What do the IRS scandal and the Senate’s hearing on Apple’s tax avoidance have in common? Both events lay bare modern American liberalism’s Achilles’ heel.
|Just like Prohibition, Liberalism depends
on Americans’ willingness to voluntarily
comply with laws requiring Americans
to do something they don’t want to do:
give up drinking and paying taxes.
Liberalism depends upon a citizenry’s voluntary payment of their hard-earned dollars into a massive wealth redistribution system. Voluntary tax compliance depends on one condition precedent: citizens must believe the tax system is fair. Once a citizenry loses faith that a tax system is fair, and that it is fairly and impartially administered, compliance falls precipitously. When voluntary compliance fails, the system itself fails. And when the tax system fails, government runs out of cash.
Liberalism depends on redistributing scads and scads of cash. Some of liberalism’s greatest hits are never going to be undone, regardless of conservative fantasies otherwise. Americans will never elect a politician promising to end Social Security, or gut Medicare, or eviscerate Medicaid. Never.
And, to be fair to liberalism, the ideas behind the programs noted are not the problem. It’s the implementation of the ideas that’s bankrupting America. Who can dispute that America should take care of its destitute elderly? Anyone want to argue that uninsured poor folks shouldn’t have access to preventive medical services? How about refusing to fund food for poor schoolchildren? It’s not liberalism’s idea(l)s, it’s liberalism’s fascistic implementation of those idea(l)s.
Liberals made fun of Ronald Reagan for his “Trickle Down Economics,” as derisively named by media. But Liberals have an economic outlook more scorn-worthy than anything Reagan ever dreamed up. ‘Puter likes to call liberalism’s favored system “Cram Down Economics.” While Reagan’s economic tenets focused on growing wealth through voluntary transactions for the benefit of all, liberals insist on limiting wealth through involuntary transfers for the benefit of politically favored groups.
Liberalism’s Cram Down Economics requires the government to forcibly take money from the wealthy, the rich and the not-so-rich so liberal politicians can “spread the wealth around” to the liberal cause du jour, not infrequently one and the same as core Democrat voting constituencies.
Readers need not agree with ‘Puter’s sharp-tongued criticism of modern American liberalism’s approach to economics. However, it is beyond dispute that without a constant, unending flow of Other People’s Money, liberalism fails.
And there’s liberalism’s Achilles’ heel. Money.
Conservatives have known forever that to kill liberalism, it is necessary to starve it of funds. But conservatives have been unable to put forth an argument for reducing revenues compelling enough to convince the necessary supermajority of voters. We have been frustrated by frequently having the better policy argument when judged on logic and fact, only to lose out to liberalism’s emotional “you’re starving Granny” or “it’s for the children” cris de coeur.
But things changed this week. Liberalism’s foremost proponents in the Executive and Legislative branches made critical misjudgments, misjudgments that have put liberalism’s monetary lifeblood at issue.
The Internal Revenue Service, seemingly motivated by a noxious cocktail of equal parts politics and malice, used the full force of the government’s authority to destroy its enemy, conservative Tea Party organizations. Not only did the IRS use government force for political ends, it compounded its error by lying about it.
Americans don’t agree on much, but they do agree that using the IRS to enforce your political will against groups the party in power perceives to be enemies is a Very Bad Thing. Americans don’t trust entities that do Very Bad Things. Think Wall Street in the immediate aftermath of the 2008 Meltdown. Once an entity loses trust, it’s nearly impossible to get it back. In the private sector, this frequently means declining revenues and eventual bankruptcy. In the public sector, it means sneering disrespect and increased noncompliance with agency diktat.
The IRS has one job and one job only: collect taxes from Americans. Because the IRS did a Very Bad Thing, Americans now regard it as untrustworthy, even biased. Prior to the IRS’ self-immolation, there was talk on Capitol Hill about bipartisan agreement to simplify and restructure the tax code. Now there’s bipartisan talk about how diseased the IRS is, and how corrupt the entire entity has become. Not exactly a trust building assessment of the agency charged with forcibly taking taxpayers’ money.
Coupled with the IRS’ Executive Branch debacle, liberals in the Legislative Branch unwittingly decided to punch their cash cow while it was down, inexplicably holding hearings on Apple’s tax compliance.
All Senate liberals managed to do is to call attention to the inherent opacity and unfairness of America’s doddering, Rube Goldberg tax code. Guess what, America? Lobbyists for mega-corporations paid Gucci wearing lobbyists to buy favorable tax treatment from our already hated Representatives and Senators. Did ‘Puter mention the Apple hearing’s unfortunate highlighting of Congress votes for sale culture?
‘Puter read about the hearings, and he’s betting most Americans came to similar conclusions.
|It appears former Congressman Barney
Frank (D-MA) taught this monkey how
to eat a banana, Provincetown style.
First, good for Apple for sticking it to the government. Those bastards at the IRS are crooked, and Congress spends money like a drunken monkey in a banana shop. At least the monkey eventually quits spending money when he pukes up the thirty seventh banana he’s crammed down his greedy maw. Congress doesn’t have the monkey’s decency or gag reflex, apparently.
Second, the fact that Apple paid an effective 1.9% tax rate on $37 billion in overseas profits in 2012 isn’t Apple’s fault, it’s Congress’ fault. Congress writes the tax code, Apple simply pays an army of accountants and lawyers to figure out how to pay the lowest rate it possibly can. In a just world, Congress would’ve held hearings where corporate executives and run of the mill taxpayers could grill them on the inherent stupidity of the tax code.
Third, how come our Senators appear to be blithering idiots, completely detached from reality and unacquainted with causal analysis? If ‘Puter has to hear Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) explain how the tax code has absolutely no effect on taxpayer behavior, yet extol the efficacy of using the ObamaCare individual mandate’s tax penalty as an effective means of changing taxpayer behavior, he’s going shove the aforementioned drunken monkey’s banana up the good gentleman from Michigan’s no-no hole. Senator Levin, Apple is responding rationally to your incentives, lowering its losses (taxes are a loss) to benefit its shareholders. If the senator can’t understand that, it’s time for him to retire.
Fourth, Americans are more aligned with Learned Hand than with Barack Obama. As Learned Hand wrote in Helvering v. Gregory, 69 F.2d 809, 810-11 (2d Cir. 1934), “[a]ny one may so arrange his affairs that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which will best pay the Treasury; there is not even a patriotic duty to increase one’s taxes.” Got that, liberals? All taxpayers have to do is pay the taxes they owe and not one penny more. There’s absolutely no duty, legal, moral or otherwise, to enrich others at your expense. In fact, doing so is a sign you may be in dire need of a court appointed guardian.
Albeit unintentionally, in the past week Congress and the IRS have done more to destroy liberalism than conservatives have managed to do since Ronald Reagan left office. Liberals and liberal government forced Americans to confront the ugly truth. Liberalism survives by using force to steal money to enrich liberals and their political catamites.
The IRS has shown itself deeply corrupt in service of Obama’s liberal agenda. Liberals in Congress have shown themselves deeply corrupt in service of moneyed interests, aligned against the very constituents they have sworn to represent.
Americans won’t tolerate government corruption. Americans will soon insist heads roll at the IRS, and not just the usual fall guys. Americans will soon insist that the tax code make sense again, for both huge corporations flush with profit and individuals scraping to get by. If government chooses to do neither, Americans will simply stop paying taxes to the extent they can get away with it.
When Americans insist on transparency and fairness in our revenue cycle, government slush funds get scarce, whether because Congress cleans up the system or because Congress won’t and Americans stop paying. Without an endless flow of accountability-free dollars, liberalism withers.
And that, dear readers, is the importance of this week’s events.