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Death & taxes: What’s so American about plunder?

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We’ve all heard the old line about the certitude of death and taxes. It’s a bit telling about the nature of human beings and how they will use power, even if just a little, to try and extract the fruits of their neighbor’s labor for their own gain that we consider taxation as just another inevitable aspect of life. However, are taxes something that we should so readily come to expect?

Yesterday was the 4th of July, where we celebrated our forefathers’ decision to extricate themselves from British rule because of the many abuses by the crown, foremost among them, what the colonials considered excessive and unjust taxes. When independence was won, so loathe of taxes were the Founders that, under the Articles of Confederation, there were no national taxes; Congress had to scrounge what it could thru voluntarily contributions -contributions that were unsurprisingly lacking. Veterans of the War could not collect their pensions, and the infant nation could do nothing to keep British merchants from harboring in its bays and running roughshod over American vendors. The ensuing chaos from such a government resulted in the Constitution being ratified, creating a new, strong but limited central government whose powers included the ability to levy taxes nationally.

Presently in American politics there are two prevailing perceptions on taxation: on the Left, there is the misguided belief that taxes are the “price we pay for living in a free(?) and just society”. Per this narrative, we all pay taxes because we all benefit from living in a democratic society and thus must all share in the burden. This wouldn’t be a half-bad sell for taxes if half the people in American didn’t pay effectively zero taxes. (The Left’s reasoning also has the unfortunate trait of being utter bullshit.) It’s interesting to note: the people most attached to this narrative also hold the honorary title of “tight-fisted jerkwads who refuse to pay more to Uncle Sam than what the law requires.” If taxes are such an honorary patriotic duty, why don’t those on the Left pay more?

On the Right, we have the “taxation is theft” mantra. While truer to the nature of taxation -which is, money taken by force from unwilling payers- it has a major glaring weakness: if taxation is theft, why do we let the government “steal” from us while punishing individuals for doing the same thing? Why is theft illegal in most cases but not some, and if we allow theft to occur at some levels, why not others? Moral and reasonable people can agree: immoral acts do not become moral simply because the majority agree to engage in the act; government is an extension of the individual -of the People…what a person has right to do, the government may do also and nothing more. The problem with “taxation is theft” is that it implies that all taxes are inherently bad, and thus should be eliminated. Ask the Founders how easily a time they had funding even a small basic government with a Congress and an army under the Articles of Confederation.

The reality is taxes, when done properly and equitably, are somewhere in the middle. They are a necessary evil that funds government -government which is necessary and vital to secure and protect our rights from those who would take them from us. To call them theft is disingenuous, to call them “the price we pay to live in a free(?) or just society” is a lie. Taxes are the price we as citizens pay -in theory equally- for goods and services that only the government can provide, such as national defense or trade infrastructure and courts, that we all benefit from. Taxes pay for those services both necessary for the preservation of liberty and our rights and inadequately provided for by free markets because of market weaknesses like externalities or the free rider issue. And the American default is -or at least ought to be- to err on the side of letting free markets handle the care and provision of the goods and services necessary to preserve the public good and peaceful order.

To do more or less than this is tyranny, slavery, & theft. To tax one group to service another group is legalized looting, it is plunder on a national scale on behalf of the politically favored. For taxes to be fair, they must apply equally in cost and benefit. All must pay “their fair share” -i.e. equally burdened, and all must benefit equally and have equal access to the fruits of tax spending. That is what is meant by “the common good” and the “general welfare”.

As Jefferson so eloquently stated, “Whether property alone, and the whole of what each citizen possesses, shall be subject to contribution, or only its surplus after satisfying his first wants, or whether the faculties of body and mind shall contribute also from their annual earnings, is a question to be decided. But, when decided, and the principle settled, it is to be equally and fairly applied to all. To take from one, because it is thought that his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, ‘the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry, and the fruits acquired by it.’”

Let us remember that overly burdensome taxes are why the Founders rejected British rule and sought independence and self-governance. Let us also remember that what they considered heavy and burdensome are peanuts in comparison to the taxes we pay today…those of us who pay taxes anyways. Liberty cannot exist where one man is taxed so that another may eat of his labor, or where one group is shouldered with a greater burden because of political favors bestowed upon another group.

And without liberty, there can be no justice. Without justice, there can be no peace. Without peace, life is little more than waiting around for death and taxes.

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Judiciary

Jeff Flake has become a punchline

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Jeff Flake has become a punchline

There are conservatives who oppose the President through conscientious means and with discernment of who to support and what to oppose. Then, there are “conservatives” like Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ).

In his final days in the United States Senate, Flake has decided to go out with his conscience intact. At least that’s what he’s telling himself and anyone who would listen. In reality, he’s going out with his middle finger raised to the man he blames the most for his career failures: President Trump.

Flake has threatened to hold up judicial nominations until the Senate votes to protect special counsel Robert Mueller. Let’s set aside the likelihood that such an action by Congress would be unconstitutional with Article 2 giving the President wide powers over the Justice Department. That’s a debate for Constitutional scholars.

Instead, let’s focus on what Flake is actually doing. He’s willing to jeopardize the judicial system which desperately needs an infusion of originalists just to fire a parting blow at the President. That’s really what this comes down to. He’s not obeying his conscience. He’s not protecting Mueller. He’s not trying to right a wrong. He’s being a child.

He’s a punchline.

Even if there was a real threat that President Trump might somehow interfere with the Mueller investigation, this wouldn’t be the way to try to protect him. All Flake is doing is pulverizing the few pieces of his credibility that were left standing.

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Democrats

Good news for the Democrat agenda: McConnell and McCarthy will lead the GOP

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Good news for the Democrat agenda McConnell and McCarthy will lead the GOP

Trumplicans chalked one up for the status quo yesterday when they chose Paul Ryan’s right-hand man, Kevin McCarthy, to be the party leader in the House and unanimously re-elected Mitch McConnell to lead the Senate. Both men were endorsed by Donald Trump for the jobs.

Despite the fact that Republicans suffered the worst mid-term defeat since Watergate, McConnell and McCarthy touted a list of vague GOP accomplishments that conveniently failed to mention the party’s failure to keep their promises, which is why the Democrats won last week.

In an opinion piece for FOX News, McConnell bragged — now try not to laugh — about how the past two years of Republican leadership “will be remembered as a period of historic productivity.” He then challenged the new Democrat majority in the House to put aside partisan politics and work with Republicans to get things done.

Apparently, the concept of irony is lost on McConnell. Outside of the GOP’s alleged success at saving the Supreme Court, Democrats and Republicans have always been working together, which is why they still fund Planned Parenthood, Obamacare, DACA, and sanctuary cities with massive new spending that exploded the budget deficit.

While McConnell and McCarthy have adopted Trump’s “blame the Democrats for my failures” playbook, the sad reality is that Republicans favor the Democrat agenda because it’s their agenda; bipartisanship is a given.

Based on developments during the lame duck session, it’s going to be worse when the 116th Congress opens for business in January.

Nancy Pelosi called last week’s victory a mandate to save Obamacare and she will promote legislation designed to move America closer to a single-payer healthcare system. Trump has a track record of support for Obamacare and he promoted single-payer healthcare during his 2016 campaign.

Following the recent shootings in California, Pelosi announced that she would make gun control a top priority. Trump and the GOP have actively promoted radical gun-control legislation, including: seizing guns without due process, establishing an FBI database to track guns and gun owners, and requiring a license to own a gun.

Now comes word from the Democrats that they will work to bring back a classic of Bernie Sanders and Democratic Socialists — a federal minimum wage of $15 an hour. As expected, Trump appears to be a fan of the idea.

During his 2016 campaign, Trump supported raising the minimum wage to at least $10 and hour. And as part of the recent US-Mexico trade deal, he fought for and won a $16 an hour minimum wage for auto workers on both sides of the border in an effort to price Mexico out of the auto industry. Ironic because he’s essentially admitting that mandatory minimum wages eventually result in lost jobs.

Even thought economic advisor Larry Kudlow recently stated his preference to see the federal minimum wage eliminated, Trump’s history of flip-flopping on this along with a host of other issues, along with his 2020 re-election hopes, means that the Democrats will likely win on the issue.

We were repeatedly told last week to vote Red to make sure we stop the Democrats. But to quote Hillary Clinton during the Benghazi hearings, when it comes to the difference between Republicans and Democrats . . .

“What difference, at this point, does it make?”

 

Originally posted on StridentConservative.com.

 


David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.

Follow the Strident Conservative on Twitter and Facebook.

Subscribe to receive podcasts of radio commentaries: iTunes | Stitcher | Tune In | RSS

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Media

To advance conservatism, nobody gets a free pass

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To advance conservatism nobody gets a free pass

Before the midterm elections, most of the writers here spent a good chunk of their copy space helping Republicans in their campaigns. They focused on exposing Democrats for what they are (as well as what they’re becoming) and often turned their back on the negatives associated with Republican candidates.

This was intentional and I allowed it. Like many proponents of limited government, I compare the rhetoric and actions of the two major parties and I see one that’s pushing for big government and another that’s pushing for even bigger government. The fallacies in the Democrats’ proposals are obvious and universal. Republicans have a mix of good and bad; for example, lowering taxes was good, but simultaneously increasing spending was bad.

I allowed the pro-Republican approach because in the world of partisan politics, we’re stuck in a lesser-of-two-evils scenario. While I personally didn’t get involved in party politics and focused my posts on fighting for conservative and limited-government federalist values, I didn’t ask my writers to do the same. Any who chose to promote the Republican agenda, which was most of them, were allowed to do so.

They still can. I’m not censoring anyone. However, I want to be clear about the true purpose of this news site.

We are not a partisan site that is pro-Republican or anti-Democrat. We are a pro-American site that understands the importance of limiting government, defending freedoms, and protecting life, plus many other ideas that are usually associated with conservatism and/or classical liberalism.

Now that the election is over, we are relaunching our GoFundMe page.

Getting donations during campaign season was tough, but now we’re ready to accept help. We need it.

The description of our site on GoFundMe encapsulates what we are.

Our society is rapidly deteriorating into helplessness. Ideas such as self-governance, conservatism, patriotism, personal responsibility, limited-government federalism, and civil discourse are being threatened by a sharp leftward lurch. It isn’t just progressives who are veering to the left. The center is shifting to the left and as a result, many who are or were conservative have become more open-minded to the cultural and geopolitical shifts.

We are losing our ethical, traditional, and logical cores as a society.

NOQ Report has three goals:

1) Expose the fallacies of this leftward lurch that is making progressives more unhinged and conservatives more malleable.
2) Educate the masses about the benefits of liberty-driven philosophies that include limiting government, defending freedoms, and protecting life.
3) Engage with people in a meaningful way. We want a dialogue with everyone whether they agree or disagree with us.

America deserves better than what mainstream media feeds us.

Every dollar donated is invested back into the site to pay writers, editors, and to promote the site so it can reach more people. We have limited advertising on the site for a reason. We do not want “corporate overlords” who try to steer content, nor do we want to load the site with spammy ads. This is why we must rely on you, the readers, to keep the site afloat.

As of the middle of November, 2018, we are relaunching this campaign. We had a soft launch that had minimal success. We are pushing harder now. Please help us elevate this news site to compete against the incessant leftist propaganda being pumped onto the internet. Donate now.

Moving forward, we are going to focus on our three goals. It doesn’t matter if someone is a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or whatever. If they aren’t helping to limit government, defend freedoms, and protect life, we’ll call them out.

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