Feel The Burn!

Honestly, I still think of this as a tag line for an STD or UTI medication.

With the Democratic caucus recently completed in WA state – and the Republican primary at least five weeks away – repeat visitors to my blog and Facebook page have likely been surprised that there hasn’t been as much commentary on the Presidential hopefuls as there have been in past years.

In truth, the field on both sides of the aisle have left me mostly speechless.

How can that be? There’s a neo-ancient socialist and a seasoned senator that can’t figure out email on one side; a reality TV star wannabe ruler, a senator that’s recently gotten National Enquirer headlines, and various other unknowns that have since split. I recall someone somewhere that was calling out that the Egyptian pyramids were used to stored grains and while I want to say that it was from a recent Bloom County strip, I don’t think it was.

What possible insight or benefit could I add to such a debacle, that isn’t already obvious to everyone?

Of course, Facebook is still filled with “My candidate is better than your candidate” in spite of thin list of candidates called out above. Reading through some of the posts makes me think that if we got a panel together of people arguing that NCAA student athletes should get paid, which gaming console is the best available, and who is the best NASCAR driver on a wet track on odd numbered days. Lots of passion, opinion sprinkled with a rare fact, and the classic “if you don’t agree with me, I must show you how wrong you are” mudslinging.

In a late-night, self-aware moment, I think I would be all for Bernie, but for a few deal breaking facts: he’s old. So old that his choice for VPOTUS will be even more important than Palin was for McCain. Whoever is El Numero Dos will be in the Oval before the first term is up, IMHO. Look at how much Barack, George II, and Bill aged during their first term – much less the 2nd term – and how can you not see that Bernie’s age is a real concern.

The socialist plan he’s pushing is interesting on a concept level. I mean, I’ve long since said for as capitalist we believe we are, there are a number of things we do as a country that flies in the face of it. Anti-trust laws, unions, well fare, unemployment, social security, Medicare/Medicaid, required insurances – all of it moves us away from “pure” capitalism. And as a country it still works, but it’s not straight up “every person for themselves” capitalism. Consider China which claims to be 100% communist: they play host to some of the most capitalist cities I’ve ever seen. It’s a compliment to both countries that their systems work.

No, the worry I have about The Burn stems from the free college for all. First and foremost, it’s never going to be free. Public schools are free to students but their paid for by taxes. Make colleges free and guess what? Taxes go up. Oh sure, the plan is to tax the shit out of the 1% but that’s a pipe dream as well. In fact, all of the people that keep coming around with “tax the shit out of the 1%” should terrify everyone. More on that later.

The back story as to why I’m so nervous about free college is because we’ve currently got a ton of high school students that aren’t passing high school. Soooo, we’re going to give them college for free? If they can’t learn at the high school level – due to lack of desire or lifestyle or distractions or just being plain stupid – why in the hell would we want to fund their college? Instead of trying to “fix the system” by adding on a layer of extra frosting, how about we fix the fucking cake first? Then there’s the open question that gets forgotten about how the BA/BS degree becomes diluted if it’s open to all. Does that mean I advocate that keeping more people from getting a degree? Yeah, actually I am in a way. College is something people should be working towards. Sure there’s financial aid and loans and most students have to work one or two (or three) jobs to get tuition paid but bluntly put: this is a good thing. Part of going to college is taking on responsibilities for your actions and decisions; that comes through experience rather than getting older. Anyone that has been to college can immediately recall the fuck up they knew that was on their third school – after failing out of two by junior year – that still hadn’t declared a major and was basically there to use the meal plan.

Not every student is the same, so why are we trying to set up the education system as if they are all the same? Personally this whole push to “college should be free” reeks of the same entitlement mentality that has been a general theme at every level of society over the last 5 or 10 years, that “I’m a special snowflake so I should get everything handed to me” or “I’m in this group and I want what I think that other group has because I don’t have it” that makes me twitch on an almost daily basis, because we continue to indulge and foster this attitude with no end in sight.

Then there is the tax the 1% thing. I personally love how “the 99%” constantly looks to the “1%” and demands money from them. It almost makes you wonder what the motivation is to be financially successful anymore. “Hey Johnny, you do know that the more money you make, the more people are going to expect you to give it away to people poorer than you.” Amazing the difference 40 years makes. The sad truth is that the 95% doesn’t realize just how important that 1% is to the country. They are already paying taxes. They are likely paying more in taxes than the bottom 60% combined. Here’s a fact: the country needs those taxes for all of the socialized programs we all want funded and the 1% is bringing in a lion share of them.

Let me say it another way: most of America – call them the 95% – have no concept of what it’s like to live as the 1%. The other 4% do because they are close enough to see it, even if they can’t sustain the same lifestyle, but the average citizen hasn’t a clue. These are people that have houses in multiple countries across the globe. They use a plane to skip across oceans like we use Uber to move around a city. They have a global view and guess what that means? They don’t have to live here and pay a dime in taxes if they don’t want to. Read in the papers over the year why General Electric is moving their headquarters from CT to MA? Why the move after almost 40 years in CT, leaving a dedicated piece of land for their campus? Because CT is sucking tax money out of companies with two straws; MA gave GE a better deal, so they are moving. Why is there a new Boeing factory in NC instead of WA? Tax incentive that out paced what WA offered. Hell, why is Boeing’s HQ in Chicago? Taxes. If we put an unrealistic tax increase on the citizens that are in the 1%, they will walk from the US with more ease than any company can; we will be pushing the 1% out of the country along with their ability to spend in our economy and the existing taxes they bring. Next domino to fall after that will be the increased taxing of the next band of citizens.

Over taxing the 1% feels more like a witch hunt than a sound economic policy. Sure it plays well with the media and will likely win delegates and eventually electoral votes, but it’s going to be a terrifying thing to behold if it becomes a real policy.

Ever forward.


One thought on “Feel The Burn!”

  1. Take a look at the book The Myth of the Millionaire Tax Flight. The author uses census data to argue that millionaires are actually less mobile than the rest of the population, and to some extent tend to move to places with higher taxes. The problem is that it’s big news when a billionaire says that they’re moving because of high taxes, not big news when they’re moving to (say) California or another state with high taxes on the wealthy, and no news at all when they stay put.

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