William Thien

Archive for October 2012

In an observation on eliminating tax deductions I brought up the subject of “tax surrogacy” in The United States. My position is that childless taxpayers are merely “tax surrogates” for a parasitic tax code that allows taxpayers with children to obtain a child tax credit or deduction for each child they are raising and the funds for such deductions are available because childless taxpayers are not eligible. In other words, childless taxpayers are paying to raise the children of those with children because the childless taxpayer does not receive the deduction. I elaborate further on that perspective in America’s Unfair Tax Code and The Brown Headed Cowbird.

But the more I consider the concept of “tax surrogacy” the more I see it applies to a wider breadth of the country’s population. Not only are childless taxpayers tax surrogates for those with children, the middle class taxpayer is a tax surrogate for both the poor and the very wealthy. That relationship is enabled through clever manipulation of the public’s perception of the poor and of wealthy taxpayers, to which within the scope of the definition of “wealthy taxpayers” I will include corporations, because ultimately what I am writing about here is welfare by favorable taxation, and corporations benefit quite obviously the most from the tax code.

In fact certain corporations support that party which offers multiple layers of welfare to the poor because those corporations then benefit from that relationship. Either the poor are at home watching television and buying products advertised by those corporations on television or congress is lobbied to provide favorable taxation to those corporations simply because a corporation is defined as “a person” in the eyes of the law and in legislative terms and so it is argued, lobbied, that since certain citizens are eligible for various types of what is essentially welfare, so then should corporations be eligible as well, corporations which again are viewed as people by the law, something Romney attempted to elaborate on earlier in the year and everyone who hasn’t a clue about such law squawked about it! Oh yes, this is how tax law is created that governs corporations. Corporations are seen as “people” by the law. Hence, tax code is created to govern corporate profits as if they were indeed personal income. Clever, isn’t it.

This is one reason why I do not favor all sorts of social programs designed to help the poor. Nothing wrong with helping the poor. But due to the parasitic tax code in this country there are other beneficiaries, corporations for example, of the tax code who may not need those benefits. Now I believe favorable taxes must be in place for corporations, lower taxes even, but the problem with the current tax code is that the money for the tax welfare has to come from somewhere. And in the way the current tax code is structured, it comes from the middle classes. All welfare, whether it be food stamps, a social program, a medical program for the poor, or corporate welfare, is paid for in The United States by the middle classes. The poor do not contribute and the wealthy escape participation through the tax code. The middle classes are effectively “tax surrogates” paying at both ends, to the poor and the wealthy. And if you are a single taxpayer with no children, you pay even more. That is of course totally unfair tax policy. I myself am single with no children. When all is said and done I take home about two-thirds of my pay yet am ineligible for any social or medical programs because I have no children. If I had children, I would be eligible for free medical care in the state I reside (children make you eligible for social programs and welfare and basically change the government structure for you to a communist government structure and this is why many poor have children, because they know it will then make them eligible for welfare which they would not receive otherwise).

I receive a tax refund but it is a paltry sum when I compare it to a co-worker’s who has children he declares on his taxes. I am a “tax surrogate” in the purist, strictest sense of the term.

America’s tax code is unfair. Tax surrogacy is nothing more than a crime really, perpetrated on the taxpayer, in particular the middle class taxpayer. It may not be a crime as defined by the law, but it is a sort of “social” or implied crime. The middle classes are not flush with cash and able to give it to everyone. Many are instead at the edge of their income bracket, now more than ever.

I don’t know if at this point in the country’s history we can change the law. But I felt before we could change the law I had to give the condition from which the middle class taxpayer suffers a name. I call it “tax surrogacy.” Someone may have already thought of it. That’s great.

Let this then simply be my explanation of what is happening in this country with regard to taxes and why I believe something needs to be done about it.

Copyright © William Thien 2012

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Karl Marx wrote that religion was the “opium of the people.” His belief was that religion took the place of a heartless, cruel world. It sounds good. It may be true. Yet, I am not equipped to quantify that statement. And for the purposes of this observation, it is not necessary to make such an investigation. History has in fact done that for us.

I have another perspective on an idea that arose from Marxist beliefs, a product of socialistic and communistic government structures. I believe the Social Safety Net that we have here in The United States, the way it is structured and the way it is abused, is a modern form of an “opiate of the masses.” Drug abuse is defined as use of a drug for a purpose it was not intended. We shall see that The Social Safety Net is abused also, something that is common knowledge, though I believe the parallel I draw between Religion as an opiate of the masses and The Social Safety Net as an opiate of the masses may be novel.

As an example I will use the food assistance program where I reside to demonstrate my perspective. There can be no question there is a need for such assistance. But as you will see, in its present form it is merely a crutch, an addiction, an opiate.

Where I reside one only needs to read the paper to find almost daily or weekly references to large scale fraud dealing with our system of food stamps, a social safety net program as an example, called a “Quest Card.” Often those involved in the fraudulent activity are members of the government themselves, whether they be law enforcement which has access to personal information, or the social workers and case managers which have access to the entire system of disbursements. But the larger scale abuses are coming from the recipients themselves. They boldly place advertisements on Facebook and Craigslist offering to buy or sell food assistance benefits illegally. Trades of the Quest Cards are done for drugs, alcohol, cigarettes. Thousands claim they have lost their Quest Cards and re-apply for a new one, doubling their benefits as the first is lost and cashed out, so to speak, and then the recipient receives a new card. Benefits are often received twice, multiple times, six or more it is believed, in a benefit cycle.

Then of course there is the user who doesn’t really need the assistance. That is where it is believed the greatest abuse occurs. But they are addicted to the system and are afraid to walk away from it. It is like a drug that is abused, not used for its proper intent, the definition of drug abuse. Once you are cured you are supposed to stop taking the drug. Food assistance benefits are supposed to help those in need but rarely do those who use the system use it only until they can recover from financial difficulty. Through clever manipulation of the system, tricks commonly shared often amongst generations of recipients, the beneficiary frequently continues to manipulate and use the system in perpetuity and therefor abuse it. It becomes like a drug, a crutch, an “opiate” and it keeps them reliant, keeps them oppressed. It is abused like a drug in a way. Food benefit assistance, the most obvious of the government programs arising out of socialist or communistic ideals is therefor an “opiate of the masses.” It is like an addiction.

I wonder what Karl Marx would think of that?

Copyright 2012 William Thien

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I am probably not the first to think of this, but since women have worked so hard to have more say in society and more power in the family unit, and many believe that men now have less and less power to control decisions within the family, why not let the candidates’ wives debate?

How many times have you heard someone say, “I have to ask my wife, first?” That should tell you something. I’m guessing that decision making process is just as influential with regard to the presidential candidates. So, if women have significantly more power to control decisions their husbands make compared to just twenty years ago, why not make them debate? After all, they wanted the power, now let’s hear what they have to say directly. We might even find out more about how their husband’s will make decisions instead of getting the line of BS.

We could run it during half-time of a football game.

Copyright 2012 William Thien

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One way to help you decide on a candidate might not be to consider only the candidates themselves but to pay more attention to their wives and what role they play in the family. Today, women have much more power to influence decisions made in the family than they did twenty years ago. A candidate’s wife may have quite a bit of influence on what her husband, the presidential candidate, will do or what decisions he may make. In fact, I’d say a candidate’s wife may have much more influence on the candidate than is displayed publicly, like a puppeteer.

How many times have you heard a co-worker say, “I have to ask my wife first? It’s too easy to get a divorce these days.”

And just as importantly, can the candidate suppress any and all influence from his wife if he needs to do so?

So, if you are having trouble making a decision about the candidate and if you don’t like the guy’s wife, vote for the other guy. And the same holds true for female candidates. If they are married and you are undecided and you don’t like their husbands, vote for the other guy, or gal.

Copyright 2012 William Thien

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Recently in the news the subject of America being The World’s Police Force came up again and something occurred to me about the matter. And this really only pertains to the capacity of our military in reference to a “police force.”

Since due to its force structure The United States is really the only country eminently capable of handling military activity around the world, it would seem then that by default The United States should be “The World’s Police Force.” You would think it should almost be automatic.

The problem with that sentiment, and it is a good one, is that it costs a lot of money.

Ordinarily police are paid for with local, state, and federal tax dollars. And they work within the borders of our country so the costs associated with the police traveling to and from police calls is limited to the geographical area within which taxes are originated for their employment.

Once you start sending so-called “police forces” outside of The United States, they begin policing in an area where no taxes are accumulated for their efforts. In other words, they are working for free at the cost of The US taxpayer.

Now there can be no question that there may be benefits to seeing peace installed in certain areas of the world where US forces intervene, but sometimes, actually, more often lately it would seem, the costs are way beyond the benefits to the American tax payer.

So, the question is raised, how do we pay for such military interventions without bankrupting The American Public? Well, for example, in Iraq I believe we should have somehow acquired at the very least partial rights to the oil reserves, for example. This is just an example, of course, though I believe it would have been suitable compensation for the dollar costs of the war there.

What is important is that as a country The United States doesn’t bankrupt its citizenry running all around the world attempting to quell each and every conflict. At any given time there are somewhere in the vicinity of 150 military actions taking place throughout the world. And unless we are protecting some viable resources of our own, I believe we should proceed with greater caution in the future unless we can insure our efforts will be compensated directly with the express intent of paying for the military action.

Military activity is expensive. I see no reason why The United States should not be able to acquire payment for its efforts. Call it colonialism if you will. It is better than making The American public out to be a bunch of patsies. And they are quite good at doing just that with their public relations campaigns and parades of sympathizers.

Otherwise, often we are really just working, and more importantly sacrificing our sons and daughters, for nothing really. An idea perhaps. But do we really want to keep making such sacrifices for everyone else’s ideas?

The world becomes a smaller and smaller place now. It is one thing to stand by your neighbor. It is another thing entirely to be tricked into accepting his fate.

Copyright 2012 William Thien

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One of the most interesting questions to me during the last presidential debate on 10/16 was the question posed by the woman asking about deductions. She prepped the questions to Romney with something about the fact that she is a mom or has children and based on that the rest of the country should support the fact that she has reproduced, as if everyone’s goal in this country is to see to it that the population grows way beyond what we as taxpayers can sustain merely because she can “reproduce” or due to some doctrinal directive from her church we should all support outlawing birth control.

Then she asked Candidate Romney about eliminating deductions because Romney said he was going to do that for the most wealthy taxpayers in certain circumstances. The woman wanted to know if Romney was going to eliminate the Child Care Tax Credit/Deduction, the College Tuition Tax Credit/Deduction, and two others?

It’s scary what deductions there are out there. No wonder this country is in such debt. It’s not just the cost of the wars, which are expensive. But there is all kinds of welfare hidden in the tax code, corporate welfare included.

Why should I have to pay for her to get a deduction on her taxes simply because she has reproduced? You know what they say, “If you can’t feed ’em, don’t breed ’em.” Why should I pay for her children to go to college? That’s not a national emergency or objective. I don’t know her. I probably will never know her or her family. I am sure she is a very nice person, but there is an assumption there, an expensive one, that says I should pay to raise her family. Because that’s where the money is coming from, people like me. And the problem is, now that those laws have been in the tax code for years, she expects it, whether it is fair to someone without children or not.

That’s not what this country is about. People that have no families are not “tax surrogates” here to support people who have families. What parasite created that type of tax law?

For more on this see my essay titled America’s Unfair Tax Code and The Brown Headed Cowbird dated Aug21, 2112. Then you will wonder why a platinum blonde asked the questions during the debate in the first place. Coincidence?

Copyright © William Thien 2012

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Some asked for my score of the most recent (10/16) Obama vs. Romney debate since I scored the Ryan-Biden debate like a boxing match. I will take credit for being the first to do it this way, to actually provide points.

Though I still don’t really hear what I want to hear from either presidential candidate, the Romney vs. Obama debate was indeed very interesting. I score it 19.5 to 12 in favor of Romney. President Obama made some excellent points, though, so I don’t want the final score to suggest that Obama wasn’t in the ring.

Of the two, Romney appeared to make more technical connections while Obama debated more like Muhammed Ali might fight, taking and deflecting a lot of solid blows while hoping to get a knockdown punch in. President Obama came close on the subject of leasing federal lands to oil producers.

There was a time or two when Romney used the term “trickle down government” which earned him a point in addition to his striking point. Obama’s stance was generally always sound. Romney’s was clearly more aggressive and he appeared to react more quickly.

So let’s examine the questions, of which the moderator said there were eleven. I counted twelve actual questions with the final question being number twelve. I will provide an explanation to the questions that I believe need more thorough explanation as to my scoring. I did not provide any points when they strayed off the subject of the question from the moderator since to me that is kind of like air-boxing.

1. On the subject of School Loans, Obama won 1.5 pts to Romney 1.0 pts. I myself believe school loans drive up the price of a college education artificially and substantially because of the increased availability of money. Prices reflect what the market will bear. If more money is made available, colleges will ask for more. And who can blame them? It’s that simple. But if there are no jobs for the graduates coming from programs colleges say will get them a job, I see no need to put those students in debt. It should not be so easy to obtain a college loan. Furthermore, not everyone needs a college education. The drive to “overeducate” everyone by forcing them into college makes it difficult for employers to obtain skilled labor in The US. Obama wins this one, though.
2. On the subject of Gas Prices, Obama 2.5 pts to Romney’s 2 pts. I believe Obama won this round for a number of reasons. First, his explanation as to how the federal land leases are currently being administered, that producers can’t merely sit on leases in perpetuity, seems like an effective way to manage the lands. In that way the federal government can make plans for the land and not have to include producers in the process. Plus, as President Obama said, they are making money off of the new scheme whereas before they were not. With regard to making the country “energy independent,” which has been a catch phrase for many elections, not just this one, I believe we can’t rely solely on fossil fuels, which is clearly Romney’s intention. Obama wins this round. To me this was the first of Obama’s haymakers, though Romney deflected it.
3. Eliminating Deductions: Romney 4 pts, Obama 2 pts. I think Romney offers a more suitable plan for structuring deductions and the tax code. This was something Obama promised during his first election which never materialized. The tax code in this country is out of hand and needs to be dealt with promptly. It favors primarily the wealthy and is killing the middle class, particularly single tax payers who are propping everyone else up because they have no deductions though single taxpayers comprise a large percentage of the population, almost half I believe. Removing deductions for certain taxpayers as Romney suggests seems like a suitable alternative for now, though much more is required of our elected when it comes to streamlining the tax code. Romney’s discussions throughout the election about lowering the tax rates for small businesses comes into play here and is an idea to which I don’t think President Obama has any solid defense. It’s a Romney win.
4. Women’s Issues: Romney 1, Obama 1.
5. Undecided Voters: This of course is an issue I have been discussing rather thoroughly to date. Obama 2 pts, Romney 1. This does not mean that were I an undecided voter that I would vote for Obama, merely that it appeared to me he addressed the question with a better response. But it’s not really an issue in of itself, so let’s just leave it at that for now. We are dissecting debate questions here in order to provide a point score.
6. Increased Cost of Living: Romney 2, Obama 0. Obama didn’t even answer the question. Romney had a thorough understanding of why prices have increased and appeared to have a way to address the problem, though seemingly dubious at times. Inflation is becoming a real problem at the store, particularly with food prices. Gas prices have doubled during Obama’s presidency as Romney pointed out several times for which he scored. This is where Romney’s plan to increase national production of oil and coal comes in solidly. It’s a reality issue. Developing alternative energy is extremely important, but we can’t completely forget about the present. Solid Romney upper cut.
7. Immigration: Romney 3.5 pts, Obama 1. Though this question wasn’t quite phrased in the manner in which it was meant to be discussed, that it was meant to discuss illegal immigrants from “Mexico,” and not the rest of the world, Romney seemed to answer the questions more honestly while it appeared to me that President Obama positioned his response to achieve more votes. I like Mexico. I like Mexicans. Mexicans are a decent, hard-working people. But the problem of illegal immigration in The US is at the very least an expensive problem as their visits to the hospital and use of public services without paying taxes gets transferred to you and I. Undocumented workers also undermine our workforce substantially as employers jump at the opportunity to pay someone a fraction of what they would pay an American worker while also offering no benefits and not having to report. Romney clearly meant to address the problem in his response. President Obama appeared to want to offer only amnesty type solutions. The matter of what to do with families of illegals that are here and have children born in The United States will have be addressed, though. Neither candidate seemed to have a suitable solution for that problem. We can’t merely send the parents back to Mexico and put the children in foster care. That would end up costing more in the long run as social problems arise. Upper cut, Romney.
8. Libyan Embassy: Romney 2 pts, Obama 1. Having read numerous books on the subject of using indigenous private contractors to provide security services in war and during police actions, particularly at remote outposts, I can understand why the terrorists were so effective at taking control of the US facility in Libya and why President Obama was so hesitant in his response to call the matter “terrorism” in The Rose Garden the day after. Such hired forces are usually not very well trained and often a bunch of children with AK’s can subdue them. Diplomatically, it would not be a suitable move for Obama to make accusations without analysis. Romney, though, clearly knew that more thorough security was required. Though the situation is being examined in hindsight, I believe Romney would have provided an attachment at the very least for security at the first sign of need or request from the sight. Romney wins this round.
9. Assault Weapons: Romney 2 pts, Obama 0. Though I too am dismayed at the recent mass shootings, disarming everyone is not the answer. Why? The government also has assault weapons. Assault weapons are in fact child’s play in comparison to what the government has. Back in the day when the citizenry had muskets and the government had muskets, things were a little more even. The reason that many people have assault weapons is not so much because of their neighbors, it’s because of what the government has, I am certain. With a law governing every step we take, and just about every conceivable technology used to enforce those laws, the government definitely has the bully pulpit when it comes to weaponry. The reason I don’t think we should ban assault weapons is because the government has assault weapons. Enough said. Roundhouse, Romney.
10. Jobs Overseas: Romney 2 pts. Obama 1. I agree with President Obama that we should not be providing tax breaks to companies producing goods overseas. I don’t see much of a way to get around that unless we change the law and provide incentives for companies to move their production back to The United States. Also, we can offer tariffs for US companies producing outside of The United States and then bringing the products back here just as we do to foreign companies. But Romney’s response seemed more thorough, which is why he got the two points to President Obama’s one point.
11. Electronic devices made in China: Romney 1, Obama 0. Romney seemed to have a better understanding of the process. But I would add that President Obama would be well within his privy to add a tax to such products brought into the United States that were manufactured outside of the country by a US Manufacturer and then sold here under US branding. They should be treated in the same way as a foreign manufacturer because they are indeed manufactured in a foreign country, which is probably how the law is stated governing such taxes in the first place. I am certain there are plenty of people willing to make pads and pods right here in The US of varying types. It’s just that the manufacturers don’t want to surrender their profit margins. But if the US is the largest market in the world for such products, I see no reason to undermine it by giving those jobs away. Tax products made overseas but that have US branding. No question. Furthermore, the question recently came to the fore about some Chinese manufacturers implementing technology used to spy on US citizens into their cell phones and other electronic technology. I should think it is basically a no brainer. Tax such products. Tax then them to death if you have to.
12. Final question: instead of scoring this one, because it was really just a bunch of fluff from both candidates, I wanted to add my analysis of the event. I believe President Obama and Candidate Romney have some excellent ideas. On the issue of taxes, I favor Romney’s ideas about taxing small business at a lower rate. I believe President Obama’s point that Hedge Funds were taxed as a small business needs to be addressed, though. Hedge funds are a sketchy business to begin with and have historically been at the center of a number of significant financial debacles in The US that have sent shudders into the financial markets. Since they are so socially costly, they should be taxed proportionately.

I don’t favor raising taxes for any one social or economic class because I believe taxing just the very wealthy is unfair. Even if they pay at a lower rate, they pay usually so much more than the rest that it seems unfair. For example, Romney paid close to two million dollars in income taxes last year on 14 million. Not close to the rate that I pay. But did he use that amount of services, that much more than I did, or a family of ten even? Probably not. As a family, the Romney’s have probably not used that much in government services. But they paid substantially more than I did. Simply taxing the wealthy because they have the money doesn’t seem fair to me. Fairness to me seems like halting the government program that rewards a woman for a night of illicit behavior and then having a child as a result, to which my taxes go to support, for its entire life, who when he or she matures, statistically is more likely to attack me in a parking lot than improve my life somehow. To me, it seems more fair to begin now to curtail the socialist system that once was designed to be a safety net and is now a source of perpetual abuse and misuse, which by the way, could be seen to include various forms of corporate welfare, too. I think Romney’s idea of reducing the number of deductions for the wealthy is a better solution than merely raising their taxes. To me that is unfair. Also, next they will say, since we raised their taxes, your taxes are next, by the way. You can bet on that.

I didn’t see any complete knock downs in the debate, though President Obama threw some real haymakers. But Romney deflected them well and appeared to offer a thorough counter for each.

Though they were both standing and relatively unscathed at the end of the bout, I give this match to Romney. Romney 19.5 pts to Obama’s 12.

Copyright © William Thien 2012

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