Posts Tagged ‘taxes

20
Mar
09

Beware the Rabid Bunny Government

Good advice is rare and precious.  I have received one such nugget that I truly strive to live by; it was given to me by my boss at my first job.  I was complaining about feeling backed into a corner by a situation and he responded swiftly, possibly before he even realized it, saying “then why’d you let them?  Why did you get yourself into a situation that put you into a corner?”

I am unsure that wiser words have EVER been said.  After chewing on it for a few days, my young self grabbed onto those words as a way of life.  What he said made me stop and look at my role in every situation and changed me in a profound way.  It is not difficult to live away from the corners, but it does take courage.  To stay out of the corners means always being up front and carefully considering the implications of decisions.  Most importantly, it means doing the right thing, regardless of where that may leave me.  In the end, I can live without excuses and without regrets.

So this is where we come to AIG and Congress.  Talk about being cornered.  For simplicity’s sake, we will look at this in the context of AIG.  Please do not mistake this simplicity for naivety.  The problem is much more far-reaching than this, I know.  BUT CAN YOU BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENED TODAY?????  The latest bill passed by the House is a perfect example of what happens when we put comfort above results.  It’s somewhat ironic that in looking out for one’s own interest, he turns over control of the situation.  The situation itself takes control and the results are unsavory.

It all started when the government got backed into a corner.  It reacted like an animal frightened for its life, looking for the easy way out.  I’m sure there was a collective sigh of relief when the imminent collapse of the financial industry was staved off by a mere $160 or $200 billion (whatEVER, who’s counting).    AIG took the money, ill-advised as it may have been.  But now that the panic has subsided, the cornered-bunny-government has had an opportunity to consider what it gave up – not just money, but trust, reputation, and most likely, employment.  Back to the corner.

This time the bunny has rabies.  It is mad and it is not afraid.  Another panic-stricken vote has been taken and the government is expecting to be freed again, but I don’t expect it will be so simple.  If this latest bill passes the House, which it certainly will, our rabid bunny-government is going to fully punish the working people for the misdeeds of their employers and the poor decisions made to “help” them. 

I do not relish paying $165 million in bonuses to the motley fools who ran a company into the ground, but there is a contract in place.  Right now, the rabid bunny-government should not be allowed to tax these employees at a rate of 90%.  Yes, if you have not seen the news, the tax rate in this bill is 90%.  The American taxpayers now own 80% of AIG.  We should be able to make a decision regarding these bonuses.  I don’t remember electing officials who intended to tax at a rate of 90%, who say “we’ll let the states and cities take care of the rest.” 

Of course we, the owners of AIG, have no opportunity to make any decisions because the bunny-government leapt into this AIG purchase with nothing but survival in mind.  Instead of reacting like rabid bunnies, our congress should have treated the stock purchase in AIG like that in any business.  Contracts should have been reviewed and negotiated.  That would have been the time to review such exorbitant compensation, not now that the deal has been made and hands have shaken.  It is quite unpalatable to see a government backtracking to save face and passing discretionary tax laws that are incredibly unfair.  I believe that the text of the bill specifies bonuses paid in 2009, but what if there is a loophole.  What if bonus pay becomes fair game at a 90% taxation rate? 

We citizens should be very concerned.  We should be working together to eradicate such behavior from our government.  Class warfare may be peaking right now as the upper class is blamed for all of society’s ills, but we cannot detest the rich at the cost of liberty.  That is simply too expensive.  The bitterness that pervades the American public is sure to be our undoing.  We should not stand idly by, thumbing our noses at the rich who are about to be undone.  If we do, next time it will be us in the corner.

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29
Aug
08

That which is Caesar’s

Barack Hussein Obama was surprisingly dull of speech tonight.  I anticipated a rhetorical treat of epic proportions, but here I sit unfulfilled.  It was standard fare for the acceptance speech – promise the world, pander to the masses.  And hey – he wants to fight injustice?  He should do something about the $80.00 charges for parking.  Yes, $80.00, Mr. Obama, let’s see you move your feet (as you say) and take care of that!

My actual concern is not the parking or those foolish enough to pay for it.  The unintended consequence of this speech is the argument made for the separation of church and state.  Any argument over supposed moral standards in government brings this to mind.  Our politicians will argue to the death, admonishing us for not caring about mothers separated from their children because of our immigration laws.  They will belittle us for sending our (volunteer) troops into battle to die.  They will belittle us for not sending our troops to the right battle.  They will question why not everyone deserves the same standard of living, why we aren’t better at sharing. 

This speaks to time-tested Biblical wisdom.  Matthew 22:21 says, “Give to Caesar that which is Caesar’s; give to God what is God’s.”  Of course, Christians use this passage to enourage each other to pay their taxes and to tithe without conflict.  The passage is about taxes.  But could we apply this beyond taxation?  When our candidates win elections by tugging at heartstrings, it indicates that our government is much bigger than it should be.  We have lost sight of our government’s role.  Our government was established to impartially protect us according to the letter of the law, to build roads that ensure interstate commerce and mobility, and to standardize currency.  If our government acted as just that, an impartial entity, enforcing our laws and encouraging interstate commerce, the rest of us would be free to care for those less fortunate in any way we see fit.  Frankly, I want the government to deport illegal immigrants.  They have broken a law set forth for the protection of our country.  However, on a personal level, if an immigrant comes to me hungry – legal or not – I want to offer help.  I want to offer compassion.  I do not want to be labeled.  I do not want to be concerned that my act of compassion will be misinterpreted for a disregard or worse, distaste, of the law.

A national argument over morality will never be won; it will, however, divide our great nation and weaken our people who face adversity.  I don’t want to engage in dialogue over who’s right on stem cell research.  Companies who can afford to do the research should do so.  I can make a choice when it comes to participating in that research and in the finished product.  In the meantime, I don’t want tax dollars funding something wrought from moral division. It forces a person into supporting that which he never would on his own.  That is not the role of government.  My ideals are between God and me.  It is counterproductive to use these ideals to garner votes.

The most clear cut issue here is that of gay marriage.  Should the government be involved in determining family values?  Could marriage be a sacred union performed in front of the Lord by a representative of the church while the government tends to the mess of who gets on whose health insurance and who’s visiting whom in the hospital?  It seems that if an issue is morally devisive, the government has no place in it.  Let God have marriage.  Let God’s people feed the starving.  Let God’s people act as a moral barometer.  Let the government protect us corporately as we act personally.




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