Monday, April 13, 2009

Economic Ataxia

I have just awakened from a sort of stupor brought on by a combination of the following: (1) “spring break” -- which counts for me since I am enrolled in one college class; (2) Holy Week, with all of its marvelous liturgies; and (3) tax season – not quite accomplished as yet, but well along. Which brings us to the reason to celebrate this day (April 13) in particular – and it's a good thing I woke up in time to do so! -- namely, Tax Freedom Day. This, according to the official website, is the first day of 2009 when the average American is not working for the government – i.e. everything they earned up until today went for taxes. There are more details on the web site:

I note that – ironically – the day came earlier this year because of the stimulus package (anticipated effects) and the recession, which has “reduced tax collections even faster than it has reduced income”. This means that as things get worse, the government starves first! So clearly, if the Regime is really out to wipe the middle class off the map, they have to do something about the “progressive” tax code that enables people to pay a lower percentage in taxes just because they are earning less. (In fact, this could be the one thing that gets the “flat tax” passed into law! Especially if we tell the liberals that “flat tax” means that if you're flat broke, you still pay tax.)

Also worth mentioning is the “alternative calculation” that factors in the federal budget deficit... and according to this method, the real “Tax Freedom Day” would be May 29 – a new record by 20 days. I actually suspect that, given the trajectory of budget deficits caused by the bailouts and economic stimulus plan, Tax Freedom Day is going to migrate to Dec. 31 before too long. And in fact, I suspect that's precisely what the liberals/collectivists/statists in Congress and the administration want. I imagine that their word for Tax Freedom Day is “Our Work is Not Yet Done Day” -- i.e. they feel they are still leaving way too much money in the hands of the taxpayers, who... as Bill Clinton memorably said... cannot be trusted to make the proper choices as to how to spend their money.

On the other hand, as Jesus said, “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's”. Maybe the answer, ultimately, will be for people to simply divorce themselves from cash/currency/”legal tender” and go to a completely barter system. This would certainly work at the local and/or communal level, because it has worked and is working at that level – there are plenty of examples. And by doing so, it would go a long way toward vindicating the concept of distributism, which is a key idea that came out of Catholic social teaching starting in the late 1800s. This, of course, would be considered – and rightly so! -- a deadly threat by the Regime, and you can bet that they'll take every possible measure to prevent it from ever coming about. But much can still be done if people stay under the radar. Could this economic crisis finally turn the middle class into subversives? Seems unlikely, but one can always hope.

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