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Posts Tagged ‘ethics’

Doug Casey Debunks Four Myths About Trump, Taxes, & The Economy | Zero Hedge

Posted by M. C. on October 4, 2020

As far as Trump minimizing his taxes, congratulations to him. The object should be to cut the size of the US government in half, and cut it in half again, and again. And along with it, cut the tax burden that it imposes on the average American.

Trump should be proud of himself for cutting his taxes. It’s your patriotic duty as an American citizen to deny revenue to the State and the kind of people that are drawn to it and populate it.

The fact that some people resent others for not paying taxes is just evidence that they’ve been consumed by the vice of envy, which is one of the worst of the vices.

https://www.zerohedge.com/personal-finance/doug-casey-debunks-four-myths-about-trump-taxes-economy

Profile picture for user Tyler Durden

by Tyler Durden

Via InternationalMan.com,

International Man: For many years, President Trump has made no apologies for trying to pay the least amount of taxes possible. He’s clearly stated this in many interviews.

His desire to minimize his taxes has brought scorn from many in the mainstream media, and politicians from both sides of the aisle. These people are of the opinion that paying taxes is an honorable and necessary responsibility. It brings to mind the wrongheaded saying “taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society”, which came from US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. Many people believe this.

But if that’s true, how come low tax locales like Singapore, the Cayman Islands, Monaco aren’t backward hell holes, but rather sophisticated and civilized?

Doug Casey: Almost any lie can be accepted as truth if it’s said often enough and with enough certainty. That absolutely applies to what Holmes said. It’s shameful how people don’t think about its meaning, but slavishly repeat it.

Taxes aren’t the price we pay for civilized society. They’re a sign of the fact that society is becoming uncivilized. A civilized society is based on voluntarism. Taxes are all about coercion.

People don’t seem to recognize or remember that before 1913 there was no income tax in the US. There was no reporting of any kind to the US government. It was a much more civilized and far freer country then.

As far as Trump minimizing his taxes, congratulations to him. The object should be to cut the size of the US government in half, and cut it in half again, and again. And along with it, cut the tax burden that it imposes on the average American.

Trump should be proud of himself for cutting his taxes. It’s your patriotic duty as an American citizen to deny revenue to the State and the kind of people that are drawn to it and populate it.

The fact that some people resent others for not paying taxes is just evidence that they’ve been consumed by the vice of envy, which is one of the worst of the vices. Jealousy says “if you have something that I want, I’ll try to take it from you, just because I want it.” Envy says “if you have something that I want, and I can’t take it from you, I’ll destroy it and hurt you.”

It’s speaks poorly of the ethics of the average American, that they’ll self-righteously shame their neighbors for not paying “enough” taxes to the State.

International Man: We often hear from politicians and the media that some people aren’t paying their “fair share” in taxes. Who gets to define what “fair” is, and based on what justifications?

Doug Casey: Whenever you hear the word fair, start running the other way. Everybody has a different idea of what’s “fair”— it’s an arbitrary concept. People manipulate its definition to their advantage. The only way to determine what might be fair is voluntary mutual agreement. That’s not possible with taxes—there’s no voluntarism involved. They are, in fact, a levy enforced at the point of a gun.

The most creative and productive people tend to have the highest incomes—unless they’re crony capitalists, which means they’re basically using the government to steal from everybody else.

Productive people shouldn’t be penalized for supplying more goods and services to their neighbors—to the market. The money they give to the government in taxes would have otherwise been used to create more wealth for the whole world. When it’s taken from them by taxes it’s mostly squandered on welfare and warfare.

The bottom half of the US really doesn’t pay any income tax. They only pay Social Security taxes, roughly a flat 15%. It’s theoretically a pension program, although in fact it’s a Ponzi scheme. Social Security is bankrupt. If anyone gets it in the years to come it will be at the expense of future taxpayers—not because any capital has been set aside.

Social Security is, and always has been, a swindle. It makes it harder for people to save on their own. And makes them feel they don’t have to. But it’s not a real pension plan; it’s a highly politicized welfare program. People have been propagandized into believing not just what isn’t true, but actually believing the opposite of the truth. The situation is actually pretty hopeless from a philosophical point of view and it’s getting worse. The average American believes Social Security and the income tax are both moral and necessary.

International Man: Doesn’t this system—which diverts wealth from productive use into government, which is naturally unproductive—make everyone worse off? You would think the lower and middle classes would be clamoring for more wealth creation that would also benefit them. Instead, many are asking for more wealth to be destroyed.

It seems this sort of thinking helps solidify a backwards system.

Doug Casey: Absolutely. The US government and its welfare programs are actually cementing the lower classes to the bottom of society.

You get what you encourage. When you give people free money for doing nothing, that’s what they’ll do. Take personal responsibility away from a man, and he’ll tend to act irresponsibly. The next step seems to be a guaranteed annual income for everybody where—presumably—where everybody can just sit around Starbucks all day sipping latte and playing with their iPhones, and be paid for it.

This trend has been building almost 100 years, and the curve is starting to go parabolic. To use a fashionable word, it’s “unsustainable” for everyone to try living at the expense of everyone else.

International Man: Another misnomer we often hear is that “deficits don’t matter”, a saying popularized by Dick Cheney, an ostensible fiscal conservative.

Doug Casey: Well, deficits do matter. In order to become wealthy you have to produce more than you consume and save the difference. Saving the difference builds capital. And you need capital to create more wealth.

Countries without capital are poor. Places like Zimbabwe, Cuba, and Mauritania. The only capital they have is sticks and stones.

The US government is in effect training people to consume more than they produce. Now, you can do that in basically two ways. One, by borrowing capital that’s been saved and created in the past, and consuming it. Or, two, you can do it by mortgaging your future.

It’s not a pro-survival policy to consume more than you produce. It’s possible for a while, of course, but will wind up in disaster. The US government is encouraging people to do just that, however, directly and indirectly.

International Man: Yet another misguided, yet popular, saying is that we shouldn’t worry about the national debt because “we owe it to ourselves.” What’s your take Doug?

Doug Casey: It’s another glib, gigantic, lie. “We” don’t owe it to ourselves. Some people owe it to some other people. If it’s not paid back somebody is going to walk away disappointed.

In fact, most of the debt is owed to non-Americans. Directly, in the form of the national debt. And indirectly, in the form of US dollars outside the US. For many years the major export of the US hasn’t been Boeings, or IBMs, or wheat. It’s been US dollars. We run a trade deficit of about $800 billion every year. In exchange, foreigners send us electronics, Mercedes, cocaine, and other real goods. This has artificially propped up the average American’s standard of living.

Those dollars circulate in other countries; the US dollar is the de facto currency of 50 other countries around the world.

At some point—since the US dollar is backed by nothing—if confidence goes away, those foreigners are going to want to get rid of their dollars. They’ll necessarily come back to the US where legal tender laws force Americans to accept them.

There are many trillions of dollars that are now abroad are a liability. Someday they’re going to be traded for US shares of stock, US real estate, US technology, and US labor.

Americans, who have grown accustomed to an artificially high standard of living for many years, are going to have a very real drop in their standard of living when those dollars come home.

We’re sending dollars to the Chinese and other foreigners. We’re also selling US government debt to the Federal Reserve, which then credits the government’s accounts at commercial banks with dollars. But that’s another story. It’s all a moving paper fantasy. It’s going to end badly, and end soon.

It could easily destroy everybody’s savings. And that, in turn, could destroy the very basis of society.

*  *  *

The days of the US Dollar as the reserve currency are numbered. When that happens, the US will experience an economic crisis unlike we’ve seen before. The window to prepare yourself is still open. That’s why Doug’s Casey and his team have created this urgent new report on what to expect and how to protect yourself. Click here to download it now.

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bionic mosquito: Plain Thinking

Posted by M. C. on July 22, 2020

Men are fallen, and will remain fallen. That is a right view of the human lot. All fall short of whatever standard of “good” a man of integrity can offer. The rioters demand that we purge all sin from man – taking on a wrong view of the human lot.

Jesus demonstrated love. Yes, He washed Peter’s feet; he also called him Satan. This was love.

https://bionicmosquito.blogspot.com/2020/07/plain-thinking.html

Plain Thinking

…a little plain thinking would teach them how harsh and fanciful are the mass of their own ethics…

Heretics, Gilbert K. Chesterton (eBook)

Harsh and fanciful. A nice description of the “ethics” we are having shoved down our throats. Nothing of love, nothing of understanding the human condition, nothing or man’s right – true rights of life and property.

…how very civilized and very complicated must be the brain of the Tolstoyan who really believes it to be evil to love one’s country and wicked to strike a blow.

To love one’s country. An interesting phrase. To understand the phrase, one must understand what is meant by “love” and what is meant by “country.”

Love. Love is doing; it is action. Also, we all know 1 Corinthians 13, read at many weddings. It offers the feel-good part of love. Just one verse, to not make too long a cite:

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

The entire tone is like this. It is really…lovely. Aspirational. An ideal at which to aim. But love is so much more:

Proverbs 3: 11 My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, 12 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.

Hebrews 12 cites these verses from Proverbs, then continues:

7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.

If you are not disciplined, you are not loved. Love entails disciplining, rebuking. Love holds to account. To love one’s country is not “my country, right or wrong.” There is no disciplining here, no rebuke.

What of country?

A country is a political state, nation, or controlled territory. It is often referred to as the land of an individual’s birth, residence, or citizenship.

A country may be an independent sovereign state or part of a larger state….

The word originates from the French:

mid-13c., “(one’s) native land;” c. 1300, “any geographic area,” sometimes with implications of political organization, from Old French contree, cuntrede “region, district, country,”

While today it is generally assumed to be synonymous with a political entity (a state), this has not always been true – and is not even true today. Examples today include:

The Kingdom of the Netherlands includes four separate countries: Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten.

The United Kingdom includes England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The Crown Dependencies, which are not part of the UK itself, are also sometimes referred to as countries.

The Kingdom of Denmark includes three separate countries: Denmark, Faroe Islands, and Greenland.

There are others. “Country” holds a much more cultural and regional connotation than it does a political connotation. Country does not mean government; it does not mean state. I may love my country and feel animosity toward the institutions that have formal governance responsibility over it. Sounds about right.

Putting all of this together, to love one’s country involves acting with goodwill (including holding to account) toward those with whom you share cultural characteristics and regional ties. In this case, one can understand the evil in those who do not love country.

Returning to Chesterton:

A man approaches, wearing sandals and simple raiment, a raw tomato held firmly in his right hand, and says, “The affections of family and country alike are hindrances to the fuller development of human love;” but the plain thinker will only answer him, with a wonder not untinged with admiration, “What a great deal of trouble you must have taken in order to feel like that.”

Chesterton then contrasts the high living from the plain thinking that is the result of thinking like this:

High living will reject the tomato. Plain thinking will equally decisively reject the idea of the invariable sinfulness of war.

I had much trouble with this until I worked through a proper meaning of loving one’s country. In defense of one’s country, war is not invariably sinful. In defense of one’s state? Virtually always; at least given the historic examples we have where “defense” really meant “offense.”

High living will convince us that nothing is more materialistic than to despise a pleasure as purely material. And plain thinking will convince us that nothing is more materialistic than to reserve our horror chiefly for material wounds.

Material wounds in defense of one’s country are minor horrors for those who love their country. Losing that which one loves is a much greater horror.

Conclusion

In this matter, then, as in all the other matters treated in this book, our main conclusion is that it is a fundamental point of view, a philosophy or religion which is needed, and not any change in habit or social routine.

We live in a story, a narrative: “a fundamental point of view, a philosophy or religion.” This is what makes a country, and it is this which one can love: embrace, discipline, rebuke, defend to the point of war.

The things we need most for immediate practical purposes are all abstractions. We need a right view of the human lot, a right view of the human society….

Men are fallen, and will remain fallen. That is a right view of the human lot. All fall short of whatever standard of “good” a man of integrity can offer. The rioters demand that we purge all sin from man – taking on a wrong view of the human lot.

Jesus demonstrated love. Yes, He washed Peter’s feet; he also called him Satan. This was love.

Epilogue

Chesterton concludes this chapter with a thought quite appropriate for today:

Men take thought and ponder rationalistically, touching remote things—things that only theoretically matter, such as the transit of Venus. But only at their peril can men rationalize about so practical a matter as health.

We are pondering too much about our health right now. It is perilous.

Posted by bionic mosquito

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