March 11, 2009

Some More Tax Ranting - Go ahead roll your eyes

I am going to circle back around to taxes. This is crazy. I just paid my personal property taxes. I have an old Boat. It was new in 1989. So it is twenty years old now, the motor is twenty years old, and the trailer is twenty years old. I pay taxes on this every year. I bet that the boat sold in 1989 for less than $10,000. In the course of its lifetime I bet the taxes collected on it have been over that amount. Sales tax for the original purchaser, and then he paid taxes because he owned it for 11 or 12 years. Then I bought it. Sales taxes again, and now I have paid taxes to own it for the past 8 or so. Isn’t that great? I own something so I get to pay taxes on it. Awesome. I guess I could make the same amount of money I do now, and rent a house and lease a car and never pay personal property tax. But I am a dummy and I OWN something. ( I am being a little facetious I know full well my landlord would pass the property taxes on to me in the form of rent and so would the leasing agent on the car because Businesses do not Pay taxes.) I said something two sentences ago that made me have another thought. My wages are not profit, not income and should not be taxed. The founding fathers would have a fit over this. They foresaw taxation as something primarily that would come from tariffs and sales tax.
I know there you are rolling your eyes at me.
Ok let’s get in the “Way Back” Machine. Let’s say I am a Butcher and you are a Baker and we have a friend who is a Candlestick Maker and a guy down the block is a general scribe/artist type. We live before there was money, we don’t know anything about it. I just butchered a nice beef and I have some steaks, and you, the baker would like to have one of my fine looking steaks. Well I would like to have some bread to go with my steak. So you trade me one of my steaks for two loaves of bread. Who gained in that scenario? Who profited? Who won? Who lost? We traded straight across, and we were both happy with the trade so I would say it is even. An even Swap, if you will.
Now you take your steak back to your bakery and are waiting until later and the candlestick maker comes in, he wants some bread for supper and he spies my steak. So he trades you a half dozen candles for one loaf of bread. He comes to my shop and trades me a dozen candles for one nice steak. Same deal right? We all traded fair. Well the issue is I don’t need three dozen candles a day; but the candlestick maker would like to eat some meat a couple times a day anyway. So now we have a problem. Well I have been wanting a new sign for the butcher shop but I have not been able to make a trade with that sign painter/general scribe sort of guy…we will just call him scribe. Scribe does not want a half a beef, in fact he is a total vegetarian and grows all of his own food (says it is better for the environment, whatever that means) I tried to make a three way trade with the Baker, but that didn’t work either. Meanwhile the Candlestick maker is burying me in candles. Well the scribe would like the candles, but the candlestick maker doesn’t need any scribing done right now. So here is what we do. I make a deal with the scribe to hand paint my sign for 100 Dozen candles. I tell the candlestick maker that I will take the candles out in trade, but just let the scribe take them. I give the scribe a letter that says he is entitled to 100 Dozen Candles and I give the candlestick maker a letter saying he is going to trade 100 dozen candles to me, to be given to the scribe, for a certain quantity of meat. We just created money and credit.

NOW who came out ahead in that deal? Fast forward to today. I agree with my employer that 40 hours a week of my time is worth X. This is a fair trade. He pays me the equivalent in Dollars (candles) and I take these Dollars to the local merchant (lets say Barber) to trade for things I need. Who profited? I traded a portion of my time I spent working for my employer for some time of the Barber’s and we agreed to the price and we called it even. Where is the profit?
Now up to now we have been talking about either owner operators or service industries. Get it out of your mind that a business and a person are the same thing. I work for an employer. The business makes things; it adds value to the product. I am just a worker there trading the only thing I have…my time. I do not sell a product. I am just a part of the operation. The barber does not sell a product, he trades his time. Let’s go back to the olden days again. I am a butcher. I have to get my beef from someone; I get it from the Farmer. The farmer has a couple of cows and a bull. They doing what animals do make calves. Now something has been PRODUCED. Now we do not want to tax the farmer for OWNING these animals. But when he brings them to me for me to turn into steaks we have to make a deal. Now the farmer had two animals and they made three. That is PROFIT. Plus the farmer put a lot of his time into the animal which is wages. And the animal ate a lot which is also adding value to the total package, because I am not just buying a cow, I am buying a cow, the farmers time, all the grain the cow put to use making steaks that came to the farmer’s field, etc. This is a complex transaction and we agree on the price. Now from my end it is an even trade. But the farmer has profited because he took two something’s and made something else new. The government can levy a tax on that. Now the farmer is not a dummy he knows that a % of what he is getting for this cow is going to have to go to the government so he makes that part of the deal. … TA…DA it is a sales tax. See the only people who profit in this world are people who a) grow things b) add value to things that come out of the ground. Wages are NOT profit. Wages are Wages. The only things that should be taxed are businesses….ah ah ah you say….I said businesses do not pay taxes…and you are right they pass that on to the consumer in the form of a SALES tax. That is a CONSUMPTION tax.
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