OBTL'ers Deplore The Tax but Ignore the Facts

Accounts Receivable, Building Permit, Capital Gains,
CDL license, Cigarette, Corporate Income, Court Fines, Dog License,
Estate, Federal blah, blah, blah
Food, Fuel, Hunting,Inheritance, Inventory, IRS Penalties
Liquor, Luxury, Marriage License, Medicare, Personal Property
Real Estate, Septic Permit, Social Security, Road Usage, Sales
Recreational Vehicle,Road Toll Booth,
School, Snack, Telephone, blah, blah, blah, ad nauseam. All these words end with the phrase "taxes."

So goes the one-chord refain of a current post OnTheBorderLine. Maybe we should start calling them bleating hearts?

There's confusion about what to call these evil things. OTBL'ers say "Taxes" and Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty says "user fee." Someone obviously didn't get the updated Republican talking points memo.

Actually, not one of these "User Fees" existed until Governor Pawlenty figured out he could substitute the word “user fees” for “taxes” and nobody would notice – especially Grover Norquist of the Americans for Tax Reform.

OTBL'ers are also telling us, “100 years ago our nation was the most prosperous in the world, had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.” Next they will tell us, if we close our eyes and click our heals three times, we will be in Kansas.

Since what they seem to care most about OnTheBorderLine is money, I’ll give them the argument on most prosperous, no national debt and largest middle class. Although between 1900-1910, the national debt was approximately $1 billion. The part about “Mom stayed home to raise the kids” is misinformed fantasy. In 1900, one-quarter of southern mill workers were children under 15, and half of these were below the age of 12. In addition to the mills, children worked in the mines and canneries. Also a large percentage worked on the farms.

During this time, it was illegal for children to be unionized, so the unions pushed for legislation to protect children (An OTBL’er would call this a “Marxist intervention into free-market economy or unnecessary business regulation). In the early 1900s, Progressives made the abolition of child labor a pillar of their reform program. By 1920, most states had laws forbidding the employment of children under 14 and set an eight-hour day for workers under 16. Compulsory education laws, i.e., public education (another "Marxist" thorn in an OTBL’ers side), also limited the availability of children for factory.

But when the federal government sought to enact a nationwide ban on child labor, i.e., the Senate and Congress past laws, the Supreme Court struck it down, i.e., legislated from the bench, as an unconstitutional interference in local labor conditions, i.e., states rights. Progressives countered with a constitutional amendment, which went to the states in 1924 but was never ratified. It wasn't until the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 that the employment of children under 16 prohibited in manufacturing and mining.

It is also important to remember that anybody pushing for the elimination of child labor and general improvements in wages and working conditions was label a Marxist, Communist, collectivist, etc. Labels still freely applied by the OTBL’ers to any groups involving unions or advocating anything that requires business to be safer, cleaner and healthier.

Of course, in April 1914, the children were at home with their Moms in Ludlow, CO, a company-mining town run by the Rockefeller-owned Colorado Fuel and Iron Company. Their Dads were home too. They were members of the United Mine Workers striking for better safety, higher wages and union recognition. At the request of company, the state militia and private guards fired on the make-shift tent city housing the strikers and their families. When the smoke cleared, 11 of the 14 dead were children. This is known as the Ludlow Massacre.

Woody Guthrie wrote a song called the “Ludlow Massacre.” Give it a listen, it will send chills up your spine. OTBL'ers would call him a Communist too...the guy who wrote, "This land is my land, this land is your land."

Ludlow the day after...

I'm assuming that the OTBL'ers logic is that if we didn't have any taxes, we still be the most prosperous nation in the world, we'd have no national debt and we would have eliminated the lower and middle class and we'd all be rich! Or as Merle Hazggard sang it, "We'll all be eating that rainbow stew and drinking free Bubble-Up..."

No wonder they are so in love with the Laffer Curve. This is another example of the OTBL'ers showing us one of the ostrich fantasies that is not supported by the facts. The mental traveling must be pretty light, when you only have to use two color crayons -- black and white -- to paint your version of reality. Actually, if you use white paper, one black crayon is all you need. Obviously, the OTBL'ers share a prevailing, conservative mindset that harkens back to the "good old days." A little research will quickly show you those days were not so good. But the crowd on the other side of the border wants to play the role of historical alchemists, by trying to turn the hardship and exploitation of the survival-of-the-fittest robber baron era into the golden good ol' days. Remember, those who forget the past are dome to repeat it. It's been said, "ignorace is the root of all evil."

So don't put your head in the sand. Child labor is a big part of today's global economy. When you hear someone pontificating on what is "good for business, i.e., stock holders, and consumers, i.e., lower prices, understand that this doesn't mean its good for the American workers. This "goodness" is being carried to us on the backs of the men, woman and child who are the unseen faces of outscourcing. What was going on in the United States 100 years ago has been outscourced.

Just because it is out of sight, it doesn't have to be out of mind. See what you can do to help.

In conclusion, I'd like to paraphrase my Grandmother. Nearly 100 years ago, she and her mother use to stay up at night with laterns and rifle to keep the wolves away from the lambs and calves. The men were up north working in the lumber camps. This was on a farm just outside Clear Lake, Wisconsin. They lived in a log cabin with all the "good old day" comforts: root cellar, wood stove, outhouse, etc. When people would start wishing for the good ol' days, Gramma would say something like, "You can have the good ol' days, I'll take running water, indoor plumbing and an electric stove and refrigerator over a wood stove, ice box and outhouse anyday." She left the farm to become a teacher in a one room school. She worked for chickens to feed her family in the Great Depression. Her husband died too young, she worked till she was 65 and lived on Social Security.

If you wonder what makes the OTBL'ers tick, it can be found in some of the books they read. Ayn Rand is a favorite author of theirs.

Believe me, with book titles like "The Virtue of Selfishness," Ayn Rand would have left really early in his talk, had she been there to heard Jesus give his "Sermon on the Mount."


A Picture Is Worth A 1,000 Words by Economist Ludwig von Mises

My friends ONTHEBORDERLINE are madly in love with the late economist Ludwig von Mises, the darling of neoCON economics. A major reason is because, as far as OTBL'ers are concerned, no tax is a good tax. The "Reagan Revolution" and the current "Bush Revolution" are based on the same cut taxes for the rich scenario. You be the judge of where we are going...

Unemployment Rate by Year and President:

The Federal Deficit by Year and President:

So you can wade through the dense quotes of the dead Austrian economists who have virtually disappeared from even the footnotes of today's economic textbooks. Or you can look at the above graph and figure out the direction we are headed.

The Reagan and Bush "revolutions" are based on a cocktail napkins drawing by living economist Art Laffer. Laffer's theory is very simple (and that's why it's so appealing to the neoCONs). Below is a picture of the Laffer Curve:

The Laffer Curve:

The curve shows the relationship between tax rates and tax revenue. Theoretically, tax revenues increase up to a maximum at some critical tax rate. After that rate is reached, raising tax rates further will theoretically lower tax revenues. This theory has never worked out in reality, but it is a simple explanation to use to get people to back tax cuts for the wealthy.

In practice that Laffer Curve works more like the example below:

The Laffer Curve might be found as a footnote in today's economics textbooks, but it is disappearing fast. It's not disappearing because of all those "liberals" inhabiting the halls of our universities. It's disappearing because it doesn't work, it hasn't worked and there is no empirical data to back it up.