Why Conservatives Will Always Lose

Y’ever wonder why the right-wingers always seem to be left standing around slack-jawed in the aftermath of the latest socialist advance? Read this:

Republicans Plan Push For Elimination of IRS.

“People ask me if I?m really calling for the elimination of the IRS, and I say I think that?s a great thing to do for future generations of Americans,” Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert explains in his new book, to be released on Wednesday.

Granted, Drudge doesn’t shoot 100%. But this is exactly the sort of bold action from principle that Bush has been known to do, and freeing us from the tangled gordian knot of the IRS would indeed be a gift to the future of America.

Now, I’d expect that some sort of IRS-replacement scheme would involve one or more of the following:

1) a National Sales Tax, a one-time tax at the point of sale;
2) a Value-Added Tax (VAT), which gets tacked on at some magic rate at every transaction of an item (trees -> lumber -> house = 3 taxes);
3) a Goods and Services Tax (GST), which is #1 and/or #2 on parts and labor.

This is supported by Hastert’s own words:

Now consider that a flat tax, national sales tax, or VAT would not only eliminate the need to do this, it could also eliminate the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) itself and make the process of paying taxes much easier.”

“By adopting a VAT, sales tax, or some other alternative, we could begin to change productivity.

Let’s ignore, for now, the point that the enforcement mechanism for all of this would necessarily be at least as large and as intrusive as the IRS. Let’s also ignore the fact that Hastert wants to make taxation “easier”. Instead, let’s think about what happens after this plan is enacted.

Why wouldn’t there be a higher tax rate for “socially irresponsible” goods and services? A 100% tax rate on booze and smokes could go towards combatting those evils, or at least towards funding government agencies whose purported agenda is combatting those evils. They’re both the same, as far as the voters know anyway. A 50% tax on guns and ammunition could go towards reducing gun violence and putting 100,000 more police on the streets. Disparate tax rates on three-cylinder Low-PollutionMobiles and evil gas-guzzling SUVs would prod purchasers towards environmentally-friendly alternatives, although the local, county, and state VAT/GST on motor vehicles would encourage even more to use public transportation.

What’s that, you say? Local versions of a National Sales Tax? Why not? Here in the Evergreen State, I’m sure a 5% GST on automobile parts, services, and sales (all to fund the Great Monorail Leap Forward, of course) would be happily enacted by the urban core localities. In fact the possibilities are limitless: backwards Southern counties would be slapping 1000% taxes on sex toys, urban hippie hellholes taxing gun shops out of town. Want to stop private gun sales in your state? Simply add a modest VAT, since only businesses can get VAT registration numbers, and a business that does firearms transactions must have a Federal Firearms License: “Sorry, it’s those gol-dang Federal laws that’re making this happen – we’re just trying to fund gun safety. You aren’t against gun safety, are you, Citizen?” It’d be a dream come true for every would-be social engineer on every Hicksville city council.

But the guy who wrote the gushing quote above isn’t seeing the natural, inevitable results of this particular bit of policy wonkery. He’s only focused on the here-and-now, which as near as I can tell is about 80% “Re-Elect Bush” and about 20% “No More IRS”. He and his fellow voting conservatives never stop to think that the policies they agitate for will extend beyond the next election – government institutions are tools that will respond to whoever is holding the handle, and it won’t always be Bold-Principle Bush.

19 thoughts on “Why Conservatives Will Always Lose”

  1. Quote:
    Somewhere buried in comments at the GeekWithA45’s site, way back during one of the NASA Mars-cart hooplas, I asked why he thought NASA oughta be funded with tax money. Answer was essentially “Because I like it”.

    Hmmmm….here’s a cutnpaste from my logs of the interchange in question.

    To FAIRLY and ACCURATELY summarize the interaction:

    John: …Why Do it?
    geek: Because it’s a worthwhile thing to do, because having all our eggs in one planet sized basket is not wise, and because our manifest destiny is the stars.We need a stardrive, damnit!

    Now, take whatever exception to my reasons you want, but this is far, far different from “because I like it”, which falsely implies selfish, trivial, and infantile motivations.

    The repeated misrepresentation of my positions for your own purposes tells me a lot, including the fact that I needn’t waste a whole lot of my time here.

    The Comment Log:

    {name}John Lopez{/name}
    {text}{![CDATA["The big problem, IMO, is that space exploration is a PERFECT example of the situation where our capabilities and aspirations aren’t supported by any know business model. It’s just too damned expensive to get off the planet."^M
    Then why do it?]]}{/text}
    {text}{![CDATA[Because it’s a worthwhile thing to do, because having all our eggs in one planet sized basket is not wise, and because our manifest destiny is the stars.^M
    We need a stardrive, damnit!]]}{/text}

  2. I think he was doing you a favor. “Because I like it,” is at least an honest plain-spoken summary. Your actual response is rife with circular reasoning and ambiguous collectivity.

  3. MJS: I predict he’ll instantly start blubbering about his needs like a common Marxist rodent.

    No bet, Mike. This guy, in comments here:

    I think there should be a minimum earnings, and EVERYTHING above that should be taxed at a fixed rate.

    He’s a fucking Commie, pure and simple. “Minimum earnings”? Jesus. Somewhere buried in comments at the GeekWithA45’s site, way back during one of the NASA Mars-cart hooplas, I asked why he thought NASA oughta be funded with tax money. Answer was essentially “Because I like it”.

    Beck put it perfectly, here:

    What you have here is a herd of beasts who do not object when government force is wielded on behalf of the things that they value, but will get up on their hind legs and moan and holler when the game goes the other way: when the whip comes down for something that they don’t value, they will actually begin to make noises about starving the hand that bleeds them.

    The rotten bastidges.

    If things ever went for the worst, I know — in my own soul — that I could spend the rest of my days laughing every day at them, from the other end of the cell block.

  4. I asked why he thought NASA oughta be funded with tax money. Answer was essentially “Because I like it”.

    Google group-search alt.current-events.clinton.whitewater for “nasa” and “ray heizer” for numerous go-arounds with a different pure-and-simple fucking commie. I’ll maintain until the day I kack that that man was 100% *useless* in any manner whatsoever. The entirety of CAS — Vince & the whole shebang — will inevitably slide down into an infinitesimal memory-hole, while from the machine-tabulated perspective of the state, Ray was just another checkmark, among countless millions, upon the ballot authorizing the looting of your pockets for all manner of breathlessly important to “society” boondoggles, including, besides his precious rockets to the Mergatroid Heavens, the erection of the Lying Bastard presidential library and the paychecks of Whitewash Starr and Suicide Beyer.

    The stupid dink. He’s getting exactly the Republican party that he deserves, and I sincerly hope he’s enjoying every anal prod good and hard.

    – – –

    On a related note: Those worthless tax-leeching turkeys at the National Weather Service, who last night had a flood watch up for southern Minnesota in anticipation of a real frog-strangler (and then unceremoniously canceled said watch after it became apparent that jack-shit was materializing on account of they forgot about the capped atmosphere in place), and again this evening calling for “heavy thunderstorms” overnight in the Minneapolis area (despite obvious frontal-passage and obvious satellite imagery indicating not a drop north of Mankato) — should all be smacked upside the head with an old-school mercury-bulb sling-psychrometer.

    — The goddamned useless morons, pretending they’ve earned their keep with ten- (and soon to be 14-) day model forecasts (i.e., GIGO in a chaos-blender), when their own bone heads can’t for their very lives look at a water-vapor loop of real, live *data* on a CRT a foot from their nose, and accurately predict which direction the pretty colored blobs will go in the next twelve hours — and summon the gall to issue a zone forecast correction to override the computer crappulance.

    I’m a WX junkie, and if y’all really want an idea of how much this glib *incompetence* utterly galls me, just try and imagine Billy Beck living in an alternate reality in which the government made the muscle-cars, and the auto newsgroups were stuffed with degreed engineers all earnestly insisting that they were doing the absolute best they could to make them run as decent as possible with the meager funds at their disposal, and we should be thankful that they’re not as unspeakably lame as, say, the Brazillian bureaucattle who let a bona-fide hurricane rip 40,000 houses into bitty-bits last year without a single warning despite every freak with a sat-feed on the planet flood-filling their in-boxes. (Their excuse, I shit you not, was: “Hurricanes don’t happen in the South Atlantic, so the pretty, colored blob bearing down that looks like a hurricane can’t be a hurricane even if The National Hurricane Center up in arrogant Yanqui-land says it’s one!” …Well, those weren’t the exact words, but that’s exactly what they *meant*.

    I’ll think about paying taxes again on the day NASA announces they’re sending the BRIZ-MET aloft in an orbiter with loose tiles and leaky o-rings.

  5. JTK,

    1. Whether the money’s taxed before you invest it, or after you divest it, you’re still missing the same amount.

    2. If the entire federal tax burden could somehow be foisted upon US retailers, you’d better believe I’d be spending my money elsewhere. And I don’t think I’d alone. So this is actually an argument against the sales tax–at least against the sales tax as a revenue neutral replacement for the income tax.

    It’s not enough to establish a sales tax, you also have to force people to pay it. That’s why there’s no reason to think a sales tax would be any less intrusive than an income tax if it colleced the same amount. The government would just have to make sure you’re spending your money the way your supposed to instead of earning it as you should.

  6. Brian, if the cost of overthrowing the million man murderer named Saddam Hussein were converted into calories and then compared to the rest of the debt in similar terms, it’d be like watching Michael Moore pop a Butterfinger BB after polishing off a whole bucket of lard.

    (I’m anm curious as to whether or not your opposed to thefts in principle, or are just another one of those mushwits drifting over from antiwar.com, where theft is generally opposed if it dovetails with defending Islamo-fascism.)

  7. Lee,

    “So how does a sales tax allow you to better manage theft?”

    1. Your investments compound tax free.

    2. You can spend the money somewhere else. The money is good in foreign markets as well as black markets.

    A sales tax would be a lot less intrusive too, the government would have no need to know what you earned last year or what was in your bank account.

  8. Unless the constitution is expressly amended to forbid taxation of income, any move by the feds toward a sales tax means that one day we’re going to wake up paying both federal sales tax and federal income tax. I can see it now – in order to pay for the invasion and occupation of Iran, the wealthiest 5% of Americans will have to cough up 10% of their income on top of the sales tax. In a couple of more years, with troops in North Korea and the Sudan as well, the wealthiest 10% will have to cough up 15% of their income on top of the sales tax. Continue on a few years and we’ll be in the same mess we are now, except then we’ll have to pay 25% at the cash register on top of what we pay in income tax.

  9. Take all the money you’ve earned that will never be spent. Now burn it. You won’t miss it, and neither will your heirs. So how does a sales tax allow you to better manage theft? If you can buy without paying the sales tax, then why not earn without paying the income tax?

    The spending has to paid for somehow, and by the same people who are paying it now. Given the choice of left pocket or right, I can’t say that I have a preference. But then, I’m dyslexic.

  10. John? Try, just try sometime, asking a “conservative” straight to his face whether he thinks all taxes should be abolished upon principled grounds immediately and forevermore. I predict he’ll instantly start blubbering about his needs like a common Marxist rodent.

    “Conservatives” (I always place that word in quotes now) really are far more stupid than the “liberals” (as grinning socialist predators like Michael Moore have always claimed), since the “liberal” is clearly aware of what he is, and what it takes to get what he wants.

    Billy and I had a rare disagreement about a month ago on Bob’s list, in which he asserted Republicans were cowards for abandoning principle (offering, in a follow-up, the Goldwater campaign as an example of when they weren’t), and I name-dropped the ambiguous-collective fallacy*. The discussion derailed when the list was buried under a fresh avalanche of new, illiterate twits; but the gist of my argument was this: individual principled Republicans cannot survive because they are engaging in a process which is by definition unprincipled. In short, to paraphrase Darwin, the principled Republican (e.g., Goldwater) is “electionarily” de-selected.

    I.e., it’s not that Republicans abandon principle, but that principled Republicans are, individually, abandoned by the voters, who want LOOT.

    [* http://home.mn.rr.com/meadowbrookhome/z/FALLACYS.HTM ]

  11. The more black markets the better, but I’m not sure how you’d distinguish a consumption market from a production one. It seems that if you’re making purchases then someone else is making sales on the same market.

    The income tax may be a mess, but it’s also a stable equilibrium that reflects the best balance that can be obtained among competing political interests. You can expect that what begins as a national sales tax, and morphs into a national VAT would look much the same. It’s the difference between European and American facism. Here we tax income and sales, and there they tax sales and income.

  12. If you can buy without paying the sales tax, then why not earn without paying the income tax?

    It’s a question of whether you want black markets in consumption or production. It seems like it would be easier to purchase goods on the black market than it would be to earn one’s employment through the black market.

  13. Taxation is still theft, but if this band of thieves gave me the option of paying an income tax or a sales tax I’d almost certainly pay the sales tax. It allows you to better manage your current exposure to theft.

    I consider the move a virtual political impossibility at this time. Though many republicans might come out for this I think most would do so only as a political ploy, as they did with term limits in the Contract With America. There were enough parties to the CWA elected to at least pass a term limits bill in the house, but no such bill ever passed. The republican leadership arranged a series of votes on term limits so that every party to the CWA got to vote for them, but no majority ever materialized on a single vote.

    I’d expect much the same to happen with this proposal if it even got that far.

  14. Just to be perfectly clear, I’ll stipulate that my summary from memory was incorrect, and I’ll accept your word that you are indeed wishing to act from non-selfish motives.

  15. Now, take whatever exception to my reasons you want, but this is far, far different from “because I like it”, which falsely implies selfish, trivial, and infantile motivations.

    “Because I like it” is the absolute least trivial and infantile thing in the world. And I’d have far less to dispute with you, if you were truly “selfish”.

  16. Andre Marrou claimed in 1992 that if the personal income tax were repealed (and replaced with nothing) the federal budget would have to be rolled back … four years. (I confess I never bothered to check the numbers myself.)

    I wonder what the corresponding number is today.

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