Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Yesterday, one of my co-workers started an all-day round-robin e-mail exchange when he predicted that oil would reach $150 per barrel in 2007, that the economy would tank and our 401k's vanish in the wreckage...he wanted to know what we all thought he should invest his 401k savings in to avoid the disaster.

My immediate advice was to invest in bottled water and MRE's (packaged military field meals), but the discussion soon spun off in several of which was tax philosophy. Here's what I wrote on that topic (slightly edited for the blog):

"Are (taxes) too high? Don't know. In relation to government spending, probably not. Yes, I think we can reduce taxes, but first we need to consider a really important, and largely ignored, issue: what is the governnment's tax income used for?

"Considering it this way, I think it's irresponsible to talk about lowering taxes without getting a handle on government spending. And to do that, we need to ask ourselves what the government should be spending its income on. The preamble to the Constitution speaks to "...establish(ing) domestic tranquillity, provid(ing) for the common defense, promot(ing) the general welfare, (and) secur(ing) the blessings of liberty..." If, as I do, we accept these as the core responsibilities of the federal government, that means that we should expect the federal government to spend our tax money on (by category):

"Establish domestic tranquility: justice & public safety, national legislature, foreign relations.

"Provide for the common defense: military services and national-level homeland security.

"Promote the general welfare: public health and education, food and water safety, interstate transportation and commerce, foreign trade. (And) setting up a national crash program for energy independence.

"Secure the blessings of liberty: all of the above.

"What sorts of things don't appear (to me, anyway) to fall under the above? How about, for a start, most "pork" stuffed into spending bills (such as multi-million dollar bridges in Alaska, niche museums in congressional districts, etc)."

That's a small and, I grant you, out-of-context part of a much longer discussion. Other parts will appear in future blog posts. But you need to think about how your government spends your money. You've worked hard for it, and as a citizen you owe a part of it to the government for its legitimate needs. Should your Federal taxes pay for true, national-level needs that affect all of us, or should they pay for some Congressman's hometown pet project? Think about it. It's your duty as a citizen of this great nation. If you don't think hard about this, vote in every election, and let your elected representatives know what you're thinking, you have no right to complain when you don't like what's being done in your name, with your hard-earned dollars.

Have a good day. See you tomorrow.


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