Tuesday, May 5, 2009

No Haven Left

The Brain Drain

So, if I understand President Obama’s latest efforts at creative garnishment to feed the governments coffers correctly, he plans to hire over 800 new IRS analysts “to detect and pursue” money he feels should go to the American government instead of to the American companies that earned the money.
"Nobody likes paying taxes, particularly in times of economic stress," Obama said. "But most Americans meet their responsibilities because they understand that it's an obligation of citizenship, necessary to pay the costs of our common defense and our mutual well-being."
First, I find it appalling that Obama would use “common defense,” one of the legitimate powers of the federal government, in conjunction with the phrase “mutual well-being,” which seems to be community-organizer-speak for forced redistribution of wealth. It appears to be a transparent excuse to extort tax dollars to direct toward his unprecedentedly large welfare state programs.

Furthermore, in claiming that it is too easy for "a small number of individuals and companies to abuse overseas tax havens to avoid paying any taxes at all," Obama is ignoring the very real possibilities that changing the tax code will drive the remaining jobs, the corporate headquarters, and the high paying jobs, off shore as well. In brief, he is looking for short-term cash at the expense of long-term principle – something he has often accused Wall Street of doing.

Judgment Day

Beyond his short-sighted and potentially destructive plans, Obama said two things in that speech that flipped a switch in my mind about his abilities and his intentions as POTUS, resulting in an abrupt end to my wait-and-see, how-bad-could-it-be optimism.

The first was his gratuitous ingratiation of xenophobes, disgruntled union workers, and fear-mongering rednecks in his catch phrase about how the current tax system allows companies to "pay lower taxes if you create a job in Bangalore, India, than if you create one in Buffalo, N.Y." It is a clever word choice for garnering across-the-aisle support but it is done at the price of perpetuating dangerous protectionist ideology.

But it was the president’s dictatorial flouting of the law - "If financial institutions won't cooperate with us, we will assume that they are sheltering money in tax havens and act accordingly" - that sparks my use of the f-word.* That’s right – the word for the type of government that issues such threats against private citizens who do not surrender control of their property to the state is fascism. It appears Obama has found a domestic enemy upon whom he can flex his arbitrary political power with very little public outcry: the American businessman.

In this, our elected leader intends to violate the Constitution in order to allegedly protect our mutual well-being. This means that individuals who live in accordance with the rule of law are subjugated by a capricious government to serve the collective.

Plans for the Future

Since I live in Massachusetts, the thought of writing to my elected officials to complain about bad policies is about as appealing as banging my head against the wall. Not only would my efforts be wasted on those who are completely invested in the current administration for their continued employment and glory, but I would have to do it many times everyday, and that would hurt – a lot.

Instead I’ve decided to make a point to speak out about political issues when I can and continue to become better educated about the purpose, history, and function of the government. Those of us who understand that America is great because it was founded on the principles of individual rights and a government limited to protecting those individual rights must help to make it clear that excellent political leadership comes from those who not only recognize the prescribed law of the land, but also embrace its principles.

* A nod to Beth at Wealth Is Not the Problem for the expression.

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