Showing posts with label taxes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label taxes. Show all posts

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Benjamin Franklin v Bundy

I've been thinking about cattleman Cliven Bundy's recent anti American rant and what it reveals about the warped views of American history it reflects.

Bundy and his Tea Party and Libertarian supporters envision America as some kind of historical anarchy. Laws are apparently tyranny in his view. And everything he has he did entirely on his own.

Benjamin Franklin, without whom we may not have ever achieved independence, had an entirely different view of property and taxes. Here is what he wrote in 1783:


CHAPTER 16 | Document 12
Benjamin Franklin to Robert Morris
25 Dec. 1783Writings 9:138 The Remissness of our People in Paying Taxes is highly blameable; the Unwillingness to pay them is still more so. I see, in some Resolutions of Town Meetings, a Remonstrance against giving Congress a Power to take, as they call it, the People's Money out of their Pockets, tho' only to pay the Interest and Principal of Debts duly contracted. They seem to mistake the Point. Money, justly due from the People, is their Creditors' Money, and no longer the Money of the People, who, if they withold it, should be compell'd to pay by some Law.
All Property, indeed, except the Savage's temporary Cabin, his Bow, his Matchcoat, and other little Acquisitions, absolutely necessary for his Subsistence, seems to me to be the Creature of public Convention. Hence the Public has the Right of Regulating Descents, and all other Conveyances of Property, and even of limiting the Quantity and the Uses of it. All the Property that is necessary to a Man, for the Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is his natural Right, which none can justly deprive him of: But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other Laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support of it.

The Founders' Constitution
Volume 1, Chapter 16, Document 12
The University of Chicago Press

The Writings of Benjamin Franklin. Edited by Albert Henry Smyth. 10 vols. New York: Macmillan Co., 1905--7.
Easy to print version.

© 1987 by The University of Chicago
All rights reserved. Published 2000

Friday, July 12, 2013

Monday, March 25, 2013

Senate Bill 58 - Boat Registration Fees

A few days ago I posted an item on Senate Bill 58, cosponsored by State Senator Norm Sanderson. The bill will vastly increase boat registration fees in North Carolina.

The bill raises questions about just what is meant by representation in a democracy. In a different context, Senator Sanderson has explained that he "represents all of the people of North Carolina." I think that constitutes a misunderstanding of "representation." It may be true that Sanderson is paid by the people of North Carolina. In that sense, he works for them. But he represents the voters of his senate district, who elected him to this office, whether they voted for him or against him.

Oriental resident Jim Barton has published an eloquent letter to Senator Sanderson raising a number of good questions about Senate Bill 58. Captain Barton, who has also spoken in opposition to ferry tolls for our commuter ferries, is a Republican who voted for Sanderson. But his comment is pointed: "We want a State Senator who, in fact, represents our interests and communicates with his constituency." He urges the Senator to communicate more clearly with his constituents.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Who Pays?

Nice Chart From Ezra Klein's WonkBlog. I think there is an error in the legend: "20-60 percentile" should be "20-40 percentile."

Monday, December 3, 2012

Who Benefits And Who Pays: Fiscal Cliff Version

At last, House Republicans have made a counteroffer to the President's proposal. That's the good news. The bad news is that they still speak in vague generalities. Hard to score those.

It was already clear that the proposal intends to reduce federal assistance to states for safety net programs. Republicans also want to do away with deductibility of state and local taxes. Just incidentally, this would hurt blue states in particular. So pay careful attention.