Sin Taxes & Not your father’s Cold War

youtube-Logo-4gc2reddit-logoOff the keyboard of Thomas Lewis

Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666
Friend us on Facebook

Published on The Daily Impact  March 1 & 3, 2017

Discuss these articles at the Kitchen Sink inside the Diner

In Praise of Sin Taxes

 

 

 

The world’s best example of the evils of unearned wealth argues against it. Of course, it should read “…discourage them from working and achieving…” but, hey, if he could speak the language he wouldn’t be who he is. Whom?

 

 

 

In the 1970s, Republicans discovered they could reliably win elections by pronouncing taxes to be anathema, which is to say, evil, irredeemable, on a par with the seven deadly sins. Henceforward, they declared, there would be no new taxes and no tax increases. Also henceforward, members of the other party  would be referred to exclusively as “tax-and-spend” Democrats.  It worked so well that now, Republicans are in control of everything.

But taxes, it turned out, were essential to the functioning of a free republic. Our nation’s roads, bridges, airports, trains, water pipes, sewer mains and power grid have rotted almost completely away for lack of maintenance, repair and replacement. Yet taxes remain anathema.  

When, from time to time, in the brief interludes between elections, the Untaxables had to come up with some money to keep a school open here and there or put a bridge back up (just enough to get the torches doused and the pitchforks put away), they found they could get away with imposing a tax — although it was a very great sin to do so — as long as they imposed the taxes on a sin. Cigarettes became a favorite, after Big Tobacco became too poor to own and operate legislatures like it used to, and today in West Virginia, for example,  there is a tax on each pack of cigarettes of about $25,000.

The thing about sin taxes is, they tend to be self-extinguishing: the rising cost of sinning reduces the number of people who can, or will, indulge. There are only about six people left who can afford to be smokers of commercial cigarettes in West Virginia, everybody else is smoking oak leaves. Now West Virginia at the moment — and I do mean this very moment — has a budget shortfall of half a billion dollars. The federal debt has reached $20 trillion, and in a couple of weeks the debt limit (the law Congress passed that says, “stop us before we borrow again”) is once again going to throw a monkey wrench into the government money-printing press.

Our legislators are laboring mightily to solve these problems by not raising taxes, even on sins. The West Virginia solons are urgently debating prohibiting bestiality and making the Bible the state book. I swear I am not making these things up. Go ahead, check the links, I’ll wait.

What we need here, obviously, is a new sin to tax. As it happens, I have a candidate. No sin has done more damage to the Republic, the world, or indeed to the souls of men, than unearned wealth.

Those who become wealthy through pure dumb luck — those who inherit fortunes, or marry them, or win the lottery or pick a stock — are a worse plague on the world than pollution. Insulated from the real world by their wealth, they never learn anything about how the world works. Nevertheless, surrounded by sycophants, they develop an overinflated opinion of themselves. Unable to actually use more than a small fraction of their money, they send the rest of it off, in the hands of hedge fund operators and personal wealth managers and other con men, in search of outrageous profits, thus inflating and exploding various financial bubbles around the world.

These periodic tsunamis of money that create and then pulverize vast fortunes in dot-coms, shale-oil, farmland, residential real estate, high tech, on and on, are the modern day equivalent of the periodic plagues of locusts described in the Bible. Whatever brief benefits there are, go to the already wealthy. When the bubbles collapse the pain is felt only by those already poor.

Solution: A confiscatory tax, 90 per cent would be about right, on all inherited and otherwise luck-induced wealth. Including lottery and casino winnings, such as stock trading profits. It would be a lot of money, that could fix a lot of highways and bridges, while preventing a great deal of destructive behavior around the world.   

And it’s not like it would be hurting anybody. Most of these people have no idea how much money they have or where it is. All they know is, they want more.

Let us go forth, and tax sinners. There simply is no down side.

 

This is Not Your Father’s Cold War

It all has such a familiar feel. Russia is once again our primary enemy in the world. Implacably, tyrannically, cunningly, it plots our downfall, engineers our destruction, and prepares for war without ceasing. It’s déjà vu all over again, we even catch ourselves referring to them as Soviets, and Godless Communists, which is silly, they are no more Communists than Trump is a Republican. But the thrill is the same as it used to be, the thrill of the monster under the bed, the nameless, faceless dread from which only Mom, or Saint Ronald of Reagan, or The Donald, can save us.

Nothing that feels so right and familiar has to make sense, and that must be a good thing, because none of this does. Start with the fact that the $600 billion elephant (that’s what America spends on “defense” every year) is pretending to be terrified of a $50 billion mouse. That’s right — The Donald’s proposed increase in military spending for the next budget equals the entire annual Russian defense budget.

The Russians have one — count it, one — aircraft carrier, so old and decrepit that when they “deployed”it to Syria last year they sent a tugboat along in case the carrier crapped out before it got home. We, on the other hand, have 19 carriers and just launched the world’s most expensive and most technologically advanced warship, the guided-missile destroyer USS Zumwalt. Which crapped out in the Panama Canal on its maiden voyage and had to be towed to a nearby naval base for extensive repairs.  Um, where were we? Oh, yeah.

Listen,  granted the Russians have a formidable air force, nuclear weapons, a ton of tanks, and about half the people under arms that we do. But that does not explain why the mouse is suddenly terrorizing the elephant. Most likely, something is going on in the elephant’s mind. So let’s review how we got here:

  • During the election campaign, The Donald expressed a mystifying and definitely non-Republican admiration for Vladimir Putin. But most of what Trump said was mystifying, and he never pretended to be a Republican.
  • In the final stretch of the campaign, some emails came to light that were somewhat embarrassing for the Clinton campaign, and some fake news stories were circulated that were even more so, and these were alleged to have come from Russian sources.
  • When, to everyone’s astonishment, Trump actually won the election, the only explanation that made sense to HIllary’s people was that the Russians did it. To say that Trump was smart enough to have done it, or that Hillary was dumb enough to have blown it, made no sense to them. So for them and their friends in and out of government, “the Russians hacked the election.”
  • Now, it is being revealed that the Trump Campaign had an amazing number of meetings, before and after the election, with Russian officials. The Trumpits are first denying, then failing to remeember, then reluctantly admitting to these contacts, which colors them all nefarious whether they were or not.

What does all this amount to? Probably much less than meets the eye, although it compares favorably with the new season of Homeland for entertainment and diversion (if not yet for firefights).

But one thing is sure — the Cold War is on again. The armed men and tanks that we shipped home from Europe after the fall of the Soviet Union are going back. The defense budget that withered after our detentes in Iraq and Afghanistan is headed back up. Pretty soon we’ll be having “duck-and-cover” civil defense exercises in elementary schools again.

Why? Forget Trump’s election. Whatever the Russians tried to do on his behalf had roughly the effect of trying to turn a hurricane with a snowplow. Forget Putin. He is, as Obama correctly labelled him, the leader of a regional power who loves to pretend the Soviet Union is back. It’s not. If we did with Russia what we finally learned to do with Sarah Palin, and just ignored it, we could soon forget it altogether.

The old Cold War was about empire, about world domination. The Soviets lost because they could not afford to continue, let alone win. Now we are intent on world domination, and we are going to lose this quest, regardless of what Russia does, for the same reason. We can’t afford it.

If you want to understand why we have gone so far back to the future, why our world is focussed once again on the Cold War, you must ask qui bono? Who benefits?

The arms dealers, the builders of aircraft carriers, warships, airplanes, tanks and guns, the makers of ammunition and caskets, the provisioners and suppliers of war and war preparations. They are having their way with us again, and we’re letting them do it.

And this time, in this Cold War, there is and will be no moral high ground. It will not be the side that invades sovereign countries, and executes regime change when it feels like it, and kills civilians and women and children, and ignores the rules of civilized warfare, torturing people and putting them in concentration camps and assassinating people who end up on its lists; while the other side preaches democracy and treats everyone well and strives for peace, good will on earth.

No, this is not your father’s Cold War.

New Cold War

 

 

 

 

2 Responses to Sin Taxes & Not your father’s Cold War

  • stonecutter says:

    "Our nation’s roads, bridges, airports, trains, water pipes, sewer mains and power grid have rotted almost completely away for lack of maintenance, repair and replacement". Yet my sin taxes, sales taxes, state and federal taxes are still sky high – what gives?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Knarf plays the Doomer Blues

https://image.freepik.com/free-icon/musical-notes-symbols_318-29778.jpg

Support the Diner
Search the Diner
Surveys & Podcasts

NEW SURVEY

Renewable Energy

VISIT AND FOLLOW US ON DINER SOUNDCLOUD

" As a daily reader of all of the doomsday blogs, e.g. the Diner, Nature Bats Last, Zerohedge, Scribbler, etc… I must say that I most look forward to your “off the microphone” rants. Your analysis, insights, and conclusions are always logical, well supported, and clearly articulated – a trifecta not frequently achieved."- Joe D
Archives
Global Diners

View Full Diner Stats

Global Population Stats

Enter a Country Name for full Population & Demographic Statistics

Lake Mead Watch

http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/NA-BX686_LakeMe_G_20130816175615.jpg

loading

Inside the Diner

Quote from: RE on Today at 03:53:25 AMHere's another cool "Cup" Breakfast, this time the cup is made from Hashbrowns 🥔 instead of the Ham 🐖.  Use a cupcake baking dish for this.  This time, the Ham 🐖 goes on the inside ...

Here's another cool "Cup" Breakfast, this time the cup is made from Hashbrowns 🥔 instead of the Ham 🐖.  Use a cupcake baking dish for this.  This time, the Ham 🐖 goes on the inside with the eggs 🥚, and cheese 🧀 too if you want to add it.  Another neat ...

http://themindunleashed.com/2018/02/la-has-criminalized-poverty-by-making-it-illegal-to-sleep-in-cars-and-rvs.html...

http://www.greanvillepost.com/2018/02/21/violence-revolution-and-structural-change-in-latin-america/Violence, Revolution, and...

New official thread for water privatization issues.REhttps://www.activistpost.com/2013/04/nestle-ceo-denies-that-water-is.htmlNestlé CEO Denies That Water is an Ess...

Recent Facebook Posts

LA Has Criminalized Poverty By Making It Illegal To Sleep In Cars and RVs

LA Has Criminalized Poverty By Making It Illegal To Sleep In Cars and RVs–

31 minutes ago

Retweeted Stonekettle (@Stonekettle): Republicans: Teachers are horrible. Socialists. Marxists. Libtards. Overpaid. Teachers Union ruining education!..

52 minutes ago

Our Moloch

One of the great articles about gun politics we’ve come across this week: “Our Moloch” by Garry Wills–

58 minutes ago

Beat the Right Wing Framing: How to Make the Case for a Better, Fairer Economy | naked capitalism

Never underestimate the power of framing an issue to influence outcomes. IMO, Yves has this issue correct. Especially the trope about people..

1 hour ago

Dinesh D’Souza apologizes for mocking Parkland shooting survivors after massive backlash

D’Souza getting the treatment he deserves. You scrape stuff like this off your shoe.

1 hour ago

Diner Twitter feed

Knarf’s Knewz

QuoteWhy delete movies?  Other Diners might find t [...]

Quote from: knarf on February 22, 2018, 11:08:28 P [...]

I want to let the readers on my newz channel know [...]

Quote from: Surly1 on February 22, 2018, 03:45:49 [...]

Knarf, where are you? You OK? [...]

Diner Newz Feeds
  • Surly
  • Agelbert
  • Knarf
  • Golden Oxen
  • Frostbite Falls

Trump Ditched the Script at CPAC. Here's What [...]

A nod to knarf... welcome back, if even for a minu [...]

Quote from: Golden Oxen on February 22, 2018, 03:3 [...]

Quote from: luciddreams on February 22, 2018, 02:5 [...]

Yeah, so, am I the only one that thinks there ain [...]

QuoteKarl Rove strategy #3: Accuse your opponent o [...]

Recent Windpower Articles֍ EU... [...]

Quote from: Golden Oxen on February 08, 2018, 12:3 [...]

I just call 'em like I see 'em. I never [...]

QuoteWhy delete movies?  Other Diners might find t [...]

Quote from: knarf on February 22, 2018, 11:08:28 P [...]

I want to let the readers on my newz channel know [...]

Quote from: Surly1 on February 22, 2018, 03:45:49 [...]

Knarf, where are you? You OK? [...]

I agree. Definitely a scapegoating thing. They wer [...]

Quote from: Palloy2 on February 22, 2018, 02:24:12 [...]

QuoteRickards: Just the existence of these geopoli [...]

Good Newz!  I should live to be 100!  REhttps://ww [...]

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-43124259KFC shuts [...]

We are getting another snowfall here today, looks [...]

The Alaska Soap Opera continues...REhttps://www.us [...]

It was a walk in, spirit change.8th inning relieve [...]

Alternate Perspectives
  • Two Ice Floes
  • Jumping Jack Flash
  • From Filmers to Farmers

The Pendulum - Part One Retreat to High Ground By High Desert     Missing in the mix of hundreds of [...]

The (Mind) Games People Play By Cognitive Dissonance     Fair warning! This is a long and dense read [...]

Wisdom, Experience and Just-In-Time Thinking By Cognitive Dissonance   I try to remind myself each g [...]

This and That Vol 4 Mid Winter Musings By Cognitive Dissonance     Probably the one topic Mrs. Cog a [...]

Taking a Pass on Gas – Wood Preferred - Part Three By High Desert Homesteading This is the final ins [...]

Event Update For 2018-02-21http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.html Th [...]

Event Update For 2018-02-20http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.html Th [...]

Event Update For 2018-02-19http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.html Th [...]

Event Update For 2018-02-18http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.html Th [...]

Event Update For 2018-02-17http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.html Th [...]

NYC plans to undertake the swindle of the civilisation by suing the companies that have enabled it t [...]

MbS, the personification of the age-old pre-revolutionary scenario in which an expiring regime attem [...]

You know things have taken a turn for the desperate when women have started to drive. Or rather, whe [...]

From Filmers to Farmers is re-launched on the astounding open source blogging platform Ghost! [...]

The blogging scene is admittedly atrocious. Is there really no option for a collapse blogger to turn [...]

Daily Doom Photo

man-watching-tv

Sustainability
  • Peak Surfer
  • SUN
  • Transition Voice

Breathing Highways and Sponge Cities"We could do worse than to go back to the way nature manages rainfall."During the 20th Cen [...]

Junk Food for Salmon"For the geoengineering set, all this news provides an opening for more advanced biotech . [...]

Follow the Money, Mr. Mueller"“Ivanka got her father to bomb Syria by adroitly pushing his buttons. ‘Ivanka had long ago fig [...]

Yarrow's Spiderweb"We are, like spiders, carbon creations that have learned to use carbon as tools. "At the [...]

A Hawaiian Missile Lullaby"Q: What should one do to prepare for an incoming ICBM just minutes away?A: Hug. Smile. Your sh [...]

The folks at Windward have been doing great work at living sustainably for many years now.  Part of [...]

 The Daily SUN☼ Building a Better Tomorrow by Sustaining Universal Needs April 3, 2017 Powering Down [...]

Off the keyboard of Bob Montgomery Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666 Friend us on Facebook Publishe [...]

Visit SUN on Facebook Here [...]

To fight climate change, you need to get the world off of fossil fuels. And to do that, you need to [...]

Americans are good on the "thoughts and prayers" thing. Also not so bad about digging in f [...]

In the echo-sphere of political punditry consensus forms rapidly, gels, and then, in short order…cal [...]

Discussions with figures from Noam Chomsky and Peter Senge to Thich Nhat Hanh and the Dalai Lama off [...]

Lefty Greenies have some laudable ideas. Why is it then that they don't bother to really build [...]

Top Commentariats
  • Our Finite World
  • Economic Undertow

Dr Creeping Collapse: prosperity in US 7% lower in 2030 than 2016, UK 10% lower. [...]

And of course it is about oil and natural gas: "The next major conflict in the world will take [...]

Maybe just build lots of nuclear-powered ships and sidestep the regulators. Can park them down the e [...]

It is a very very good feeling. You would like it. It´s called speedball and I took some of them in [...]

I wonder whether anyone is discussing the environmental consequences of our constant wars. I see the [...]

Hi Steve - FYI my browser tried to stop me from viewing comments by saying that your "certifica [...]

Central banks are system regulators. When they allow commercial bankers commit crimes they are compl [...]

In a way Steve, it seems that you are always arguing that the system is legit, even though many of u [...]

Coming at this from the perspective of a "woo", it's clear to me that a lot of negati [...]

RE Economics

Going Cashless

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Simplifying the Final Countdown

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Bond Market Collapse and the Banning of Cash

Off the microphone of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Do Central Bankers Recognize there is NO GROWTH?

Discuss this article @ the ECONOMICS TABLE inside the...

Singularity of the Dollar

Off the Keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Kurrency Kollapse: To Print or Not To Print?

Off the microphone of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

SWISSIE CAPITULATION!

Off the microphone of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Of Heat Sinks & Debt Sinks: A Thermodynamic View of Money

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Merry Doomy Christmas

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Peak Customers: The Final Liquidation Sale

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Collapse Fiction
Useful Links
Technical Journals

West Africa is a very vulnerable part of the world to the impacts of climate change due to a combina [...]

Green areas induce smaller increases in the air temperature than built-up areas. They can offer a so [...]

The study of frequency analysis is important to find the most suitable model that could anticipate e [...]

Follow on our http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/forum/