Wayne Root: The Progressive Model of Tax & Spend is Dead — Even in New York

Emailed to contact.ipr@gmail.com
By Wayne Allyn Root, Former Libertarian Vice Presidential Nominee and Best-Selling Author

It’s amazing to me that there are still a few people in America pushing the dinosaur called “the progressive agenda.” How can anyone demand bigger government, more services, higher spending, and higher taxes in the middle of a financial Armageddon? That’s not a progressive agenda. It’s a bankruptcy agenda. These people aren’t liberals, they are fossils. It’s a far different world out there — perhaps they haven’t noticed. But the proof is found in my old home state of New York, and my new adopted home state of Nevada.

There is a dramatic and truly amazing lesson developing right now in New York. The newly elected Governor of New York is Democrat Andrew Cuomo. He is the son of one of the heroes of big government “tax and spend” liberalism — former New York Governor Mario Cuomo. Yet this new and improved Cuomo refuses to raise taxes one cent. He is demanding a “radical shift” in the way New York is run (headline quoted from the liberal New York Times). That “radical shift” is built around the idea of dramatic cuts in services, smaller government, far fewer government employees and agencies, and reigning in public employee unions. As a lifelong fiscal conservative, I couldn’t have said it better myself. Cuomo promises to reduce the entire $10 billion deficit with $10 billion in spending cuts. He is pro-business and refuses to use “class warfare” to incite jealousy and hatred. Amen.

Most remarkable of all, even with a $10 billion budget deficit, this new generation of Cuomo is actually allowing a “Wealth Tax” (a higher tax on wealthy New Yorkers) to expire. Ending this wealth tax will cost the state of New York an extra billion dollars. This Cuomo says that if New York doesn’t stop raising taxes on the rich and business, there will be no businesses or rich left to tax. Who does this guy think he is — me?

In short, the “progressive” agenda is dying before our very eyes. Even New York Democrats have had enough of high taxes necessary to pay toll takers $100,000 per year in retirement. Even New Yorkers have had it with sanitation workers who make $90,000 per year, but can’t manage to clear the streets in a blizzard. Even New Yorkers are in shock over the bankruptcy of OTB (Off Track Betting). Government is so pathetic in New York, they’ve managed to pull off the impossible — run the gambling business into bankruptcy! How did this happen? There were far too many OTB employees (all cronies of government bureaucrats and politicians), collecting bloated salaries and obscene pensions at the expense of taxpayers. The goose that laid the golden egg was finally killed by the greed and incompetence of big government. I figured this all out 20 years ago and escaped from New York.

Let New York serve as proof that the entire country will soon be moving TOWARDS the model of my adopted home state of Nevada. What is the Nevada model? It’s simple. It’s the model of the United States Constitution — government should do as little as possible, leave the rest to the people and the private sector, and then get the heck out of the way. Nevada’s model is smaller government, lower spending, reduced services, fewer government employees, and lower taxes. Does it work? Ask the U.S. Census Bureau. Nevada is once again the fastest growing state in America — for the fifth straight decade. It’s no coincidence or luck when you’re #1 for 50 years in a row.

Does Nevada have financial problems despite that philosophy of smaller government? You bet. Like the other 49 states, Nevada spent irresponsibly for the past decade. We spent money we didn’t have. That’s not a tax problem. That’s a spending addiction. It’s time for our states to enter rehab.

Brian Sandoval, the newly elected Governor of Nevada, is a fiscal conservative who promises to close the budget gap without raising one cent in taxes. Like New York Governor Cuomo, he’s even promising to allow about a billion dollars of temporary tax increases enacted a few years ago to expire. That’s called courage. If our Governor holds true to his promise, I predict Nevada will be #1 out of 50 states for many more decades to come.

Cities, counties and states across America are facing financial disaster and bankruptcy due to unsustainable spending and debt. Higher taxes aren’t the answer — it is America’s highest tax states that are facing the worst ruin. The lesson is clear — higher taxes lead to even higher spending, deficit and debt. Higher taxes are used to hire more government employees, at higher salaries, with bigger pensions. This progressive agenda leads to economic ruin all over the world. Ask New York. Ask California. Or ask the PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain). They all suffer from the same maladies — big government, bloated spending, big pensions, unsustainable deficits, powerful unions, and too many government employees trying to leech off too few taxpayers. It’s a dying model.

Perhaps liberals, progressives, and the Obama socialist cabal need to watch the news once in a while. If they did, they’d see the greatest example of all. Even communist Cuba is cutting 500,000 government employees, promising to cut another 500,000 soon, and asking its citizens to stop expecting so much from government. Thankfully, the progressive model of big government is dead.

Wayne Allyn Root escaped from New York 22 years ago. He now resides outside Las Vegas, Nevada. A former Libertarian Vice Presidential nominee, Wayne now serves as Chairman of the Libertarian National Congressional Committee. He is the best-selling author of “The Conscience of a Libertarian: Empowering the Citizen Revolution with God, Guns, Gold & Tax Cuts.” His web site: www.ROOTforAmerica.com

88 thoughts on “Wayne Root: The Progressive Model of Tax & Spend is Dead — Even in New York

  1. Hmmm ...

    jThe worst housing markets in America:

    #2. Nevada

    2010 Foreclosures: 9.42% (Worst)
    Unemployment: 14.3% (Worst)
    Decrease in Building Permits 2006-2010: -84.39% (Worst)

    In 2010, an incredible 9.42% of all housing units in Nevada were foreclosed upon. This is by far the highest foreclosure rate in the U.S., and is nearly twice that of the next-worst state. Nevada also has the highest unemployment rate in the United States, at 14.3%.The recession undermined profits in the gaming industry. Between 2006 and 2010, the state had an 84.3% decrease in building permit requests, the largest drop in the country. This has resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of construction jobs.

  2. wayne root

    I guess “Hmmmm” just doesn’t get it. Another fossil supporting dinosaur policies. If you read my commentary it says VERY clearly (assuming you read) that Nevada has financial problems too. Yet we are GAINING population while the high tax states lose it. We aren’t just gaining…we are #1. I realize progressives can’t take facts but…here it is. NY, California, NJ, Connecticut, Illinois are in economic crisis…and everyone who owns a biusiness is moving away as fast as they can.

    On the other hand no tax states like Nevada, Florida, Texas and several others are in financial crisis…yet still growing. Get the difference “Mr. Hmmmm?”

    We are ALL in financial crisis. Because all 50 states spent too much on welfare, entitlements and government employees. Every state made a huge mistake by following the progressive model. Result: disaster for all 50 states.

    But the states that kept taxes low…are still growing. And the best part of all…they are growing because business owners and retirees with assets are running towards them. The kind of people you need to turnaround an economy.

    So guess what “Hmmmm?” Nevada and Texas and Arizona and Florida will survive and turnaround and THRIVE.

    While the progressive fools that choose to continue taxing and spending will NOT survive. California and big government states like it will be left with nothing but a Nanny State filled with non productive people that need government to pay for them.

    Good luck.

    Put out the sign, “Closed. No longer in business.”

    Time to admit you lost.

    Nevada could lead the nation in every bad category…and STILL we’ll lead the nation in business owners moving here.

    And Texas has an even better story- half of all the jobs in America in the past year were created in Texas.

    No, not everyone likes Texas and Nevada. Not everyone will move there…

    Only the people with all the money and assets…who own the businesses, stocks, and real estate that makes America go.

    And soon…if things don’t change…the same exodus will leave America for countries with more economic freedom and lower taxes.

    Taxes = theft. Taxes kill jobs. Taxes rob middle class people of the ability to save enough money to invest in stocks and start a business.

    Taxes kill economic freedom.

    I wish “Hmmmm” good luck in his crumbling high tax progressive state. You’ll need luck. Lots of it.

    Best,
    Wayne

  3. Hmmm ...

    #3. Arizona

    Vacancy Rate: 17.3% (5th Worst)
    2010 Foreclosures: 5.73% (2nd Worst)
    Decrease in Building Permits 2006-2010: -81.36% (4th Worst)

    Arizona is among a handful of states most deeply wounded by the real estate collapse. Some 5.73% of properties in the state have been foreclosed upon, the second highest rate in the country, and 17.3% of homes are vacant, the fifth greatest rate in the country. Also, Mesa, Phoenix and Tucson, the state’s three largest cities, are all among the top five American cities with the greatest percentage of price reductions for homes in 2010, along with Minneapolis and Baltimore. As of December 2010, these cities had 43%, 42% and 38% of their listings with price reductions, respectively.

  4. Hmmm ...

    #8. Florida

    Vacancy Rate: 21.03% (2nd Worst)
    2010 Foreclosures: 5.51% (3rd Worst)
    Decrease in Building Permits 2006-2010: -81.37% (3rd Worst)

    Unemployment in Florida is 12%, the fourth worst in the country. Approximately 1.1 million residents are out of work. Statistics show that 21.03% of the state’s housing units are vacant. Furthermore, 5.51% of homes have been foreclosed upon. Florida was among five states that had the largest real estate booms from 2000 to 2006. Residential prices in some waterfront areas like Miami and Palm Beach rose by much more than double during that period. New home and condominium construction soared. Many of those residences have never been occupied and are still part of the inventory of homes for sale.

  5. Darryl W. Perry

    I doubt the person posting the comment a “wayne root” was the REAL W.A.R. Wayne Allyn Root. For one: the REAL W.A.R. would be sure to capitalize his name & two: W.A.R. supports marijuana tax, so I don’t think he would say “Taxes = theft” when he advocates such theft in certain situations.

  6. Hmmm ...

    @6

    “wayne root // Jan 20, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    I guess “Hmmmm” just doesn’t get it. Another fossil supporting dinosaur policies. If you read my commentary it says VERY clearly (assuming you read) that Nevada has financial problems too. Yet we are GAINING population while the high tax states lose it. We aren’t just gaining…we are #1. I realize progressives can’t take facts but…here it is. NY, California, NJ, Connecticut, Illinois are in economic crisis…and everyone who owns a biusiness is moving away as fast as they can.

    [On the other hand, no-tax states] …like Nevada, Florida, Texas and several others are in financial crisis…yet still growing. Get the difference “Mr. Hmmmm?” …”

  7. paulie Post author

    I doubt the person posting the comment a “wayne root” was the REAL W.A.R. Wayne Allyn Root

    All the comments from that IP have been posted under the name Wayne Root (there have not been many). The IP is in Henderson, NV, where Wayne lives. The email address, which appears in the admin panel but not on the public IPR page, is Wayne’s actual email address. I have no reason to believe it is anyone other than Wayne.

    For one: the REAL W.A.R. would be sure to capitalize his name

    He was probably in a hurry and it is faster to type without capitalizing. He’s a busy guy. I wouldn’t read too much into that.

    W.A.R. supports marijuana tax, so I don’t think he would say “Taxes = theft” when he advocates such theft in certain situations.

    I also support marijuana taxes, but only as an incremental step away from prohibition. Ultimately, I would prefer to see an end to both prohibition and to coercive taxation.

  8. Brian

    I expect more informed and higher caliber rhetoric from 3rd parties than I do from the two corporate parties. Everything Root writes does a disservice not only to the LP cause but also to the alternative party cause everywhere. This man is a straight douche that writes as though he is gunning for a spot on the Fox News line up. My message to Root is to grow up and take some classes in website design (your website looks like it just arrived from 1997).

  9. Eric Sundwall

    Good for Wayne if he’s actually engaging his critics on IPR. I tend to skip the PR theatrics and quickly browse the battle between usual the detractors and supporters, knowing that the IPR entry might be it’s only ‘real’ placement.

    As a small business owner in NY and one who knows many others, I disagree that we’re all fleeing for the commanding heights of the gambling province of Nevada. While the gov’t provides many barriers between success, the solid businesses to tend to grow and prosper even in bad times. It’s not all about Wall St. in NY. Upstate has a diverse cross section of business not on the usual radar. If you never travel north of Westchester, that might be hard to discern.

    Here’s the problem with the new Papa Cuomo that will emerge. Shelly Silver and the Assembly will halt cuts and produce another insanely long time passed without a budget. Right now school districts are the primary sufferer in this regard. They face harsh cuts or substantial tax increases. Odds are the deal makers are secretly holding out for another miracle economic bubble brought to you by the Fed.

    While it may do no good as Libertarians to engage politically in the I told you so game, clearly in terms of third parties, the Greens have an advantage with their new clout. Media tends to identify with the Hawkins narrative about the stock transfer tax etc.

    In six months, Cuomo’s on the ropes in the polls and the legislature isn’t budging. Basically kids start walking to school and business continues as usual. Folks still need their home heating oil, tractors and fast food. NY survives, it just doesn’t thrive until the new bubble goes into effect. Invariably it bursts and the hand wringing starts again.

    Us hicks just hunker in, hunt and chop some more wood. Not very worldly by down town standards, just the sad reality.

  10. Tax & Spending on the Military

    “How can anyone demand bigger government armed forces and weapons systems, more state security services, higher militaryspending, and higher taxes to pay for our “war on terror” in the middle of a financial Armageddon?”

    If only Root had said that, it’d read so much more libertarian.

    Wouldn’t please the Big Government Fox News/Tea Party crowd, though.

  11. Darryl W. Perry

    Paulie “I also support marijuana taxes, but only as an incremental step away from prohibition. Ultimately, I would prefer to see an end to both prohibition and to coercive taxation.”

    That’s where you and W.A.R. differ on the issue, he has never said that such a tax should be an “incremental step away from prohibition.”

    PS
    I don’t have to type my name every time I post, my info is saved in the fields by FireFox!

  12. wolfefan

    I agree that it is good for Mr. Root to engage with his critics – Bravo! I hope he can do so without insulting them and calling them names as he does in this post. I know that he’s been called lots of names by lots of people, but folks who choose to put themselves out there have to be ready for that without responding in kind. (Not to mention that whole “turn the other cheek” and “love your enemies” thing that we Christians seek to live up to…)

  13. paulie Post author

    That’s where you and W.A.R. differ on the issue, he has never said that such a tax should be an “incremental step away from prohibition.”

    Maybe he doesn’t think that talking about something that appears to be so far off is a good idea, especially if it scares off people who are open to considering incremental steps at best.

    I don’t have to type my name every time I post, my info is saved in the fields by FireFox!

    You comment here much more frequently than he does. It also depends on your browser settings.

  14. pete healey

    Tax & Spending on the Military made a point which I would second. If libertarians, or anyone, leave out the trillions spent on “we had to rule the world” money and only mention the “wasteful government spending” of the domestic sort, that’s leaving out an awful lot.
    And let me see, what else do Florida, Texas, and Nevada have in common besides low taxes? Hmm, could it be weather? Yes, they don’t have the weather New York and several other “high tax” states have, and when that simple fact gets left out, that’s leaving out an awful lot.
    And as best as I can recall, it wasn’t the majority of people in New York or in other “high tax” rust-belt states that gutted the American manufacturing economy. It was, yes you guessed it, America’s business leaders. I’ll recite how my several brothers and sisters and I have been sent packing from our hometown of Beacon in upstate New York because of that simple fact more than any other. But I’ll do it in another post.

  15. Robert Milnes

    Either this is really Root commenting or it is not. If so, good. Finally. I look forward to debating him here.
    Ruwart really made a big mistake letting this fool get the 2008 vp nomination by withdrawing.
    Or it isn’t Root. In which case somebody should inform him.
    Wayne, did you steal-I mean borrow- the word fossil from me? In describing counterrevolutionaries like you & Ron Paul?
    Speaking of stealing. I heard Gravel might run for President again. Did someone tell him he could be President if he steals my Strategy?
    Debate me here, Wayne. I challenge you.

  16. R. Lee Wrights

    Re: #17 Mr. Milnes wrongly assumes:

    “Ruwart really made a big mistake letting this fool get the 2008 vp nomination by withdrawing.”

    Dr. Ruwart never withdrew from the VP nomination. She, in fact, was never part of that race at all. She ran for President not Vice President.

  17. Robert Milnes

    @ 18, how is it people assume I know nothing or am a newbie or whatevetr?
    Of course Mary was a presidential nomination candidate. So was Root. Yet Root wound upwith the vp nomination.
    How did that happen?
    I say Mary must have withdrawn from any consideration for the vp nomination. To be vp to Barr wouldn’t be pure I guess. Yet it left it to Root who mentions it at every opportunity & thereby clubs the radicals with that fait accompli fact. She should have realized that.
    She surely was advised by the same losers who advised her against joining me.

  18. Robert Milnes

    Semantics. If it is hers for the taking & she says no, thank you. I am a moron loser, then she has withdrawn.
    Any other smart asses want to argue with me? Next?
    Paulie?

  19. Thomas L. Knapp

    RM @ 24:

    “If it is hers for the taking & she says no, thank you. I am a moron loser, then she has withdrawn.”

    That’s a big “if.”

    Dr. Ruwart was never a candidate for the Libertarian Party’s 2008 vice-presidential nomination.

    Since she never entered that race, she never withdrew from it.

    Those are the facts. They’ll remain the facts, your fantasy to the contrary notwithstanding, whether you like it or not

  20. Robert Milnes

    That is not the point, though, is it Tom?
    We all know if Ruwart entered her name into the vp nomination, it was hers.
    She could have & should have. She didn’t so Root got it & now it is on HIS resume not hers.
    Kubby is no match for Root, thank God. I’d rather have a clear & present counterrevolutionary than a lame bungler like “Throw em the keys” Kubby.

  21. Thomas L. Knapp

    RM @ 29:

    “That is not the point, though, is it Tom?”

    Yes, actually it is.

    “We all know if Ruwart entered her name into the vp nomination, it was hers.”

    You got a mouse in your pocket or something? “We all” know no such thing.

    “She could have”

    She could have done any number of things.

    “& should have.”

    That’s a matter of opinion, and in that particular kind of matter of opinion only one opinion — hers — counts.

    Wait … I take that back. There were others who’d have had standing to influence her on the subject, as follows:

    Dr. Ruwart made it very clear going into the presidential nomination contest that she was running for president and had no intention of running for vice president. Therefore,

    1) None of her supporters who wanted her to run for vice president had any standing to prevail upon her to do so — they had supported her knowing she had said she would not.

    2) Any of her supporters who didn’t want her to run for vice president certainly did have standing to prevail upon her not to do so, because she was pledged to them not to.

    I don’t know whether or not she at any time entertained the possibility of breaking her word. From my perspective, it didn’t seem like it. She was asked three times by someone from the Kubby camp (twice me, once Kubby himself with me present) if she would reconsider, and three times her “no” was immediate and unqualified.

  22. JT

    Milnes: “She surely was advised by the same losers who advised her against joining me.”

    Haha! You think joining you on your independent/fusion/fantasy/whatever ticket was ever an option to be advised against?

    Never leave IPR, Milnes. You’re too entertaining.

  23. Pizda Tebe

    Wait…are you people talking about PLAS again? Isn’t that supposed to be on a separate thread??

  24. paulie Post author

    And let me see, what else do Florida, Texas, and Nevada have in common besides low taxes? Hmm, could it be weather? Yes, they don’t have the weather New York and several other “high tax” states have, and when that simple fact gets left out, that’s leaving out an awful lot.

    By that logic, many more people would be clamoring to move to South Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America from Europe, the US and Canada, rather than the other way around.

    And while Florida, Texas, and Nevada undoubtably have what most people consider better weather than states like New York in the winter, in the summer it is exactly the other way around. Being outdoors during the day in summertime in Vegas, Houston, or Miami is right up there with being outdoors on a winter night in Buffalo or Rochester on the fun meter.

    And as best as I can recall, it wasn’t the majority of people in New York or in other “high tax” rust-belt states that gutted the American manufacturing economy. It was, yes you guessed it, America’s business leaders.

    Please explain.

    I’ll recite how my several brothers and sisters and I have been sent packing from our hometown of Beacon in upstate New York because of that simple fact more than any other. But I’ll do it in another post.

    Why not this one?

  25. paulie Post author

    Hmmm @ 1, 3 and 4:

    What do you think explains the statistics you cite? Any differences in state laws or policies, or some other factors?

  26. Thomas L. Knapp

    RM@33,

    You write:

    “She had political power and squandered it.”

    Quite the contrary, but that requires a little elaboration.

    In your imagination, she had enormous political power — the power to change the outcome of a US presidential election — and squandered it.

    In reality, she had considerable political power in the context of the LP, but exceedingly little in the context of second fiddle of a US presidential campaign (actually less than second fiddle — in the Barr campaign, probably at least fourth or fifth, possibly lower).

    Her opinion seems to have been that investing that power internally in the LP made more sense than investing it in a vice-presidential campaign — or, to be more precise, since the latter is at least partially an instance of the former, internally in ways other than as the party’s vice-presidential candidate.

    Whether or not her opinion was/is correct is an interesting question, but “no, because she might have become vice-president of the United States” is not one of the plausible answers to that question. No plausible 2008 presidential/vice-presidential ticket had a chance in hell of winning that election.

  27. Censorus Imperius

    I think the IPR policy needs to be clarified. Is it only discussions involving the acronym PLAS that should be relegated to the PLAS thread, or all discussions of the Milnes PLAS idea, regardless of what terms are used to describe it?

  28. Pizda Tebe

    “What do you think explains the statistics you cite? Any differences in state laws or policies, or some other factors?”

    I can’t think of any state policies that would explain this, is there something I’m missing?

  29. longtime reader x-time alias

    We have Mary Ruwart to blame for W.A.R. Barr tried to cut a VP deal with her first, but she refused; driving Barr over to Root. Remember that every time you bitch about Root, his power in the LP is entirely a result of Ruwart’s selfish act.

    Of secondary blame of course, are the LP delegate lemmings who were too weak to vote for a Barr/Kubby ticket.

  30. Hmmm ...

    @37&40 re: 1,3 & 4:

    I posted those stats to shed a little light on Mr. Root’s article. Wayne should have done a bit more research before writing. Nevada is not doing well and not likely to recover quickly. He then posted 3 more of his unresearched examples and 2 of the 3 are also likely to remain mired in recession longer than the national average.

    There are likley a myriad of factors in every state’s current financial woes. Mr. Root is correct that high taxes and overregulation harm the economy in every state, and some are worse than others. But there’s much more involved and his article in this instance was poorly researched, too simplistic and does not reflect well on the positive message he had intended to send to promote reduced government and growth oriented policies.

    The 8 worst performing states in the stats covered seem to fall into two camps: One group which includes Michigan, the worst of all, seem to have fallen even more with the burst of the recent Federal Reserve bubble. They were already in long term decline due to a variety of factors – many of which are related to bad government.

    The other group, which includes Wayne’s favorites in 1, 3 & 4, may have been sabotaged by their own rapid growth and the good policies he supports. That is, rapid growth lead to euphoria and a desire for even more growth and profits. The Federal Reserve bubble fed these states the additional funds their rapid growth demanded. As the bubble expanded, the typical Austrian malinvestment cycle was even more extreme in these states. This means that the resulting crash was worse and the road to recovery could be longer.

    In terms of the economy, the LP needs to focus on:
    1) Repealing all taxes on income and property, and
    2) Abolishing the Federal Reserve and putting the dollar on a gold standard
    3) Substituting a single tax – a national sales tax of some kind – for all other taxes, capped at 10% constitutionally and shared by all levels of government
    4) A constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget by all levels of government
    5) A constitutional amendment prohibiting further government borrowing by all levels of government (yes including local school districts etc.)

    This package of goals would move us in an “edgy” principled direction without being too extreme.

  31. paulie Post author

    That makes sense as to causes.

    As for solutions, I fully agree with getting rid of the federal reserve from your #2. I would prefer a free market in money to a gold standard, but I think a free market in money is likely to lead to a de facto gold standard, and that a government gold standard is better than a government fiat standard.

    It seems to me that 4-5 would involve too much federal interference in local affairs, although I like the spirit of it. As for a national sales tax, I’m strongly against it.

    For one thing, it is far easier to pass a new tax than to get rid of an old one, much less keep it from coming back on top of the new tax you created. While your intent may be to substitute one tax for another, the practical result is far more likely that you will end up with both.

    For another, if businesses have to calculate taxes and individuals don’t, that is a disincentive for entrepreneurship – which is the last thing we need. And, if merchants start posting prices with the tax included, it can fool average people into thinking that they are not paying federal taxes – that is, that they are getting something for nothing. Currently, state sales tax are usually not included in the listed price of items, but gasoline taxes are. It is difficult to predict which model merchants will follow with a national sales tax.

    Finally, the sales tax will certainly lead to tax evasion at the retail level, and that in turn will lead to government tracking of all purchases. To the extent that barter, internet sales, and other methods can be used to avoid or evade this new sales tax, it will also create a convenient excuse to expand government surveillance of citizens.

    One “solution” government may turn to stop sales tax evasion may be converting to a government “credit card”/REAL ID or microchip serving the same function, getting rid of paper money and coins and running all money through a centrally tracked database controlled by the government.

    Since you said “some kind of national sales tax” rather than the “fair tax,” I’m leaving out criticisms more specific to that proposal.

  32. Hmmm ...

    @43 I actually agree with your observations about the dangers of a national sales tax of any kind, and I would not support the Fair Tax as it does not reduce government.

    However, the personal horrors of taxes on income and property that crush individuals’ lives, the massive economic distortions and dislocations, even greater damage to the spirit of entrepreneurship and also negative growth consequences leads me to conclude that we should make the move toward a single tax system with only a consumption tax – a national sales tax – as I said, of some kind.

    By eliminating taxes on income and property, which includes all returns on investments, we should see a great expansion in investment.

    We must be sure to pass a constitutional amendment that repeals the income tax and prohibits all other taxes when adopting such a single tax so that it remains a single tax.

    Such a tax system would actually make life much easier for businesses as the income tax and other taxes are much more complex and make business decision making extremely difficult requiring high paid experts and attention to tax laws instead of economic factors.

    Since every major business already has a sales tax department as part of its overall tax department as part of its accounting department, eliminating income and property taxes will only make things easier. It should free up thousands of talented individuals to work in other areas. It should greatly expand business investment.

  33. Hmmm ...

    more @43 as to 4 & 5 in 42:

    I do not see these as Federal interference in local affairs, and I am not a great supporter of State’s rights or local government either.

    We need to constrain government at all levels to protect individual rights and to contol, limit and in some cases, abolish government power. 4&5 do not increase Federal power, they eliminate government power at all levels.

  34. pete healey

    Paulie, thanks for the chance to comment again, though it does get complicated to follow a thread here sometimes.
    The weather difference matters most in our internal county movements, right? It’s easier to travel and work inside a country without a passport or customs office, etc., and my family’s experience bears that out.
    National Biscuit had a carton plant in Beacon, and another in Illinois. New, more automated machines made it possible to have only one factory to make all the boxes for Nabisco products and Illinois won out. Not taxes, just automation.
    Major textile factories operated in Beacon until they moved either to the American South or the Dominican Republic, among other low-wage countries. They didn’t modernize their buildings, so instead of building new ones here they built new ones where there was no winter, and no union. And no environmental regulations (I used to know what color they were dyeing the cloth when I walked home from school every day and saw the color of the creek over which we strolled on the bridge).
    Pete Seeger lives in Beacon and I’ve long since made people gasp and even yell at me when I’ve claimed that Pete didn’t clean up the river, modern sewage treatment plants and the abandonment of manufacturing did.
    It just wasn’t profitable enough for American business leaders to modernize and conform to environmental rules and regs, and pay decent wages. They could avoid two out of three by moving away, and they did.
    IBM is another case in point. They didn’t layoff 20,000 workers here in the Hudson River Valley of New York because of high taxes. IBM missed the PC revolution. Business leadership failed in that instance.
    None of these situations, and there are more, resulted from the “heavy tax burden” on American companies in New York. They were decisions made strictly on profit-loss considerations, and in IBM’s case, while they could have laid off fewer over a longer period of time, that was a case of the failure of business leadership and foresight.

  35. Michael Cavlan RN

    Dear God.

    If I was a Libertarian I would be deeply embarrassed by W.A.R.

    Wayne Allan Root makes commentary that are Glen Beckian in their delusional, feverish, divorced from reality basis.

    Comments like Barack Obama is surrounded by a “Socialist Cabal.”

    Obama is surrounded by corporatists. People of the calibre of Timmy Geitner. People with very direct connections to Goldmann Sachs.

    People with ties to Goldmann Sachs are not noted for their “socialist” sensibilities. People like George Soros are not filled with Socialist revolution. Well except in the delusional, addled brains of Mr Root and Glen Beck. Ironic that both appear on Fox News.

    George Soros and Goldmann Sachs have made a boatload of money from the foreclosure crisis. From the misfortunes of poor folks. Not a very socialists endeavor is it?

    Of course George Soros has lots of money. To fund politics. So does Robert Murdock, Dick Army and the Koch Brothers.

    In a classic example of divide and conquer.

    Mr Root also makes the case that Ireland and others face a deep economic crisis. He says that it is based on the force of Trade Unions and a society that has all those “bennies” being given away to unworthies.

    Again, that is only in the addled, delusional minds of Mr Root.

    I lived in Ireland for 15 years. I still have family there. So I have a rather deeper and more immediate contact to what is really going on there than Mr Root. Good old WAR.

    The crisis in Ireland was caused by…….

    BANKERS, DEVELOPERS and other wealthy folks having very direct ties to those in government. In the Fiannna Fail, Fine Gael and Lobor Parties.

    They pushed to help fuel the economy and real estate bubbles in Ireland.

    Which mirrors pretty damned close what is happening in the United States.

    Ireland does not practice quantitative easing. Unlike the US government.

    So when the bubble pops here, it will hit much harder.

    Maybe then Wayne Allen Root will awaken from his Glen Beckish fevered, divorced from reality, delusional thought process.

    I doubt it though.

    Because then Fox News would not have him on the air. Someone has to lead the divide and conquer strategy that the corporate elite have working “both” sides of the one money party system with two corporate wings.

    Consider this a very direct challenge to Wayne Allan Root.

  36. paulie Post author

    The weather difference matters most in our internal county movements, right? It’s easier to travel and work inside a country without a passport or customs office, etc., and my family’s experience bears that out.

    I think that if weather was the determining factor why people tend to move to certain areas more than to others, it would still hold true across international lines. The numbers may not be as high due to the factors you cite, but why wouldn’t the trend lines be the same?

    National Biscuit had a carton plant in Beacon, and another in Illinois. New, more automated machines made it possible to have only one factory to make all the boxes for Nabisco products and Illinois won out. Not taxes, just automation.

    Automation is taking place all over the country and all over the world. Anecdotal evidence aside, is it happening more rapidly in some places than others? If so, does that have something to do with government policies?

    Major textile factories operated in Beacon until they moved either to the American South or the Dominican Republic, among other low-wage countries. They didn’t modernize their buildings, so instead of building new ones here they built new ones where there was no winter, and no union. And no environmental regulations (I used to know what color they were dyeing the cloth when I walked home from school every day and saw the color of the creek over which we strolled on the bridge).

    That would seem to support Root’s thesis, not argue against it. They are moving to places with less unionization and less regulation. No?

  37. paulie Post author

    I do not see these as Federal interference in local affairs, and I am not a great supporter of State’s rights or local government either.

    We need to constrain government at all levels to protect individual rights and to contol, limit and in some cases, abolish government power. 4&5 do not increase Federal power, they eliminate government power at all levels.

    So, would you support a balanced budget addition to the UN charter, enforced by UN taxes, UN troops and international courts?

  38. paulie Post author

    Since every major business already has a sales tax department as part of its overall tax department as part of its accounting department, eliminating income and property taxes will only make things easier.

    Yes…for major businesses.

    But for the employee contemplating the move to start their own business, it would make things harder.

    Right now, he/she has to pay income tax regardless of whether he/she stays employed with someone else or starts a new business.

    With a sales tax, there would be no paperwork to fill out if the choice is to remain an employee of someone else’s company, but there would be paperwork to fill out if a person goes into business for him or herself.

    Thus, that would seem to add another massive level of leverage to big businesses against small businesses, especially would-be small businesses that may or may not ever exist as a result.

  39. Hmmm ...

    @50 Sales tax paperwork is easy as pie. No one would have trouble with this. The rates and computations are straight forward – 10 minutes per month.

    Income taxes are so convoluted that any honest tax lawyer will admit that he or she does not actually know the tax laws. You carry around a code book, read the latest interpretations, look for the secret private rulings that actually apply to everyone but are not published and have to be inferred from other information (most remain secret). There are thousands of loopholes in the tax code that were not put there by design but through the clash of complex terms. They are discovered through hundreds of manhours of research or serendipity. Likewise, there are hidden tax landmines that can bring massive increases and penalties. The IRS has been audited repeatedly based on tax advice given out and found to get the answer wrong more than half the time.

    US Federal income tax laws are the number one reason that I would not attempt to start a business in the US today.

    Income taxes require you to record and document every penny you take in and spend, not only for your business, but in your personal life or face much higher tax levels. When you have a business, you have to keep it and your personal life separate and document everything. You have to spend time every day tracking every expense. You need to look for every possible angle on every decision from the tax perspective.

    I’ve been a paid accountant and tax preparer and these laws are stifling. The only way I would start a business in the US today would be if we had a single consumption tax system.

    If we made the change to a single consumption tax system, the would-be businessperson would have no personal nor business income taxes. They would face only a sales tax, collected as a flat percentage on all sales just like every competitor. Simple and easy. No deterrance. Further, saving and investing prior to start up would be all done tax free. Everyone would be living inside the ultimate tax shelter (unless they choose to consume) with all earnings and all returns on investments – interest, dividends or capital gains – all tax free.

    No more need for the complexity of any of the thousands of things that make most Americans give up in advance of starting any small business. Accountants, lawyers and lawmakers would lose business under a single consumption tax system but everyone would gain from the elimination of layers of complexity.

  40. Hmmm ...

    @49 The UN example is a non-sequitur.

    The UN is not a government for Americans. It cannot make such rules. If you asked the question: “Would you accept the UN as an additional layer of government over the US? The answer would be NO. If you asked: “Would you accept the UN as an additional layer of government over the US based on the promise of being able to enact certain reforms, the answer would be NO.

    But, in the US today, we are all already under three layers of government: Federal, State and local. We are not discussing adding any layers.

    My proposal would eliminate government power to do things that harm individuals. This eliminates power at all levels of government. I would also support a constitutional amendment that prohibited the death penalty by all levels of government. We already have the government. It is already too big and powerful. Using the Constitution and other tools already in place to limit the power of the government itself at any and all levels has no downside.

  41. Thomas L. Knapp

    “Accountants, lawyers and lawmakers would lose business under a single consumption tax system but everyone would gain from the elimination of layers of complexity.”

    Actually there’s one other significant/distinct group that would lose rather than gain, or at least come out of it in mixed-bag fashion: Those who resist or evade income taxes.

  42. pete healey

    @paulie, there are lots of considerations that make internal country movement much less complicated than international movement, so I don’t think they’re directly comparable.
    Automation, and the consequent productivity increases involved, have left this country two choices- we can agree that there’s less work for everybody to do and divide the work, and income more equally, or we can become a nation of armed security guards. We’re mostly becoming the latter(and that function has crossed the border with the aid of the US government!).
    Wayne Root’s thesis gives primacy to the government’s tax and spend strategies. Mine gives primacy to the self-interested decisions of American business leadership. For my money, governments are only doing their best to clean up the mess left when business leaders do their thing. I think that Mr. Root and I have a different set of understandings.

  43. paulie Post author

    Sales tax paperwork is easy as pie. No one would have trouble with this. The rates and computations are straight forward – 10 minutes per month.

    Income taxes are so convoluted that any honest tax lawyer will admit that he or she does not actually know the tax laws.

    As far as I know, there is nothing inherent in income taxes that makes them so complicated. Presuming that the regime’s response to sales tax evasion will include moving away from paper money and coins towards either a kind of biometric, database-linked REAL ID/government credit card or a microchip serving the same function, the database can then be manipulated with all kinds of complicated tax exemption formulae.

    Granted, your formulation of the plan is a simple 10% tax, but you have to realize that once you push for ideas in the public square, you don’t own them. The LP’s influence is tiny, even if we grow a great deal, and we are in no position to dictate terms. Someone else can take your sales tax idea and pass a mutant version of it. The only part of our message that would even vaguely translate is support for sales taxes; you can’t expect the final version to be exactly what you propose.

    Income taxes require you to record and document every penny you take in and spend, not only for your business, but in your personal life or face much higher tax levels.

    Whereas, with sales taxes, most likely the government will oblige you by keeping track of every penny you spend in any aspect of your life regardless of whether you own a business or not, what you spend it on, tied in with your medical history, reading and watching habits, criminal history, educational permanent record, etc and so forth. This database will be available for every cop on the beat, prospective employer, civil magistrate, motor vehicles bureaucrat, and so on. It might be available commercially as well. Should you be suspected of anything, your ability to buy and sell anything may be limited or suspended. Cameras, microphones, undercover agents and informants everywhere might help the government ferret out “economic crimes” (sales tax evasion, including through barter and other means). It’s also possible that your all-encompassing database linked government credit card/REAL ID can be read remotely through RFID technology.

    Granted, states with sales taxes don’t do this at present, but A) federal sales tax levels are likely to be much higher, and the higher the tax level the higher the incentives for tax evasion and B) federal resources are vastly greater than state resources, and it is the federal government that issues money.

    I’ve been a paid accountant and tax preparer and these laws are stifling. The only way I would start a business in the US today would be if we had a single consumption tax system.

    I understand why you would want the tax system to be simple, but you haven’t made a case, as far as I can see, why it should be a consumption tax. Simplicity/complication is not a necessary element of either consumption or income taxes. Either can be made simple or complicated.

  44. paulie Post author

    The UN example is a non-sequitur.

    The UN is not a government for Americans. It cannot make such rules.

    That is incorrect. The US is part of the UN by treaty, and treaties are US law according to the constitution.

    It’s true that the level of interference from international government in most people’s affairs is minimal at present – it doesn’t levy taxes directly, and the vast majority of government bureaucracy that people have to deal with is national or sub-national in scope – but then again, the same was true of the federal government throughout the early days of US history.

    If you asked the question: “Would you accept the UN as an additional layer of government over the US? The answer would be NO. If you asked: “Would you accept the UN as an additional layer of government over the US based on the promise of being able to enact certain reforms, the answer would be NO.

    But, in the US today, we are all already under three layers of government: Federal, State and local. We are not discussing adding any layers.

    Like it or not (and I don’t), international government is another level of government we live under. The question is not how many layers there are, but how government powers are divided between them. That is, whether they should be concentrated more at the higher levels or at the lower levels.

    If the federal government can be a bulwark against local tyranny, it logically follows that international government can be a bulwark against national tyranny. But the question is, is empowering higher levels of government further worth the price?

    After all, if you pass an amendment saying deficit spending is not allowed, higher levels of government may require local governments to levy higher taxes.

    We already have the government. It is already too big and powerful.

    So, our task might reasonably be to devolve as much power as possible to the local levels, where it is more accountable to the people it represents and where we can more easily vote with our feet, rather than concentrating power further at the federal level and perhaps above.

  45. paulie Post author

    Before we focus on what type of tax maybe we should focus on what we want the government to do. Just a suggestion.

    My answer would be as little as possible. Even if I am wrong on some issues with that, there is not – nor will there be any time soon – a shortage of Democrats, Republicans and others pushing to maintain and expand every conceivable and as yet inconceivable part and aspect of government.

    Our role in the political ecosystem should be to always push for as little government as we can get on every issue. There’s no point in adding our tiny influence to all the existing influences in favor of authorizing, keeping and growing any government program that exists or gets proposed.

  46. Michael H. Wilson

    paulie @ 60 writes; “My answer would be as little as possible.”

    I could not agree more.

    I look at the time spent pushing the flat tax and have to ask what if that same time had been out into an effort to bring the troops home? Where would that issue be on the public agenda?

  47. paulie Post author

    Actually there’s one other significant/distinct group that would lose rather than gain, or at least come out of it in mixed-bag fashion: Those who resist or evade income taxes.

    How would it be a mixed bag? Clearly we would lose big.

  48. paulie Post author

    There are lots of considerations that make internal country movement much less complicated than international movement, so I don’t think they’re directly comparable.

    Granted. But, why would it reverse overall trend lines?

    Automation, and the consequent productivity increases involved, have left this country two choices- we can agree that there’s less work for everybody to do and divide the work, and income more equally, or we can become a nation of armed security guards.

    I don’t know how you come to that conclusion.

    Automation does not mean less work to do. It means the type of work that exists – service, creative, marketing, design innovation, scientific, etc – is different in proportion to the population than what exists when we need humans to do work that can be done by machines.

    Similarly, using animals to do tasks that once had to be done by humans did not mean that there was less work to go around. Neither did the automation of household tasks that once had to be done by hand – washing clothes, sweeping floors and so forth. Farming machinery long ago replaced the majority of the population’s employment in farm labor (at least in some countries), and manufacturing machines have for many decades – even centuries – been replacing manual labor.

    Yet, the economy keeps coming up with things for most people to do which are of some economic value to other people.

    And why armed security guards….where does that come in?

  49. Hmmm ...

    @57 Historical fact obviates your hypothetical fears.

    Sales taxes are levied upon businesses not individuals. They are fairly simple.

    Income taxes are levied upon everyone (even though some are not net payers) and are complex beyond the possibility of comprehension by any single human being. It takes a full time librarian to compile and file the daily and weekly tax updates for anyone contemplating having an up-to-date tax law library.

    Sales taxes cause the least economic damage and distortion.

    Sales taxes will eliminate tax filings for all individuals. This will increase individual liberty and reduce violence in America. It will allow individuals to plan their futures and avoid many of the financial pitfalls that lead to bankruptcy, murder, murder/suicide, political violence …

    Individuals who wish to live tax free will be able to do so. They will be able to own land and pay no tax. Work and pay no tax. Invest and pay no tax. Save and pay no tax. Most will chose to buy products, but they have the choice not to and to live off their land and self production. It will give everyone a better shot at the life they desire. The most ardent tax resisters will be able to live tax free, without coercion, without violence, without the big sensational government raids and military style resistance.

    It is silly to argue that the government will use the sales tax to track individuals. They already use the income tax to track individuals in every possible way and all the future technology that you fear they will use, they will have to use to enforce the income tax. But, for a sales tax, they only have to track businesses, and as long as we include limits on the tax rates, keep the rates flat and uniform, and include value added type adjustments to prevent distortions, there will be little incentive for tax fraud among any but the smallest vendors.

    Moreover, in terms of national psychology, it is much easier to start over, clean, with a new system than to fix the existing one.

    Now, I understand that libertarians being individualistic to a fault we will never agree on anything, but at some point we must come together and work on a program that represents doable change that is within the realm of reason, attractive to a large enough segment of the population to actually pass and will move us in a major leap into a much more libertarian society, even if it’s not a libertarian utopia. In fact, the public will appreciate that we’ve had to compromise too. That we only got half of what we wanted. That will help us win. Then, the next time out, we can jump half of the remaining distance in another compromise.

    If you hold out for perfection you will get nothing.

    This means the you, and others like you, will have to swallow hard, realize that you yourself are preventing the change that you seek. Libertarians have to stop being nitpickers and see the big picture. This is what makes Don Wills wrong for leaving the LP, Roots detractors wrong for attacking Root, The Boston Tea Party wrong for not rejoining and working to build a winning LP, many of IPR’s constant debaters wrong for wasting time forever picking over and parsing the most minuscule, irrelevant topics of submicroscopic trivia from far away worlds of fantasy.

    And finally, while it is true that, over time, politicians will attempt to expand the tax and increase the rates (which is why I call for a Constitutional cap) and they will try to skew the system to exempt their supporters and shift taxes to their political enemies and the politically weak, again, they will do these things again and again over time throughout the future in unwritten history to come, just as they have done throughout history already written no matter what the system is. That is the nature of politics.

    The price of Liberty will forever be eternal vigilance. Libertarians in the future will have to guard any repaired system, and to fight and start over again and again when that system is corrupted by the fascist-s0cialists in their era.

    We have to fix our system with changes that can be made today.

    We have to be bold enough to promote serious changes and reasonable enough to not promote impossible anarchistic dreams.

    We have to look at the big picture and work to change a small number of large institutionally injurious systems, as I have outlined, and ignore the rest till the major battles have been won.

    We have to have the courage to make our case and install these new systems and work to prevent the dangerous possibilities that you fear, and not let those fears cower us into inaction.

    We have to work together to promote these bold changes fearlessly, as a unified movement for radical but reasonable change that can be made today.

  50. Gains

    Maybe the PLAS thread would be a better place to post this, but I cant find it anymore. Root’s not so coalition minded article casts most progressive incorrectly. Though the analysis of the success of their tactics toward their goals is a fair match in my opinion.

    The concept of a liberal-libertarian alliance is gaining momentum in the marketplace of political thought. I am seeing more stories like this:

    http://www.willwilkinson.net/flybottle/2011/01/20/liberaltarianism-lives/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+willwilkinson%2FVeUZ+%28The+Fly+Bottle%29

    The author contends that liberals have internalized a lot of libertarian concepts. But that there are divides. Reading his article, I understand his list of perceived divisive points but I disagree in practice. My experience with Progressives, indicates a more comprehensive internalization of libertarian thought on issues.

    I saw this video about a month ago:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHKsvOxIfTI

    I was struck by something the speaker said. He talked about “principled liberals”, and as I projected his points onto my understandings, I found that he had a point that resonated. Most of the self-proclaimed progressives I have met, have based their social activism on ideological goals that are not based on coercion. They simply do not see government force as coercion or make excuses for it.

    It feels to me like the bulk of progressives have as their primary motivating goal, a utopia that would look much like a libertarian utopia. To them government is a tool, not the result. Their marriage to government is not based on a desire for government but rather for them it is a manifestation of their allocation of trust.

    Many progressives that I talk to do not argue that government can manage better than a market, but that they are afraid of a market without supervision. Much in the same way that wishy washy conservatives are afraid of drug addicts as they defend the drug war despite the huge overreach of federal power.

    Historically progressives were very big on what many of them sneer at now: corporatism. Once upon a time they joined the socialists in search of a better society through better management, but over the last several generations, they have seen mega-corporations become the greatest abusers of the less fortunate, and they are realizing that it was government power that facilitated that evil. It seems to me that their faith in government run social safety nets is fading.

    The strings that keep many progressives allied with the socialists seem to be weak on the street. As the coalition handlers try to reshape messages to keep them together, the arguments seem to have become less attractive to progressives and there is an opportunity for libertarians to begin to pick up left leaning recruits as they have done well picking up disenfranchised Republicans.

    For instance the differences stated in the above linked article seem to me to be easily dismissed by a both principled libertarians and principled progressives:

    “The exchange between me and Matt Steinglass at Democracy in America over whether Obamacare incorporates Hayekian insights is an excellent example of they way libertarians and liberals continue to fail to connect. And most liberals remain pretty hostile to these common libertarian ideas:

    * Democracy sucks.”

    Libertarians to not claim that Democracy sucks at all. Libertarians believe that Democracy is the vehicle for the will of a community to voice itself, and that consensus is the only just way to practice governance. The only caveat is that democracy should not be used as an excuse for trampling on others rights… Progressives also do not want people’s rights to be trampled.

    ” * Unions hurt more than they help.”

    Also not a libertarian viewpoint. The concept of people being able to voluntarily and freely associate even to bargain as a group is very libertarian. You will hear libertarians complain about the influence of unions, but the complaints are all centered around aspects of collective bargaining that are NOT a natural part of collective bargaining. What libertarians dislike about unions is that hey are formed in the same fashion as corporations with special government privilege. Privilege that has turned many unions into machines that no longer serve the collection of skilled workers they should be representing. They contend that many unions have been corrupted into quasi-government institutions of repression and force.

    ” * Campaign spending is political speech.”

    This is a status quo argument that progressives have degraded in their culture to meaningless motto. This is one of the now paper arguments commonly used only to differentiate the false dichotomy of an American “left” and “right”. Campaign spending reform by both sides of the status quo bears no difference and progressives on the street know it. This argument tends to be liberals towing the party line onl;y and if the party line loses value, then this argument becomes non-existent for progressives.

    ” * Economic inequality does not undermine democracy or democracy’s role in establishing and protecting equal liberty.”

    Libertarians KNOW that economic inequality undermines democracy. Just in the same way that unlimited power in government corrupts democracy. It is only when government is not allowed to contribute to creating inequality, that democracy will be safe. In the mean time to call fascism democracy is an insult to fair and just governance.

    ” * Economic rights are as important as political and civil rights, and should be just as vigilantly protected, even if that leads to huge inequalities, which do not, by the way, threaten democracy or the value of political and civil rights.”

    Economic rights DO NOT threaten democracy nor do they threaten political and civil rights. They are the same, and the socialists are the only ones that think otherwise. Progressives’ goals for society are not based on hating economic rights, they just don’t trust them. Again, this aspect of their historic tactical and strategic position that shapes their how their distrust manifests has more to do with their alliance to socialists than their social goals.

    ” * Taxation is coercive but imprisoning the guy who nicked your lawn gnome isn’t.”

    Absolutely untrue, Libertarians view a sneak thief as a criminal just as much as they to a strong armed mugger.

    Nearly every one of the differences that are listed in this article do not illustrate a gap between progressives and libertarians in social goals. If you ask me, they illustrate far better where the fallacious logic that binds socialists and progressives together is deteriorating.

  51. paulie Post author

    Maybe the PLAS thread would be a better place to post this, but I cant find it anymore.

    You can find it pretty easily by using the search box, but the PLAS thread is not designed to exclude the discussion of liberal-libertarian alliances from other threads.

    It is designed specifically for the discussion of Robert Milnes’ PLAS plan, whereby he believes that by combining a male progressive presidential candidate such as himself with a female libertarian VP candidate, and by having Greens and Libertarians run one candidate in each district and endorsing each other, they can actually elect a President of the US and a Congress with a plurality of Greens/Progressives and Libertarians.

    Because of the frequency with which discussion of that particular plan was interfering with other discussions, IPR editors decided to give it its own dedicated discussion area so that it could be discussed freely without impinging on other conversations.

    The subject of left-libertarian alliances in general is a much broader subject that can safely be discussed freely anywhere on IPR where it may be pertinent to the discussion.

  52. paulie Post author

    Wikinson:

    common libertarian ideas:

    Democracy sucks.

    As compared to what would be the question.

    Unions hurt more than they help.

    Unions in general, or as they presently exist in the United States under a heavy regulatory system?

    Campaign spending is political speech.

    This would be mostly irrelevant in a libertarian world, since political office would not come with the kind of power that would cause any rational people to spend a lot of money pursuing it. And that’s in a moderate libertarian world where political office still exists at all.

    Economic inequality does not undermine democracy or democracy’s role in establishing and protecting equal liberty.

    IMO severe economic inequality actually does undermine protecting equal liberty (I realize most libertarians disagree). However, I think big government overall serves to increase, not decrease, economic inequality.

    Economic rights are as important as political and civil rights, and should be just as vigilantly protected, even if that leads to huge inequalities, which do not, by the way, threaten democracy or the value of political and civil rights.

    As previously mentioned, I don’t think protecting economic rights leads to huge inequalities. If anything, quite the opposite.

    Taxation is coercive but imprisoning the guy who nicked your lawn gnome isn’t.

    I think most libertarians would agree that punishment for rights violations should be proportional to the crime. Imprisoning someone who nicked a lawn gnome sounds grossly excessive.

  53. Thomas L. Knapp

    Paulie @ 62,

    You write:

    “How would it be a mixed bag? Clearly we would lose big.”

    That assumes several things:

    1) That sales taxes are unavoidable, or at least less avoidable than income taxes; and

    2) That there won’t be any counterweights, e.g. the Fair Tax “prebate,” which is a monthly welfare check not conditioned upon any payment of the tax itself; and

    3) That adoption of a national sales tax either would not pre-sage an amnesty for former income tax resisters, or that that amnesty would not be of considerable value (e.g. they didn’t expect to get punished even without it, or expected the punishment to be milder than the cost of paying a sales tax).

    I don’t think any of those assumptions are overly viable.

    A move to government finance entirely through sales tax would create HUGE profit opportunities for traders willing to assume the risk of avoiding the tax, assuming that the costs of avoiding it could be kept down. Anyone willing to do a little looking around could probably buy anything and everything they wanted on the gray market.

    If the tax includes some absurd measure like the “prebate,” those non-taxpayers would REALLY make out. Not only would they not pay the tax, they’d COLLECT on it.

    And I rather expect that if the income tax was eliminated, there would either be a formal or constructive (“we’re not going to fund the IRS’s income tax enforcement division any more”) amnesty, wiping the slate clean for those who had avoided the income tax.

    So, it could end up actually being a net positive for many income tax evaders/resisters, and I suspect it would at least be a mixed bag in that respect. The ones who would get only a negative impact would be those who had found ways to hide from the income tax, but couldn’t find ways to hide from the sales tax.

  54. paulie Post author

    A move to government finance entirely through sales tax would create HUGE profit opportunities for traders willing to assume the risk of avoiding the tax, assuming that the costs of avoiding it could be kept down. Anyone willing to do a little looking around could probably buy anything and everything they wanted on the gray market.

    Hence my remarks above about likely countermeasures the regime would take to cut off an explosion of gray market economic activity at the pass.

    If the tax includes some absurd measure like the “prebate,” those non-taxpayers would REALLY make out. Not only would they not pay the tax, they’d COLLECT on it.

    You have to have and use an SSN to collect a prebate.

    Not that a prebate is a good thing – it gets the majority of the population thinking that not only are they not paying for their government “services,” but they are getting “free” money from the government to boot – but I did not include it in my criticism of the sales tax idea since that is not part of Hmmm’s proposed plan.

    And I rather expect that if the income tax was eliminated, there would either be a formal or constructive (“we’re not going to fund the IRS’s income tax enforcement division any more”) amnesty, wiping the slate clean for those who had avoided the income tax.

    Quite possibly. Which just brings me back to the countermeasures the government is likely to use to make sure that people are complying with the sales tax and not finding ways around it.

  55. paulie Post author

    Sales taxes are levied upon businesses not individuals. They are fairly simple.

    Income taxes are levied upon everyone (even though some are not net payers) and are complex beyond the possibility of comprehension by any single human being. It takes a full time librarian to compile and file the daily and weekly tax updates for anyone contemplating having an up-to-date tax law library.

    There is nothing inherently simple or complex about either type of tax. An income tax can be very simple, as a percentage of income with no deductions. A sales tax can likewise accrue various exemptions, “prebates,” etc.

  56. paulie Post author

    Individuals who wish to live tax free will be able to do so. They will be able to own land and pay no tax. Work and pay no tax. Invest and pay no tax. Save and pay no tax. Most will chose to buy products, but they have the choice not to and to live off their land and self production.

    Expect an “alternative minimum tax” for such persons. After all, the regime korts have ruled that a person growing crops on their own land for their own use is engaging in interstate commerce because they are impacting the price of other goods used in interstate commerce.

  57. paulie Post author

    It is silly to argue that the government will use the sales tax to track individuals. They already use the income tax to track individuals in every possible way and all the future technology that you fear they will use, they will have to use to enforce the income tax. But, for a sales tax, they only have to track businesses, and as long as we include limits on the tax rates, keep the rates flat and uniform, and include value added type adjustments to prevent distortions, there will be little incentive for tax fraud among any but the smallest vendors.

    It is not necessary to track all purchases to collect an income tax. The regime only has to track how much people make, not what they spend it on. The higher the tax rate (and remember, I don’t believe we can cap a sales tax that actually passes and eliminates other taxes at 10%), the higher the incentives to evade taxes. And to effectively prevent sales tax evasion, the regime would have to track purchases.

  58. paulie Post author

    Now, I understand that libertarians being individualistic to a fault we will never agree on anything, but at some point we must come together and work on a program that represents doable change that is within the realm of reason, attractive to a large enough segment of the population to actually pass and will move us in a major leap into a much more libertarian society, even if it’s not a libertarian utopia. In fact, the public will appreciate that we’ve had to compromise too. That we only got half of what we wanted. That will help us win. Then, the next time out, we can jump half of the remaining distance in another compromise.

    Of course we will have to compromise. There are plenty of other people out there pushing to increase each and every aspect of government. So if and when we get any part of what we want, it’s a compromise at best.

    Am I willing to join in a compromise that involves actually agitating for a new or expanded tax or government program? No. The only cases I would so would it be, e.g., as a substitute for prohibition.

    If you hold out for perfection you will get nothing.

    I am not holding out for perfection. I have already given examples of the types of transition plans that I support.

  59. paulie Post author

    This means the you, and others like you, will have to swallow hard, realize that you yourself are preventing the change that you seek.

    I disagree with that assessment.

    We have to have the courage to make our case and install these new systems and work to prevent the dangerous possibilities that you fear, and not let those fears cower us into inaction.

    Nothing is cowering me into inaction. Disagreeing with you about sales taxes being better than income taxes does not amount to inaction.

  60. Jill Pyeatt

    The tax-and-spend model, to me, represents more of a liberal viewpoint and, of course, the Republican party under Dubya’s reign. I tend to think of progressives as people tending toward the left, who are able to “think out of the box”. That being said, I agree with several people on this thread that progressives and Libertarians have enough issues in common that they could make a good alliance. Mr. Root says he wants a big tent, and I agree. Our big tent should include anyone who shares Libertarian values, regardless of what they call themselves.

  61. Michael H. Wilson

    There are a number of alternatives to taxing people directly. VAT and resource taxes are the two most often mentioned.

    The politicians could do away with both the income tax and the personal sales tax thus taking the pressure off the people, but we’d still have a huge government.

  62. Hmmm ...

    “It is not necessary to track all purchases to collect an income tax. The regime only has to track how much people make, not what they spend it on. The higher the tax rate (and remember, I don’t believe we can cap a sales tax that actually passes and eliminates other taxes at 10%), the higher the incentives to evade taxes. And to effectively prevent sales tax evasion, the regime would have to track purchases.” Paulie

    *

    This does indeed show that you are being silly, but it also shows self delusion and fear.

    Since you do not pay some of all of your income taxes as required, you feel that you would lose by making this change. Although it is the best change for the people, it is not the best since you feel you have a safe way of escaping taxes due.

    As you wrote @62:

    paulie // Jan 22, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Actually there’s one other significant/distinct group that would lose rather than gain, or at least come out of it in mixed-bag fashion: Those who resist or evade income taxes.

    “How would it be a mixed bag? Clearly we would lose big.”

    *

    You, Paulie, are acting as a special interest group here. You think you would pay more in a world where everyone legally has what you are doing illegally, that is, not paying income taxes.

    You do not want others to be free of the income tax because you might pay more of some other tax in a new legal world.

    You are like the drug dealer who wants drugs to remain illegal because, if they are legal, his business would end.

    And the truth is, it is now, under the income tax system that the government is more likely to track your purchases. That is why the government has eliminated the high denominations of US currency. We used to have $500, $1000 and even $10,000 bills in circulation. Accounting for inflation we would have to have a $1,000,000 bill in circulation today. We do not because the government wants to track your spending for income tax purposes.

    Eventually, the government will catch most current tax evaders based on their expenditures and lifestyles. The IRS uses this system today and has for decades back to the early days of the income tax. Thousands have been caught. For you it is a matter of time – not if but when. With computers they will eventually track what you spend and look at what you own and if you didn’t report enough income to pay for those expenditures and personal assets, you will go to jail.

    And it is because of tax evaders who hide their incomes that the government has been and will continue even greater intrusions into our lives. Such tracking is more necessary to enforce an income tax than for ANY other type of tax.

    Your selfish self-interest not only hurts us all, it is actually not to your own benefit. You are deluded into making bad choices based on your personal fears.

    For a national sales tax, VAT or some other consumption tax it is NOT necessary to track consumers or monitor their individual purchases. This is because they do not pay any of the tax directly. They are not liable for the tax. They cannot be forced to pay any uncollected tax.

    It is the seller who must pay tax. And under a VAT consumption tax system, resales and flea markets of previously purchased and preowned goods are not taxable. These items have already been consumed. This has the added very substantial environmental benefit of encouraging repair and reuse of valuable resources.

    It is new products and services that will be taxed and big producers will provide nearly all of the revenues. These big businesses and corporations will be monitored and tracked and they will be unable to evade the taxes. Even moving production offshore will not help them. US. This will have the valuable benefit of no longer encouraging offshore transfer and hiding of income and profits, nor the offshore transfer of production for tax purposes – a major factor in economic decisionmaking today with massive negative consequences for the US.

  63. Hmmm ...

    More major benefits of going to consumption taxes alone and ending the income tax:

    1) The primary reason for the growth of mega corporations is the income tax.

    Since income taxes are not levied on capital gains until those gains are realized and since earnings taxed once to the corporation are not taxed again unless paid out in dividends, it is far better for shareholders for a corporation to keep as much as possible in retained earnings.

    This means that even if the corporation is well past its economic size based on the factors of production, the tax effect will cause a massive shift in the efficient size of the firm.

    The income tax is nearly 100% responsible for the creation of the oversized modern corporation.

  64. Hmmm ...

    More major benefits of going to consumption taxes alone and ending the income tax:

    2) Health insurance.

    The major problems with health insurance in the US today are a direct result of the income tax:

    With health insurance a deductible expense for businesses and a tax-free benefit to the individual, health insurance became tied to the workplace.

    The result is that today’s policies are not portable, they tend to be cancellable or term policies, and individuals are not really insured until they become adult workers and are at risk from denial due to pre-existing conditions.

    In an income-tax-free world, the purchase of health insurance would be made by individuals as life insurance is today. Responsible parents would insure their children from birth or even during gestation. Insurance companies would be eager to sign up new life-long insureds ASAP. Parents would seek out “whole-life” type health insurance similar to “whole life” life insurance today. It would be non-cancellable and portable. It would continue during periods of unemployment and through retirement.

    Our health insurance “crisis” and the new national-socialistic health care policies are a result of the income tax.

  65. Hmmm ...

    More major benefits of going to consumption taxes alone and ending the income tax:

    3) Controlling government size and spending.

    We need to control the size and spending of government at all levels. It needs to be reduced. This will never come by focusing on spending alone because the incentive to spend is not bound by any constitutional limitations.

    Balanced budget amendments and elimination of borrowing capacity require and entire sytemic overhaul in order to pass. Just like spending limits, such changes will not pass on a stand-alone basis.

    So, we need big changes. We need to scrap the income tax, property tax and all other taxes and replace them with a single consumption tax. We need to cap the new tax, constitutionally, at 10% to be shared by all levels of government. We need to prohibit deficits and new borrowing by government at all levels.

    Only by capping revenues and eliminating borrowing can we truly constrain the government. Even a balanced budget requirement cannot hold without these limitations.

    Once these limitations are in place, the size of government will have to shrink to stay within the limits thus imposed.

    This program for change would constitute a very bold, huge jump toward a libertarian world. It is one that can be accomplished in today’s economic environment and will benefit everyone (except a few special interests who live off the government or get their power from government). We should not waste our time nitpicking or living in fear of such change. We must work together and go forward boldly and promote a reasonable program that will improve the economy by encouraging investment, savings and growth and stop encouraging wasteful overconsumption and borrowing, improve the lives and liberties of all Americans, and allow Libertarians to take the lead in the public debate.

  66. Hmmm ...

    In terms of the economy, the LP needs to focus on:
    1) Repealing all taxes on income and property, at all levels of government
    2) Abolishing the Federal Reserve and putting the dollar on a gold standard
    3) Substituting a single tax – a national sales tax of some kind – for all other taxes, capped at 10% constitutionally and shared by all levels of government
    4) A constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget by all levels of government
    5) A constitutional amendment prohibiting further government borrowing by all levels of government (yes including local school districts etc.)

  67. Gains

    Has there ever been a case in US history where a new tax was proposed to replace and old tax… and the old tax never came back?

  68. Hmmm ...

    @83 Has there ever been a case in US history where some power was given to the Government in the Constitution and then taken away again in the Constitution through the amendment process?

  69. Hmmm ...

    @83 & 84

    Yes. Prohibition.

    Now we have the income tax. Made legal by the 16th amendment. We need to kill it through another Constitutional amendment.

    To make that amendment pass, we will need to substitute another method of taxation that is less harmful.

    A form of consumption tax on sales, paid by businesses only, capped at 10% for all levels of government – as the single tax allowed for government to raise revenues.

    We will have to prohibit deficits and further borrowing at the same time. We may have to address unfunded liabilities and off budget items to make it clear and solid. And we should make property taxes unconstitutional as well at all levels – taxing property is the worst form of taxation of all as it causes the greatest economic distortion and damage and injures the poorest and weakest more than any other form of taxation. And we must abolish the Fed and go on a 100% gold standard. (Sure private money is better, but remember, one giant step at a time.)

    This will force the government to cut spending, balance the budget and set individuals free from the worst forms of taxation.

    We will never be able to cut the size of government (that is, cut spending) without first cutting its sources of cash (taxation, borrowing, unfunded liabilities, inflation).

  70. pete healey

    paulie, I applaud your ability to conduct several different discussions at one and the same time, but I’m just not up to it. As much as I’d like to continue our discussion on this thread, it’s more complicated than I can handle at the moment.

  71. paulie Post author

    “It is not necessary to track all purchases to collect an income tax. The regime only has to track how much people make, not what they spend it on. The higher the tax rate (and remember, I don’t believe we can cap a sales tax that actually passes and eliminates other taxes at 10%), the higher the incentives to evade taxes. And to effectively prevent sales tax evasion, the regime would have to track purchases.” Paulie

    *

    This does indeed show that you are being silly, but it also shows self delusion and fear.

    Since you do not pay some of all of your income taxes as required, you feel that you would lose by making this change. Although it is the best change for the people, it is not the best since you feel you have a safe way of escaping taxes due.

    Nothing about my quoted statement has anything whatsoever to do with what I do or don’t do personally, or any taxes that you might wrongly assume that I owe. Nor have you even begun to demonstrate that my concerns in this matter are unwarranted in any way. The fact that you feel the need to resort to this ad hominem line of argument shows that you are not very confident in your beliefs, and are trying to convince yourself through repetition and excessively rancorous argument.

    Your pointless repetition of your previously refuted statements in #82 only reinforces this impression, and even further reduces your entire style of argument to bad farce. How can anyone take anything you say seriously after a trite tactic like that?

    Honestly, I couldn’t finish reading your rambling response after seeing its beginning and end, but those were more than enough to convince me that there is little chance that there is anything worth reading there.

    And as for your would-be authoritarian insistence that the LP “needs to” focus on your laundry list of proposals: thank God you are not the dictator of the LP, or anything else.

  72. paulie Post author

    paulie, I applaud your ability to conduct several different discussions at one and the same time, but I’m just not up to it. As much as I’d like to continue our discussion on this thread, it’s more complicated than I can handle at the moment.

    Fair enough.

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