On Romney’s taxes, individual liberty, and the way forward: an off-the-cuff manifesto
Pursuant to Darleen’s earlier post: Romney’s income, most of it investment, is, as most people won’t be told, taxed twice. Add to that the 30% in charitable giving (about 30x the amount given by Biden, who charges Secret Service agents rent), and I expect Romney to make hay of this in the debates should Obama dare bring it up.
In fact, conservatives should be using the time now to explain why investment income — higher risk, higher reward — is taxed at a lower rate to begin with: it is designed, essentially, to incentivize people to take risks on start ups or other companies / ventures, which is the lifeblood of innovation and free market growth and vitality. Moreover, these are the tax laws as set up by the freaking Congress to promote investment and growth.
If Obama wishes to change that, let he and his party propose legislation and defend the reforms before the American people. As I counseled years back, the GOP, for its part, should ask Obama to sign on to a flat tax, which they should relabel as a “fair tax” — and in so doing defang Obama’s dual message of a “fair share” and “skin in the game.” Put up or shut up, Mr Class Warfare. Either you believe everybody should pay a fair share and have skin in the game, or you believe saying such is more important than actually making it happen, because by refusing to fix the problem, you can continue to rely on it as a disingenuous bit of class warfare propaganda for your perpetual campaign.
The bottom line is this: counting charitable giving, Romney paid something like 44% to Obama’s 30% (from 2000 through 2011, the Obama’s donated less than 7% of their income to charity; on average, Romney doubled charitable giving). In fact, throw in Biden’s 1% charitable giving, and it’s quite possible Romney paid as much or near as much as the President and VP combined — and Romney did so while pumping capital into companies to either help fund them or restructure them to make them viable in exchange for profit. Win win! Whereas Obama and Biden? They were deciding how much of your money belongs to them, and to whom they should give it once they’ve taken it from you. That was their contribution to the economy: coercion. And “charity” doled out by them though the money comes from you.
Overall, what the tax returns show is that Romney is a capitalist and a man who believes in Christian charity. He takes risks and those risks are reflected in the tax rates he pays. He also gives generously to charity — and doesn’t pretend that compulsory collection and redistribution by those who give out other people’s money is at all noble. It isn’t. It’s cynical and narcissistic. Giving of your own free will? That’s the opposite of coercion.
Every fucking conservative should be making these points now that the cards are on the table, because what we are witnessing here in numbers is the difference between capitalism and democratic socialism played out in numbers and calculations on entirely too-complex tax forms.
That we’ve been dumbed down to the point where the “emotionalism” and false piety of the socialist argument has gained purchase over the nuts and bolts workings of the capitalist system and its reliance on individual charity, investment, entrepreneurship, risk, etc., only means we aren’t waving our hands over the horizon and saying, “look at how, in 230+ years, we’ve turned a land forged through independence, self-reliance, and revolution, into the most powerful and successful and wealthiest economy in world history — at least, before the left began its growth of government and its devouring of the private sector. And it continues to do so, feeding itself not only on money it takes from you in taxes and regulations and hidden fees brought about by higher energy prices, food prices, medical care, failed social engineering programs that devalue your home and failed fiscal policy that devalues the dollar, but also be consuming your liberties, frantically looking for ways to manage you so that their schemes can somehow maybe this time work.
“History tells us such Utopian police states lead to misery of conformity, with an elite political ruling class doling out the spoils to its clients and cronies.
“We fought a revolution to free ourselves from such a failed model, alluring though it may be from time to time to the new generation indoctrinated by promises of a collectivist Utopia on earth.
“The truth is, expansive government has led to the incremental weakening of what was once the most vibrant economy on earth, with the freest people on earth. Politicians, regardless of party, like it that way, because it secures for them the power that our founding documents — which are all but being ignored these days (unless they’re useful for some scheme or other, at which point they’re dusted off and held aloft as sacrosanct by the very people who in every other instance reject them as hoary relics of patriarchal slave-owning revolutionaries steeped in the rigidity of enlightenment philosophy, with its cold adherence to logic and reason and its failure to entertain the necessity of social justice) — meant specifically and emphatically to prevent them from gathering unto themselves.
“And it is back to the first principles — where the government is ours, and politicians work for us, not manage us like pawns on their own grand chess board — that we must return if we really do wish to live in the free country those hateful slave-owning traitors to the Crown bequeathed us.
“This takes hard work; and it cannot be done through compromise with an ideology that is directly at odds with the founding principles, and in fact is working actively to undermine them as the only way possible to bring about the foundational philosophical and governmental change required for liberal fascism to take control of the entire system. It takes conservative and classical liberal principles — “purists,” “true believers”, “Visigoths” whose unnuanced understanding of How DC Works marks them as the enemy of the political class — presented as the natural alternative to stultifying conformity represented by the repugnant promise not of equality before a stable law, but of egalitarianism, wherein we are all the same, equal in “outcome,” equal in misery, equal in what comes to count as legitimate expression, equal in our subjecthood.
“We need a counter revolution to what has long been an institutionalized coup by the Communist left. And no, I don’t believe we’ll ever see communism in the US — though that’s only because even communists are greedy humans, and the natural stopping point for a government with such powers is to work with selected and preferred corporations to run the whole of society.
“Liberal fascism, with a “benevolent” police state as its security mechanism, is the ultimate goal of the “reformers” from the New Left who now run the Democratic Party. And beyond that, they wish to expand the reach of this system, through international agencies peopled with leftist power-hungry bureaucrats and wealthy globalists, to something that will eventually attenuate the very idea of state sovereignty (though they’d naturally keep up the pretense; the breakdown will occur through the implementation of selected “treaties” or agreements which effectively end sovereignty while maintaining the ruse of its vitality).
That’s the conservative / classical liberal message. This is what’s happening. And we need people who aren’t nearly so concerned about seeing the next GOP Party manager elevated to high office as they are about what is happening structural and institutional to our country to make that argument. Again and again and again. Unafraid. Unashamed. Unbothered by mockery. And completely firm in their convictions.
Our time left is limited. The GOP establishment doesn’t believe it. The Left is moving forward with Cloward Piven. And the whole thing can and will collapse if preventative measures aren’t taken.
First, foremost, those measures include an honest and forthright statement of our principles; and acknowledgment of who we are fighting, what they are, and why; a refusal to pretend to comity where what we are dealing with is an attempt to take away our liberties; a complete cleaning out of the current GOP Party leadership, without which we must necessarily begin the long process of building a legitimate and viable third party, with the aim being that classical liberal principles forcefully articulated and not up for sale at any price will eventually allow that third party to swallow up the GOP establishment, which has become a feckless, centrist pander, a low-tax version of a Big Government vision situated on a political spectrum whose entire structure, predictably and inexorably controlled by linguistic incoherence posing as the “democratizing” of knowledge, has moved, and continues to move, ever leftward.