Ron Paul explains the doublespeak and fallacious framing in the tax debate at Lew Rockwell's site, and he really knocks it out of the park... Check it out:
"George Orwell warned us about the use of “meaningless words” in politics, words that are endlessly repeated by sloganeering politicians until they have no meaning at all. Meaningless words certainly were on display during last week’s congressional debate over the latest tax bill.I don't think this point could possibly be stated too many times, or loudly enough.
Over and over again we heard trite, empty phrases like “tax cuts for the wealthiest 2%,” “tax giveaways,” “tax earmarks,” and “borrowing money to give to millionaires.” Time and time again the same falsehoods were presented as fact, and reported as such by a credulous media.
But all of these clichés about taxes are based on the presumption that government has a right to all of your income, and so government “gives” you something when it allows you to keep a portion of that income. To this mindset, tax cuts represent a “cost” to government. After all, they argue, money that really ought to go to the most noble of purposes – wealth redistribution via taxation – is being kept by greedy people and corporations who just don’t want to pay their fair share.
Far too many Americans truly believe that tax cuts represent a government giveaway, indistinguishable from an outright subsidy or entitlement payment. To combat this mindset, we need to be clear with our language.
A subsidy, properly understood, occurs when government takes tax dollars and gives them to favored individuals, companies, or industries. A tax cut, by contrast, simply means government takes less from an individual, company, or industry. When government takes less from you, it has not given you anything; it merely has harmed you less. This is the critical distinction that has been lost in the endless, tired debate about tax policy."
When government takes less of people's money, it isn't "a Christmas present", as some people have claimed. It's not a gift. It's just less theft. There is nothing altruistic about taking other people's money by force, no matter how good your intentions are for what you intend to spend that money on. Cato's president, David Boaz, is an acquaintance and a Facebook friend of mine. A few days ago, he posted the following "status":
"The distinguished economist Alan Blinder says it's a "Christmas present" when the government doesn't raise taxes on the rich. So I've got a present for Dr. Blinder: I'm not going to steal his car."Again... Yep.
To this end, there are many people very confused about what's going on in that realm right now... It is absolutely shocking to me how many average Americans honestly accept that a tax cut - or even, not raising taxes - is a cost borne by government.
That is positively insane!
What's even more insane is that the government and statist allies have ever actually been able to succeed in convincing people of something so ridiculous in the first place.
Stop for a moment and consider this: Possibly a majority of people in America have accepted an idea that can only be true if they accept the premise that they are serfs, literally owned wholesale by the Federal Government.
Let me repeat: To consider tax cuts to be a government expense requires you to first believe that government owns 100% of your income and anything that you're allowed to keep is "spending".
But is that what you believe? Really? Do you honestly think your existence is a gift from Uncle Sam? Does Uncle Sam sign your paychecks? (Ok, yes, if you're in the military, maybe "he" does... I get that... But please understand, that's not true for most people!)
Your income is earned by providing someone with a good, a service or some productive aspect of your time & labor. Most everyone earns their living this way. The few people for whom that is not true are commonly known as "politicians", and basically anyone who gets their living from special deals and favors from those politicians... Like, oh I dunno... Defense contractors, and many investment bankers. But... Though there are a few people like that, the vast majority of us don't earn our income through wealth transfers provided through government force.
“Despite a voluminous and often fervent literature on “income distribution,” the cold fact is that most income is not distributed: It is earned.” - Thomas Sowell (The Vision of the Anointed)Now, of course, one other argument I've heard a few times about this is the idea that "well, without government, we'd have no money!" So clearly - since government prints your money in the first place - without them, you wouldn't be paid at all.
Money wasn't invented by government, friends... I wish we all knew this, but few seem to. Money arose out of the quite understandable need to trade with other people easily and effectively. Direct barter is massively inconvenient. I think this needs no explanation. Money has been used by basically every society in human history. American Indians used it, South American peoples like Aztecs & Mayans used money, we have evidence that certain forms of money existed as long as 100,000 years ago, and commodity monies (like coins) existed at least 3,000 years ago in Mesopotamia.
So.. If you eliminated the entire US government today, we'd still have money. We'd still get paid for our work... and not in chickens.
Under almost no circumstances are your wages "given to you" by government in the first place. Wealth isn't "distributed". The government didn't invent the money and they didn't do anything (generally) to provide you with a productive job, and if they do employ you, please recognize that the only way they can do so is by first taking the money they pay you with away from other citizens or by printing new money and devaluing the currency.
But even if you haven't thought about it in a long while... Up is still up; forward is forward; and tax cuts are NOT A GIFT! Not for you, and not even for (most of) the rich people you might envy.* Government taking less from people is just that... less theft... and nothing more.
*Disclaimer: Some rich people do live off of government and did not become wealthy by providing a service or good that filled a market need by trading with people voluntarily. These are the people who used government force to redirect cash to their own pockets. I mentioned defense contractors and investment bankers... Defense contractors do not fill any market demand. You and I don't hire Blackwater or send them to go kill Arabs... Politicians do that, with or without our approval. Likewise, a giant reason for the increasing pay disparity in America has to do with the central bank (Federal Reserve) and the entire fractional reserve banking system. When money is printed by the Fed, that money first goes through the pockets of the top - read: well-connected - investment banks. They write the rules for that money's use, and they get to loan it back to individual debtors and to the American taxpayers collectively (by buying government debt) and collecting interest on all of it. They are also allowed to lend out money far in excess of what is actually stored in their "reserves" (thus "fractional reserve banking"), which means their comparative "wealth" (by which I mean, surplus money, not surplus stuff) can grow at immensely faster rates than anyone else's.
Consider: When you loan money to a friend, you can loan at a ratio of 1:1 and no more, whereas the common ratio for banks is 9:1 and at the height of the financial crisis, the five biggest banks were frequently loaning at 20, and even 30:1. In other words, if you only have $100, you can only loan out $100, but If a bank only has $100, it can commonly loan out $900 and reap the profits of $900 worth of interest with only $100 in reserves. They cover bad bets with guaranteed bailouts and passing off losses onto taxpayers via government backed organizations like the FDIC.
It's not just bankers & defense contractors though... It's also the money farmers get from subsidies, people who work in community action programs funded by government, and anyone who's livelihood is provided either by subsidy or protectionism.
It's very hard to separate these people from other rich people when talking about tax cuts, but it's necessary to set aside the wealth people acquire by government protection and special benefits vs. the wealth they acquire by producing and selling goods & services.... It is complicated, but an extremely important distinction to make. More on the wealth gap some other time.