Karen Brooks: Taxed Enough Already – Apri 14, 2011

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Constitution’s First Amendment provides for the governed to petition their government for a redress of grievances, especially when those grievances have been inflicted to the extent of causing injury or hardship. The Constitutional Dictionary defines redress (verb) 1. To set right, remedy or rectify. 2. To make amends for.

The grievance that is crippling our rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness (our ability to prosper) is chronic fiscal irresponsibility. There is no legitimate reason for the people elected to represent their constituents to enslave them with billions of dollars of debt and nearly half a trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities. This April 15, patriots across the state and nation are standing together to petition our government, “We’re T.E.A. – taxed enough already!”

Voters may be more likely to support a temporary local tax but reject sending any more money to Sacramento. Now that Jerry Brown cannot sell his tax hikes the unions will take up the fight. The California Federation of Teachers is pitching a one percent tax on personal income above $500,000 with two-thirds of the estimated $1.5 billion directed to schools.

Without the necessary structural reform the taxpayer’s burden has reached a tipping point. The Sacramento Bee reported that the Franchise Tax Board claimed the top one percent of earners provided nearly 43 percent of the state’s personal income tax revenue in 2008. High earners will leave the state and take their money with them if this type of targeting continues.

California has the second highest tax index in the country and our Legislators would like it to be higher. The State Business Tax Climate Index, a measure of how each state’s tax laws affect economic performance, ranks California 49th out of 50 for the sales tax index, 48th for individual income tax index, and 33rd for the corporate tax index, with the overall index at 49th. Being first in the index means the people in that state have lower taxes and are therefore more prosperous.

Another indicator of the cost of our government is Tax Freedom Day, the day when we’ve earned enough to pay this year’s tax obligations at the federal, state and local levels. On the 106th day of 2011, April 16, Californians’ burden will be met. From Jan. 1 to April 16, all the wealth we create from our labor belongs to our government.

Sadly, this doesn’t include the mounting debt. California costs two days more than last year with only four states working longer for taxes: Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Maryland.

For government to operate it must print or coerce the funds it spends. Government cannot create wealth; it must extract capital from people to exist. The money government takes removes the opportunity to create wealth for ourselves, other people and the communities we live in.

The choices this state makes forces us to work longer than 46 states and our debt continues climb. Patriots across the state pay their fair share of taxes. When will our Legislature restore fiscal responsibility without creating more taxes? The structural reform that should have started decades ago must begin today.

On Friday, April 15, taxpayers are invited to stand shoulder-to-shoulder at the Courthouse from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.. If we are ever going to stop our tax tyranny we must address our government. April 15 is that day – not to demand that our government spend more- but demand our government spend only what it receives, pay down the debt, and save for the liabilities it promised. We must provide a better future for the next generation.

Karen Brooks lives in Bayside and was the 2010 First District State Assembly candidate. She advocates for everyday Americans concerned about the loss of their liberty from big government and is writing a series of essays explaining the patriot movement’s position on fiscal responsibility.


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9 Responses to “Karen Brooks: Taxed Enough Already – Apri 14, 2011”

  1. Mike Seeber

    Actually, I don’t feel that I’m overtaxed at all, and I am in a higher tax bracket than many folks. I get a nice fat refund every year since I have the privilege of being able to deduct the interest on my mortgage. I do feel that far too much tax money is wasted on defense, and if we slashed that in half (at least), we could probably solve most of our fiscal problems without raising taxes or cutting other programs.

  2. Sodium Fluoride is great stuff…government claims 50% of California taxpayers’ earnings and they don’t feel overtaxed at all. Hmm, if we double the dose, can we take it all? Aluminum manufacturing byproduct, Sodium Fluoride, may be more profitable than the aluminum itself. Adolf Hitler only wanted to spend less on guards in concentration camps, I bet he never thought of this.

  3. 45% of American pay zero income tax.

    “The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.” — Albert Einstein, physicist
    (source: http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=110483,00.html)

  4. RT

    Aren’t personal income taxes at, or close to, an all-time low? Funny how folks on the right seem to forget that 8 years of Bush-Cheney ran the US from a surplus created in the Clinton years to record deficits. They seem to just put all the blame on Obama. Also, I love their reverence for Reagan when he raised taxes six times during his presidency. Oh yeah, along with negoiating with terrorists.

  5. Yes, you’re right. Obama did lower taxes, and that’s a fact.

    While we need fiscal watchdogs to sound the alarm about deficits, the Tea Party lost its way when it became a party. Because then it had a doctrine, and like all parties everywhere, it has to cherrypick information to support that doctrine.

    Having talked to the Tea Partiers on several occasions, I found that they are quite voluble when espousing the comfortable rhetorical line. Ask about the previous administration’s profligate ways though, and for some reason they can’t acknowledge that big spending didn’t start with Obama. They make what seems to be a universal gesture of avoidance by humans, one that I’ve encountered before on asking True Believers fairly obvious questions they can’t answer without denting their doctrine – they look down at the ground and kind of chuckle, maybe make a quip and look away.

  6. Robert Benson

    I regret not being able to find the more detailed study on the subject, however, http://www.cato.org/pubs/briefs/bp-015.html gives you an idea, keep in mind the example is an average and California is ranked 49th out of 50, One (1) being the least taxed. The key point being all federal, state, and local taxes (not just federal income taxes) are calculated. Think about it, driver’s license; registration; sales tax; property tax; state and local income taxes (mind you, only the sales tax is constitutional, unless you are a corporation).
    Discriminating (taxing only the rich) is unAmerican and creates animosity between classes of People.
    Einstein, The hard thing to understand about the income tax is it’s “constitutionality”, due to the lack thereof (again, unless you are a corporation).
    Now, I admit, some folks on the right do overlook the Zionist Bush-Cheney regime’s historic “failures”/conspiracies and blame Obama for all sorts of things, however, the Ron Paul Republican Tea Partiers are another matter. We oppose war, without Congressional declaration of war, and having American boots on the ground in foreign countries, during times of peace. Cutting those two excesses would dramatically change the budget/deficit outlook. If you, kevpod, wish to sling some more rhetorical mud, please, sling it my way, next time. I like getting dirty!

  7. RT,
    You, apparently, forgot about (Nancy) Reagan’s War on Drugs, while the Vice-President Bush was engaging in the Cocaine trade (see Iran-Contra Affair).

  8. Michael Bickford

    Dear Eye,

    I take exception to Karen Brooks’ use of the word patriot (Eye, 4/13) to describe people petitioning for redress of their grief at having to pay taxes. She left the distinct impression that she felt that those who proudly pay their taxes, or who support taxation as a civilized way to move forward, are somehow not patriotic. Many people feel that taxation is a fair and effective way for the people in a representative democracy to secure their rights. We are not unpatriotic! In fact the truth is to the contrary.

    The founding parents of our nation were patriots not because of the historic things they gained—sovereignty, democracy, political and religious rights, and, eventually, equality and freedom—but for what they gave—their wealth, their security, their sweat, their blood, and their lives. We still enjoy the gains of the original patriots and of all those subsequent patriots who have sacrificed further to ensure that those gains are not lost. Those gains were, and still are, a legacy for future generations. We all have an obligation as part of the basic social contract of a constitutional democracy to do our part, according to common agreement in a republic, to both honor their sacrifice and continue the bargain: to give now so that later generations will continue to have.

    So, support of taxation is patriotic. Patriotism is not necessarily pleasant, like fireworks on the fourth of July. The patriotism of our founders was far from pleasant for them. But patriotism is a kind of loyalty, and patriots do not run to another state or country when the going gets tough, or when marginal profits are threatened by taxation. It is not patriotic to be a tax miser.

    There is much more to say about Ms. Brooks’ opinion piece, but in the interest of space, I will just list a few facts and ideas.

    — States with lower tax rates have lower per capita income, on average.

    — Lower taxes do not equal prosperity. California has historically had a higher tax rate, yet we are the 8th largest economy in the world. We are near the top in per capita income. Personally, I think this is the best damn state in the best country in the world. Business owners and individuals who feel their burden is too great are free to move to Nevada, South Dakota, or Alabama. Sound like a good move to you? Feel free!

    — Higher tax rates are historically associated with winning wars (1860’s, 1917-21, 1940’s), and with times of economic growth (1950’s, 1960’s and 1990’s), while lower tax rates are historically associated with recessions and depressions (1840’s, 1930’s, 1980’s, 2010’s)

    — Historically, the highest income bracket’s tax rates have ranged from 7% in 1913 to 94% in 1944. Our current rate of 39% seems pretty low considering that the richest 1% of us take in over 20% of the income—a historic high in spite of the “burden” of taxes.

    — If liabilities are unfunded, then raise revenues to fund them. If we stop doing the things that have made us great because they cost money, all our historic progress will be outstripped by nations more willing to invest in themselves and we will become a second-rate country.

    — While government does not create wealth directly under our form of government, government does provide the support and infrastructure that makes wealth creation possible: imagine our community, state, and nation without our tax-supported commons. It would be hard to make a buck without security, justice, economic regulation, transportation, and an educated citizenry—just to name a few aspects of the public domain that have made the US and California economic super-engines.

    Lastly, crying tyranny in a democracy just means you are a sore loser. A cry of economic hardship from Bayside, Humboldt County is hard to take seriously. If taxes are really killing you, you can always choose to be poor—or move.

    Michael Bickford
    Arcata, CA

  9. Robert Benson

    Michael Bickford,
    As one whom has been in Arcata for two and a half years, chosen to be poor – rather than pay unconstitutional taxes to an unconstitutional government and it’s master, the war machine – and suffered Arcata’s acute discrimination on the poor; I wish to submit some thoughts for your consideration:

    If one could choose to be poor, without suffering harassment by government officials, I would consider your tax grievance ultimatum equitable; however, in light of the inherent bias and deprivation of rights the the poor class suffers, I consider the option to be intolerable.

    “Any claim that this statute is a taxing statute would be immediately open to severe Constitutional objections. If it could be said that the state had the power to tax a Right, this would enable the state to destroy Rights guaranteed by the constitution through the use of oppressive taxation. The question herein, is one of the state taxing the Right to travel by the ordinary modes of the day, and whether this is a legislative object of the state taxation. The views advanced herein are neither novel nor unsupported by authority. The question of taxing power of the states has been repeatedly considered by the Supreme Court. The Right of the state to impede or embarrass the Constitutional operation of the U.S. Government or the Rights which the Citizen holds under it, has been uniformly denied.” McCulloch vs. Maryland, 4 Wheat 316

    Notwithstanding the aforementioned, today, the state imposes taxes on the right to travel, work and own property, including the right to “use” property, Though your Ode to the Founding Parents did not go unappreciated, I opine your premise that one must give the government whatever it demands (taxes) – the more the merrier – is not founded on the American Spirit of Liberty. Limited government means limited taxes and control. The American People are the sovereigns, leave unto Caesar, that which is Caesar’s; in other words, the nanny state seeks to take care of us, only, so it can tell us what to do. Break free from your chains of complacency and dependency and demand constitutional government, while you still can!


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