Bend Over! The Government Wants to Say "Hello"
1) Increasingly, I hear the phrase"privatizing profits, socializing costs" (or losses) because, increasingly, the situation described is being imposed by politicians. The most notorious instance is the recent bail-out of the"Macs" -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- by which those quasi-private agencies are rewarded for almost criminal fiscal incompetence/irresponsibility by forcing taxpayers to absorb the cost. And, lest you believe the bailout is no more than some American taxpayers 'helping' some others who are Mac bond holders, heed these words from Freedom works, As politicians call for taxpayer bailouts and a government takeover of troubled mortgage lenders Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, FreedomWorks would like to point out that a bailout is a transfer of possibly hundreds of billions of U.S. tax dollars to sophisticated investors and governments overseas. The top five foreign holders of Freddie and Fannie long-term debt are China, Japan, the Cayman Islands, Luxembourg, and Belgium. Interestingly, on the same day the American taxpayer bailout of China was announced, another piece of news 'broke.' The Chinese government significantly reduced its subsidy of oil/gas...a subsidy that inflated gas prices and which the US government had exerted longstanding pressure to reduce.
2) A policy of zero tolerance has combined with the near-total monitoring of life by governments everywhere. Trivial behavior that either would not have been noticed before is now being scrutinized and punished....especially when such punishment is revenue enhancing. Consider two examples -- one British, one American.
This headline from the Daily Mail: Trader is fined £300 (approx. $600 US)by council for using black bin bags instead of grey. The article opens, Customers shopping for clothes at the Charli boutique watched in amazement when two uniformed men marched in and threatened staff with criminal prosecution. Their crime? Putting out rubbish in the wrong-coloured bin bags. Council officers announced that the shop in Muswell Hill, North London, would be fined £300 after using black bags because they had run out of the grey version issued by the local authority. The designer store had been waiting since July 1 for a delivery of new bags, but by the 17th staff decided they would have to put their rotting rubbish out in four standard black bags.
This headline from WorldNetDaily: Pet owners get 72 hours to clean their own yards. The article opens, Residents of one Denver suburb are being told by city officials they have only 72 hours to clean pet poop from their own yards or face fines of up to $999.
3) Whether McCain or Obama is elected, taxes will rise. I suspect they will go up more under Obama because (as far as can be gleaned from the vagueness of his campaign) he favors a drastic expansion of the federal government. Meanwhile, each day, the two men seem to move closer to holding the same position on the money pit of war in Iraq/Afghanistan.
4) More governments on all levels -- federal, state, city, etc. -- are likely to consider the same option being fielded by New York City. The New York Post reports, Warning of an approaching economic calamity, Gov. Paterson yesterday called an emergency session of the state Legislature - and raised the specter that New York may have to sell off roads, bridges and tunnels to close a massive budget deficit. In a rare televised address, the Democratic governor cited"private-public partnerships" involving the sale of state assets - widely condemned by critics as fiscal gimmickry - as one way to stem a tide of red ink brought on by the sagging economy and woes on Wall Street. In other words, taxpayers who paid for the infrastructure may have to pay private companies for the right to use them. At least, with the tolls etc. extorted by government, there was a patina of fairness in that the revenue allegedly went back into rebuilding infrastructure etc.
5) the phonebook length legislation (e.g. the 700-page Mac bailout) being passed contains measures that are massive both in number and in scope. Market Watch declares "Devil in the details: The hidden tax traps in the housing-rescue bill." For example, In a blow to eBay merchants and others accepting credit cards, debit cards, or third-party payments, your merchant bank will now be required to send a report to IRS and to you with your total annual gross payment card receipts. In other words, IRS will get your total merchant credit card gross receipts for the year.
6) the immediate goal of Bush, Bernanke, Paulson and Congress is to prop up the system for one more day...the long-run impact be damned. They are administering CPR on the corpse that is the economy and, then, yelling"stabilized!" when a heartbeat occasionally flutters. Their efforts will make an already deep recession plunge further toward depression.
7) over the last decades, politicians have become addicted to grand schemes, social programs WRIT LARGE, blank check promises. They are not likely to abandon this bad habit simply because tax revenues are falling. They will continue to crank out the money -- thus lowering the value of every dollar currently in your pocket -- while they also try to pick your wallet clean. Of course, the thieving in a noble cause (call it environmentalism, universal medical care...whatever) will be accompanied by laws that make it more difficult for you to make a living because the cost of doing business will be hiked even higher. For example, Justice Department officials are proposing new regulations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the 1990 law intended to prohibit discrimination on the basis of physical limitations. Among the new rules contained in a thousand-page Justice Department document are requirements that would affect most businesses, including miniature golf courses. The Associated Press reports that one proposal calls for miniature golf courses to make at least 50 percent of their holes accessible to people in wheelchairs. Disabled Americans indeed do need protection against discrimination. For example, public buildings such as courthouses should be accessible to them. But priorities need to be established, or the cost to the nation of complying with the ADA will become astronomical.
I could go on and on...But what's the point? Your taxes are going to go up, especially the"hidden" taxes that disguise themselves as fees or fines. Your hold on your own property is going to loosen. In some cases, there will be nothing you can do to preserve your wealth from the government thugs. In others, your greatest protection is privacy. For example, if you know that your trackable spending habits are going to be turned over to IRS. switch to cash only right now.
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Common Sense - 8/1/2008
Excellent. Rage on, Wendy!
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