Kopp Column: You’re Working For The Government

I_Want_Your_Money_UncleSam

I pay my taxes – do you?

That makes me a government employee and you are, too.

Conservatives share at least five beliefs about taxes paid to the U.S. Government.

Conservatives belief #1– law-abiding citizens pay what is owed – no more, no less. That’s why you’re a government employee today. You’re working to pay what you owe. It’s constitutional.

“The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.” — 16th Amendment U.S. Constitution.

The average American works 220 days a year, more or less. Dairy farmers work 365 days a year; others don’t work at all.

People in a lower income tax bracket, say 16%, before they get paid, the U.S. Government takes its 16% share first. It’s called withholding.

That means 16% of your work time pays what the government will take from you. If you’re in the 16% tax bracket you work until mid-February to cover what the government takes in a year. If you’re in the 20% tax bracket, you’ll work until March to cover what the government takes. (In reality, it’s worse than that. The Tax Foundation calculates Tax Freedom Day which includes taxes at various government levels “hidden” taxes and fees buried in the cost of living. In 2012 that was April 17.)

Now at the beginning of the year, you are exchanging your labor, the goods and services you produce to get money from your employer, your customers, or your income source to cover what the government takes. Just as in a medieval feudal system, the King or Lord is confiscating your property for the privilege to live under their rule.

Conservative belief #2 – Taxes are confiscatory; the government confiscates your earnings, your private property. Your income is your private property. It’s what you are given in exchange for the goods or services you produce.

In Minnesota, repeat drunk drivers are punished by confiscating the driver’s vehicle. If you choose to drive drunk you could get your vehicle confiscated as part of the punishment. What did you do to prompt the government to confiscate the first part of your income, your personal property? Your productivity is punished by confiscating the first share of your earnings.

Conservatives belief #3 – INCOME taxes are not inevitable, but taxes are. Tax free municipal bonds are a way to pay for a project. A municipality “borrows” money from people who buy the bonds and repays them with interest. The interest is income tax free. Otherwise, the municipality would raise taxes in its jurisdiction to pay for a project. It repays the loan with interest by collecting another kind of taxes — several years’ property taxes or other local income streams. It’s income tax free, but not property tax free.

A second way taxes are not inevitable is favoritism. It’s not fair, but it’s true. Ask Joe the Plumber. After he asked Mr. Obama a challenging question in 2008’s campaign, his taxes were investigated. It’s not just Democrats who do this. Martin Luther King jr. was also investigated by Republicans.

Meanwhile admitted tax cheats such as Mr. Obama’s Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner are not investigated for the tax fraud. That favoritism is conservative belief four.

Conservative belief #4 – Taxes are not fair. They are used discriminatorily to punish or to reward those who either please or displease the ruling government. Joe the Plumber is punished, Secretary Geithner is not.

What’s the solution? What drives this need to confiscate more of your property? It’s a spending issue. Right now, if you’re part of a family of four, the government will confiscate nearly $1.5 million just to pay what the Government has already spent! Already spent! What could you do with that $1.5 million?

What are some solutions? Many believe in a flat tax and there are no convincing arguments against a flat tax system. It works. Just ask Russia, a country that erased part of its national debt with a flat tax.

Another solution is to get personal. That means right now, start keeping track of how newly-elected Congressman Cramer and Senator Heitkamp spend your money. Then, question them on each expenditure. Hold them accountable.

Another personal solution is to make tax confiscation personal. If you’re a wage earner, before you get your paycheck, your taxes are confiscated. Payday produces a groan, “Wow. The government took a big chunk.” Nothing more is thought about it because the confiscation is impersonal. We’ve been persuaded that the government has an unlimited claim to any money we earn.

Tax payments should be made personal. We’ve become numb. Abolish withholding. On payday, write a check for what the government would have withheld. The check must precede the check you write for your mortgage, rent, credit cards, groceries, medicine or day care. If not, you will be penalized at the same rate as a payday loan at the local pawn shop — an annual percentage rate of several hundred percent. You will feel how much Cramer or Heitkamp confiscates from you. You will feel your freedom flowing out with the ink that writes that check.

Fact: either your freedoms will continue to be reduced as your personal property is taken – or government spending must be reduced. Which do you think will happen, a miracle?

Patrick Henry: “Where and when did freedom exist, when the sword and purse were given up from the people? Unless a miracle in human affairs interposed, no nation ever retained its liberty after the loss of the sword and the purse.”

Mike Kopp has exercised his political muscle as a media director to two statewide campaigns, a television political reporter, a lobbyist, and staff assistant to the Senate Majority Leader. He is currently a communications contractor working from his home in Wilton, ND.

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  • mickey_moussaoui

    just look at Washington DC……..3% unemploymnet, all the businesses are open, no boarded up buildings, all the gov workers are better paid than the private sector….You really DO work for the government

  • sbark

    Its worse than that as Bill Whittle aptly points out…….we, at the whim of virtually any level of govt can be pointed out as criminals—with all the laws and regs (80,000 pages per year). Studies show every “professional person” likely committs on ave. 3 felonies per year without knowing it……..

    As Whittle says, its like a 3rd world system of govt—pay your way out under the table–the chicago way. The Rule of Law means nothing to any dem’cat, as they fully condone and vote for this over and over.

    Bill Whittle:http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=UeGGs6642O8

  • http://realitybasedbob.sayanythingblog.com/ realitybasedbob

    I pay my taxes – do you?

    That makes me a government employee and you are, too.

    Mr. Mike, if you’re doing the paying, doesn’t that make you the employer?

    • ellinas1

      Good Morning Bob.
      Please do not point the obvious and confuse the poor soul.
      He struggled hard throughout this post, and still does not make any sense.

      • http://realitybasedbob.sayanythingblog.com/ realitybasedbob

        Good morning, E.
        If these nutters don’t want to be part of America, why don’t they just leave?

        • Mike

          Where in the world did you get the idea that those whom you call “netters” don’t want to be part of America!? That assumption does not speak well of your reasoning ability. I can only speak for myself, and that is I want to be part of America — not the America that has been warped and twisted by situational ethicist who hold ambiguous morals, who are more interested in self-satisfaction and whatever feels good, than in the things that define America.
          I am all for being part of America — as defined, not as warped.

          • mike

            er, um, “nutters.”

          • ellinas1

            In conclusion Mr. Mike you want an America based on what you believe America should look like.
            Well, Mr Mike, I got some news for you. Welcome to America, where every citizen’s opinion as to what America should look like is welcome, but none of those opinions matter, as the collective opinion of us all is expressed through our political system.

        • mickey_moussaoui

          You never belonged to America. You are the parasite on the outside looking in

        • ellinas1

          Bangladesh is waiting for them.
          It is a conservative’s paradise. No department of education, no EPA, no labor standards, the boss makes the rules as necessary, work hours are from sun-up to sundown, the pay is a pittance (remember the boss makes the rules), liberals are not tolerated and get this…..they have an official state sponsored religion for the founders of Bangladesh were a religious lot.

      • Mike

        Ellinas, thank you for your thoughtful input. You are obviously a gentleman and a scholar.

        • ellinas1

          Mr. Mike, you’re welcome.
          Thank you for all the thoughtful and nice things you write about liberals. You are obviously a gentleman and a scholar.
          Keep up the good fight.

      • HG

        You do know the difference in paying taxes and paying employees, don’t you? Taxes are confiscated, payroll is a free mutual exchange of labor for money.
        Don’t expect you’d honestly acknowledge the difference. But the difference is significant.

        • ellinas1

          I like your ideas about taxation.

          I don’t use police services the DoD,(I have an arsenal for my self defense), the courts, the prisons, the patent office, the roads and highways (I recently purchased a helicopter). Prior to that I was using my boat to go to work and run my errands. I have no use for the post office, the airports, the fire dpartment (I have insurance). I have no need for sewers, garbage pick up,as I have dug a hole in my back yard, and all my liquid and solid refuse goes there, I don’t need municipal water (I have a well), as a matter of fact I don’t need anything the government provides. Them assholes are confiscating my money for shit I don’t need or use. Damn! What am I to do? Maybe I will move to Bangladesh, to avoid the confiscatory powers of the USA.

          • HG

            Can’t agree so you construct a straw man?

          • ellinas1

            Agree on what? That the taxes are not voluntary?
            They have never been, nor they will ever be.
            I agree that you you have a right to complain about exessive taxation.
            I believe that you are wrong to moan and groan about certain taxes and not others.
            I believe our government spends too much on the wrong things, such as maintaining a vast military machine in support of our hegemony and empire.
            I believe we spend too much on supporting countries like Egypt, Israel, Greece, Turkey, Pakistan etc. No more foreign aid.
            I believe in not spending a goddam penny of taxpayer money to prop up dictators and puppet governments at the behest of our multinational corporations.

          • HG

            That taxes aren’t voluntary, among other things, distinguishes gov’ts relationship to its citizens from the voluntary exchange of labor for income known as employment.

          • ellinas1

            And? I fail to understand where you are going with this, or what you are getting at. What is it exactly that you are advocating?

            May I remind you the whiskey rebellion that is the tax protest in the United States which began in 1791, during the presidency of George Washington?
            The government of the USA was/is confiscating income and or collecting taxes under the threat of violence against it’s citizens from the get-go.

          • HG

            Not doing away with all taxes as you seem to have miraculously read into my comments.

            Limited Federal gov’t. is what conservatives advocate. Not one that uses every excuse it can imagine to restrict, regulate, tax and control its citizens. Not one that requires more and more of Americans labor to pay for its addiction to spending and unquenchable thirst for power.

            http://taxfoundation.org/tax-topics/tax-freedom-day

          • ellinas1

            HG: “… and unquenchable thirst for power.”

            I believe our government spends vast amounts of taxpayer money on the wrong things, such as maintaining a vast military machine in support of our hegemony and empire.
            I believe we spend too much on supporting countries like Egypt, Israel, Greece, Turkey, Pakistan etc. No more foreign aid.
            I believe in not spending a goddam penny of taxpayer money to prop up dictators and puppet governments at the behest of our multinational corporations. Operation PBSUCCESS in Guatemala, operation AJAX in Iran, and many more others come to mind.
            The lame excuses used back in the 1950’s, were more than likely used to invade and dominate Iraq and control that country’s natural resources.

          • HG

            Well, you’d probably get an agreement out of me on some of that.
            I’d add that much of gov’t spending and taxation actually does more harm than good.

          • ellinas1

            Well at least we agree on some things.
            What part would you do not agree with?

            See liberals are not that bad after all.
            They have their opinions just as conservatives do.

          • HG

            For starters America is no Emprire.
            .

          • ellinas1

            OK! America is not an empire.
            Keep going, what else you don’ t agree with?

          • ellinas1

            Your link provides nothing new, and mostly represents the conservative dislike of social program spending.
            Absent from the charts is what it costs us to maintain our military superiority, hegemony, and neocolonialist empire.

          • HG

            It proves Americans work more every year to pay for the ever increasing size and scope of our gov’t.

          • banjo kid

            So that is what is wrong with you you are drinking garbage water , you are contaminating the water with your liquid refuse and pure garbage . Do you also have a dung hole next to the well?

    • Mike

      The reward for my efforts goes to the government, and therefore I am working for the government. I do not keep that which I have earned. I earn it for the government. Like a laborer on a farm who sows seed, it is the owner of the farm, not the laborer who reaps the reward because the laborer works for the owner of the farm.

      • http://realitybasedbob.sayanythingblog.com/ realitybasedbob

        If you don’t like America’s constitutional taxation, why do you stay here?

        • Mike

          I guess you skipped belief #1 Conservatives belief #1– law-abiding citizens pay what is owed – no more, no less.

          • Mike

            Mature people do things they don’t like, such as pay taxes, because it is the right thing to do.

        • Mike

          Why do I stay? Because I love America. It’s the best nation on earth. Children and immature adults run away or use escape tactics such as drugs and alcohol to try to avoid the reality of things they don’t like.

        • Mike

          I noticed this week a list of Obama supporters who have either denounced their U.S. Citizenship, moved away, or moved their bank accounts off shore to avoid paying higher taxes. Some Obama supporters such as Costco and WaPo paid their bonuses early to avoid the higher taxes. I guess some people just aren’t grown up enough to do the right thing.
          Oh, and add Al Gore to the list –selling Current TV to Al Jazeeera with a hurry-up effort to avoid higher taxes after Jan 1, 2013.

  • Neiman

    I agree, paying taxes or having those taxes confiscated by force by the States does, in my humble opinion, make one a government employee. It also makes us victims of the insatiable lust for power and wealth by our elected officials – the ruling class, thus it makes us serfs: What is a serf? ” A member of the lower class, people attached to the land owned
    by a lord (political ruling class) and required to perform labor in return for certain legal or
    customary rights. A person in bondage or servitude.

    So, I rejoice in saying the liberals below are wrong, we are no better than sharecroppers, really field darkies of old, allowed to live on the welfare plantation as long as we provide the upper classes (political ruling class) the money by our labors to expand their estates by involuntary servitude to the State. Just like those old time cotton pickers, if we do not pay ever increasing amounts, the State will punish us with fines and prison and even deny us a right to live.

    Yes, on the surface it may appear to some we are still a nation of, by and for the people, making us the boss, the owners; but, the liberals have so twisted that around, while leaving that false impression in place to appease the peasants that, we are no better than serfs working for the State.

    • Mike

      The reward for my efforts goes to the government, and therefore I am
      working for the government. I do not keep that which I have earned. I
      earn it for the government. Like a laborer on a farm who sows seed, it
      is the owner of the farm, not the laborer who reaps the reward because
      the laborer works for the owner of the farm.

  • Roy_Bean

    If we have the belief that we work for the government then that makes the government our boss. The fact is that we as citizens own several enterprises. We own our city, our county, our state and our nation. We, as owners, hire people to manage (govern) these enterprises. The United States of America is actually the largest co-op (owned by the people they serve) in North America.

    This large co-op is failing financially and to understand why you need only look at smaller co-ops that are financially sound. Cenex (Farmers Union Central Exchange) has instituted rules that if you are not an agricultural producer you can’t be a voting member of their co-op. You can be a member, you can get dividends on your purchases, you earn an ownership interest in the company which is retired (paid out to you) when you turn 70 but you have no say in the operation of the co-op.

    The United States of America has rules that if you show up at the polls you can vote. The managers (who work for us) have said that it is unfair to even ask for an ID before you vote. On a local scale we can understand that we can’t let every employee of every custom combine crew decide the direction and financial decisions of our local co-ops but these same Farmer”s Union democrats vote for the likes of Heidi Heitkamp who supports the insanity of the national democrat party when they say that we can’t ask for a photo ID to vote for congress and the president.

    No organization could survive for long if it was run the way our government is run now and, sadly, neither will our government. We are on a downward spiral that can only end in a crash unless we do something to change direction.

  • SusanBeehler

    It takes a person’s income to pay a tax no matter if the tax is on your property or the goods you buy, all taxes take part of your income, they are all indirectly or directly taxes on your income.

    • Mike

      As you know, I have no problem paying an entity who helps keep the value of my property where it is. I have no problem paying for the water, sewer and garbage service. I have no problem paying for police and fire protection. I have no problem paying for the paved streets that replaced the gravel roads. I have no problem paying for that which I directly receive from my local government, including schools, parks and city services. I have no problem with property taxes. I am receiving a direct return for my payment. In fact, the few hundred dollars I pay returns far more than what I pay.

      • SusanBeehler

        Oh so you want those services to only come from property tax? Most property taxes do not even cover half of those services you listed, it is subsidized from the other taxes paid. Where do you think the rest of the money comes from? It comes down from the state and the feds from all the other taxes collected. All taxes come from our income, unless you are printing your own money.

      • ellinas1

        So what do you have a problem paying for?

    • Neiman

      By the way, off topic – I wanted to say that our passionate disagreements aside, I am very glad seeing you and a few other, less frequent at posting, females commenting here, mixing it up and bringing other gender perspectives to this blog. It was getting far to male dominated and involves far too many male pissing contests, versus open, honest and civil debates. You and I do not agree on many things, but I just wanted to say IMO your are a welcome breath of fresh air. Keep fighting!

    • banjo kid

      It is double taxation if the money you bought something with is taxed first then taxed again when you pay tax on property . That was the reason for deductions so you could recoup some of the taxes paid the second time but now they want to take the deduction away . It is true it is all taxes and actually it is taxed to many times , the same money .

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