Everything Inside The State
posted at 3:55 pm on June 30, 2009 by Doctor Zero
The Obama Administration has begun paving the way for the massive tax hikes that anyone capable of coherent thought knew were coming. A clumsy attempt by the White House spokesman to dodge the issue was met by laughter from the press corps, and outrage from anyone more interested in their own future than President Obama’s political success. Maybe we’re looking at this the wrong way. We’re angry that Obama is preparing to break his pledge not to raise taxes on anyone earning less than $250k per year. However, as revealed in a recent USA Today analysis, each American household now carries over $550k of the national debt. That means we’re all receiving over twice that $250k threshold in value from the government, so Obama can raise everyone’s taxes without breaking his promise. We’re all filthy rich, and we can even rely on the government to expertly balance the checkbook for us!
We’re not simply looking at an increase in income taxes under Obama. The cap-and-trade monstrosity passed by the House amounts to a titanic tax increase on both consumers and virtually every sector of the economy, since almost all economic activity consumes energy. (If you like the idea of $6 per gallon gasoline, you’ll love paying $7 per gallon for milk at your local grocery store.) A value-added tax is being considered, which would pour another layer of concrete on top of a nearly paralyzed retail sector, and likely put an end to the Internet shopping boom, at least for American companies. I doubt it would take long for the government to institute a surcharge in the VAT tax for Internet purchases, since they are currently escaping state taxes, and that’s not “fair.” Like all other tax increases, a Value Added Tax will produce less revenue than anticipated, because it will depress the very economic activity it was designed to feed from. New taxes always produce less revenue than the government predicts, spawning further tax increases to make up the difference.
The proposed health-care takeover can also be seen as a tax hike on the medical industry, to a rate of 100% if that industry is fully nationalized under a single-payer system. Every state takeover of an industry is a tax increase, because government revenue is infinitely flexible, with every dollar swept away by the massive federal bloodstream. Any profits earned by socialized medical providers will disappear into the bottomless maw of the ever-expanding super-state. The same thing will happen with General Motors, in the unlikely event it manages to turn a profit. Anyone familiar with state lotteries has seen them sold to the voters as a wonderful new source of funding for education, then watched greedy state governments pull regular funding away from education and spend it elsewhere.
In a way, the notion of “tax and spend” is becoming obsolete, because Obama’s plan is to complete the re-definition of the relationship between citizens and their State. Prior to the 20th century, the American government was run something like a business, gaining its income by selling land, and services such as protection from piracy, through taxation on trade. When the direct taxation of income was made legal through the Sixteenth Amendment, the idea was to treat government as a necessary expense, borne by the wealthiest caste of Americans, to ensure the welfare of the most desperately poor. As tax rates increased, more working people were added to the tax rolls, and ever-larger benefits were paid out by the government, the relationship between citizen and state changed from welfare to socialism – which begins when the people paying for the benefits no longer control them. The modern liberal’s belief that anyone who desires lower tax rates is guilty of “greed” is a deliberate expression of this altered relationship. The people paying taxes have no moral right, and increasingly no practical means, to determine how much money will be assessed or paid out. The only legitimate factor is how much money the government thinks it needs, and can get away with appropriating.
Under Obama, a final transformation is taking place: the government no longer sees itself as an expense borne by its citizens. Instead, the citizens are now seen as components of the State. If the State decides to follow the religion of global warming, the citizens will be made to pay tithe, no matter what their personal beliefs are. If the State thinks only its wise stewardship can “save” the financial industry, banks will be forced to accept government money and controls. If the State believes private health insurance is not inexpensive or comprehensive enough, it will create its own insurance program… and force everyone who does not participate to subsidize it. If the State decides an auto company must be kept in business, for the benefit of a union that has essentially become a component of the State, then all other Americans will be compelled to finance that auto company. People joke bitterly about being forced to buy cars from Government Motors someday, but the situation is far more outrageous: we all work for Government Motors already, through hundreds of dollars in subsidies extracted from our tax payments. Depending on how much you earn per hour, you’ve spent ten or twenty hours working for GM this year, and they’ll probably conscript you again before the year is through.
We are passing through the outer boundary of the era when your contributions to the government can be described as a mere “tax.” Taxes, mandates, and state-run industries all add up to one thing: control. Our destination that was made inevitable when the government was allowed to begin seizing portions of Americans’ income, instead of collecting fees for essential services it provides. It’s a course that was locked in when the recipients of welfare were allowed to retain the right to vote, creating the vicious cycle of an ever-expanding dependency class that accrues more political power as it demands more benefits. Now we’ve reached the point where simply paying “welfare,” as it has traditionally been understood, is a small fraction of bloated state and federal governments. The Obama government does not even pretend to limit itself to assisting the destitute with the bare necessities of survival. It believes it has the right, and responsibility, to provide prosperity… and to trade away however much of our prosperity it thinks is necessary, to achieve other ends.
Conservatives have often taunted liberals with the infamous slogan of Marxism: “From each according to his means, to each according to his needs.” The Obama concept of government is better understood through a different quote: “Everything inside the State, nothing outside the State.” The author was Benito Mussolini. He meant what he said. So did the people who voted for the cap-and-trade bill.