media corporation is predatory. Corporations themselves are predatory. The government is often predatory. And that is what you get when you live in a predatory age like ours.

Copyright © William Thien 2012

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During a conversation with an asscociate she made the statement that social programs were good in that they help people that are in need keep their heads above water. You cannot really refute such a statement because it is obvious, kind of like “The sky is blue.” Of course the sky is blue, today perhaps.

The problem is that now substantially more people are receiving some form of government check in order to keep their heads above water than are paying into the system. With regard to the nation’s debt, the first thing they tell you in a class on lifeguard training is that the victim will try to pull you under with them in order to stay on top of the water and that they will clamp onto you in desperation like a vise.

Copyright © William Thien 2012

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