Tag Archives: taxes

Interesting perspective on our national debt

“How much gold,” the Political Calculations blog wonders, “would the U.S. Treasury have to pay out from the nation’s bullion depository at Fort Knox to fully pay off the national debt of $16.222 trillion (as of 1 November 2012)?”

For fun, let’s pretend that the U.S. does plan on paying back the national debt… and in gold.

Again, for fun.

How much would it take? As of Nov. 1, Political Calculations writes, it would take “a solid gold cube that is nearly 80 feet tall by 80 feet long by 80 feet wide. Transporting all that gold would require over 431 of those standard 20-foot-long shipping containers.”

There’s a problem: If you add up all gold plucked out of the Earth, it makes up a cube only 66.1 feet by 66.1 feet by 66.1 feet… and fills only 249 shipping containers.

And Obama’s contribution since taking office? $5.595 trillion, or a cube 55.7 feet by 55.7 feet by 55.7 feet, or 60% of the world’s recorded gold.

via Inquiries On Gold | 5 Min. Forecast.

Which means that without the Federal Reserve being able to print money out of thin air, it would be physically impossible to spend as much money as our government has if we were still on the gold standard.

Which also means our current financial course is pretty darn unsustainable:

The 2012 Federal budget—a word I use very advisedly, since there wasn’t an actual, you know, budget—as enacted, spent a total of $3.59 trillion. Of that amount, total mandatory spending was $2.252 trillion. Discretionary spending, i.e., those things in the federal budget that can be arbitrarily changed without changing federal law, was $1.338 trillion. So, 63% of expenditures is mandatory spending which can’t be touched without changing Federal law.

On the revenue side, when you tote up all the taxes, excises, fees, etc., the Federal government collected $2.469 trillion. So, in 2012, once mandatory entitlements were covered, there was a grand total of $217 billion to fund the entirety of the remaining Federal government. The result was a deficit of $1.1 trillion.

So, to boil it down to the simplest terms, our current revenue is just enough to cover our mandatory spending, and about 1/3 of the defense budget. Everything else is funded solely through deficit spending.

When the Bush-era tax rates are raised in January, we will finally stick it to those rich SOBs and get the money they owe us. That will provide a massive influx of tax revenue in the amount of…uh…$42 billion in 2013. By the Democrats’ estimate. Which means the deficit will be slashed from $1.1 trillion to $1.058 trillion.

via Simple Math | Questions and Observations.

Wherein I write a Letter to the Editor in response to a dumb Letter to the Editor with which I disagree

In response to this letter, I wrote:

Dean and LuAnn Quayle’s letter on the 11th was a marvel of self-justification.

In one paragraph they enthuse about how much money came in from RAPZ to pay for their favorite program, and then pretend that it was “free-to-the-public.” Who then paid for it?  Didn’t the public pay for it via the RAPZ tax?

If the programs are so great, why not be honest about funding them and either charge admission or ask for voluntary donations?  And if you know that insufficient numbers of people would support the program and that is why you are resorting to using the power of the state to force people to pay for it against their will, then stop pretending that it is free and admit that you are making Peter pay for Paul’s entertainment.

Which leads to my question: How many people does it take to turn “theft” into “taxation?” If Dean Quayle took his neighbor’s money to buy himself a concert ticket, that would be theft.  If Dean and his 15 closest friends took their neighbors’ money to pay for their opera tickets, it would still be theft, as plainly as when a gang of thugs steal from passers-by.

But apparently, if enough of the county votes to take money from everyone else, the taking magically transforms from “plunder” to “taxation to support the arts.”

The Cache County Council last month voted to change the re-authorization language to “Should Cache County renew and re-authorize the 1/10th of 1 percent ‘RAPZ’ tax which was first approved by the voters in 2002, to continue for the purpose of funding recreation, arts, parks and zoos in Cache County, Utah?”

They should have changed it to “Should the county continue to allow the majority to force everyone, even against the will of the minority, to pay for things they apparently otherwise wouldn’t pay for, because if they wanted it, we obviously wouldn’t have to force them to?”

Had it been the Sheriff of Nottingham collecting taxes from poor farmers to fund lavish entertainment for his friends, it would obviously be wrong.

But what if some of the citizens of Nottingham had decided to let the Sheriff collect those taxes because he used some of it to buy them a zoo or to put on an entertaining show?

It is still wrong. Vote “no” on renewing RAPZ.

I am absolutely certain that everyone who reads it will suddenly realize that taxation is theft by force and become libertarians and that the Quayles will throw themselves to the floor and wail in misery when they realize the errors of their ways.

NICE.

Cache County to change official RAPZ tax ballot language – The Herald Journal: Allaccess

From the local news:

The Cache County Council on Tuesday amended the official ballot language that will be used for the RAPZ tax measure this fall.

County voters will weigh in Nov. 6 on whether the RAPZ (Recreation, Arts, Parks and Zoos) tax should be extended for another 10 years, and the new language will tell them that the tax was initially backed by voters a decade ago.

The ballot will now read as follows: “Should Cache County renew and re-authorize the 1/10th of 1 percent ‘RAPZ’ tax which was first approved by the voters in 2002, to continue for the purpose of funding recreation, arts, parks and zoos in Cache County, Utah?”

They should have changed it to say: “Should Cache County continue to use its guns, badges, and violence to force everyone to pay an extra 1% on all restaurant meals sold in the county and use the money to subsidize lower ticket prices for those who patronize local arts, parks, and zoo facilities so that those facilities don’t have to charge market prices and so that their patrons don’t have to pay full price to attend such facilities and shows?”

If the local opera is so great and pulls so many patrons from around the western region, why can’t they make enough in ticket sales to support themselves?

via Cache County to change official RAPZ tax ballot language – The Herald Journal: Allaccess.

“Public funding” isn’t compassionate or free – it is compulsive and violent

Eric Peters writes most clearfully:

The speech Morpheus gave to Neo in the original Matrix was elegant – and eloquent. But we’re not in a movie – and most of us are not masters of verbal ju-jitsu any more than we are masters of actual ju-jitsu. So, how do we – we being those of us who believe in non-aggression, voluntarism and thus, human liberty – make our case to people who don’t think in such terms?

The other day I had a chat with a neighbor friend. He posed a rhetorical question, “You do believe some taxes are necessary, right?” Rather than debate the merits of this or that tax, this or that function funded by taxes – I merely replied that as a non-violent person I am opposed to the use of violence, for any reason except in self-defense. I therefore oppose, I told him, the violent taking of other people’s property for any purpose whatsoever. That while I might prefer this or that outcome, I would rather people dealt with one another on the basis of persuasion and mutual free consent – and not at gunpoint.

This approach usually at least results in a momentary pause. It may even get your opponent thinking.

Most people – including most of us – grew up with authoritarianism. It envelopes us, from womb to tomb. And so, we grow up accepting, implicitly, the moral schism that says violence is ok when it is done officially.

Or by a group, having so voted.

No. It goes much deeper than that. Because the violence is never – or rarely – spoken of openly. No politician running for office ever says, “I will threaten your neighbors with violence to provide money that I will use to provide schools for your children at their expense – and if they refuse, I’ll have them caged – even killed.”

When someone promises you something paid for from the public purse, they are promising to use violence to extract money by force from other people to pay for it.

Is this why the United States has such a “culture of violence” compared to other nations?

via Winning Arguments | Eric Peters Autos.