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The Penalties For Success And The Rewards Of Failure


Is it a bird or a falcon? Is it P Diddy or Puff Daddy? Is it grey or gray? Is it a tax or a penalty? The answer is…yes.

A tax is a penalty; that is the only thing that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court got right in his decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, which contains 20 new ones. And our President has just announced he is “100% committed” to sticking us with 11 more on January 1, should he be graced with a second term.

The question “who is John Galt?” captured the sense of futility that descended upon fictional America in the novel Atlas Shrugged; “tax or penalty?” is the non-fiction edition. Once you get it through your head that a tax is a penalty, it is easy to see why the wheels have come off.

They penalize you for earning a living; it is called the income tax. The more you make, the stiffer the penalty – graduated, just like multiple DUI’s. The more hours you work, the higher the penalty; the better you get at something, the larger the penalty you must pay for your trouble.  Sell a lot, the penalty increases; work past 40 hours and your penalty jumps by 50 percent.

And they penalize you for investing wisely; it is called the capital gains tax. You were already taxed once on the income you made, but they penalize you again for investing some of it. They penalize you for saving; it is called the tax on interest. They penalize you for investing conservatively; it is called the tax on dividends. Give too much to your kids – gift tax…er…penalty.

They penalize you for winning at the casino; they penalize you for improving your home; they penalize your pension, your annuity payment, your unemployment income, your disability benefit, the estate you leave, the raffle you won at church. They even penalize you for winning their own lottery after they begged you to play it.

They penalize you for tanning, smoking, drinking, driving, boating, staying in hotels, renting cars, eating, flying in an airplane, riding a bus, making a phone call, dining out, staying overnight in a hospital. They penalize you for buying something/anything/everything. And now, apparently, they can penalize you for not buying something/anything/everything.

They penalize you for starting a business, and they penalize you even more for growing it. The more employees you hire, the stiffer your penalty. The higher your profit, the more they will take from you. If you succeed beyond your wildest dreams, you will be penalized beyond your worst nightmares.

The more you invest in plant, property and equipment the higher the penalty you must pay for owning those things. And if you use energy to become more efficient, you will be penalized for that, too. The better you become at anything, the steeper the penalty you must pay for your competence.

And they wonder why the economy sucks.

However, if you don’t work, don’t save, don’t invest, use uneconomical “green” energy, let your home go to hell, tank your business, or build things that most people don’t want, they will reward you; it is called a subsidy.

You will be rewarded for not planting, for not producing, for not trading, for going deep into debt. Debt is a double reward – the government reduces your penalties by interest on your debt and the Federal Reserve rewards you by subsidizing interest rates below market. Of course, that means savers are penalized, but they decided we were greedy, so it’s ok to screw us.

There is no shortage of economic nimroddery in Washington D.C.; it is probably the only place on the planet where they think “free shipping” is actually free. The rest of us know better – someone can only get paid if someone else is paying. That Teamster driving the truck is not working for nothing and his diesel fuel was not donated; either his costs were built into your price or somebody else paid your freight.

Those folks receiving the freebies are not the victims we have been brainwashed to believe; every day, more and more Americans are waking up to the fact that those of us who pay the freight are the ones getting hosed. We are being penalized for working, saving, and investing so that more and more people can be rewarded for not working, borrowing, and malinvesting.

Who is the “they” who are doing all the penalizing? The government, both parties, and all of the special interests – organized looters – who provide campaign cash and write tortured justifications for stealing our property. They are kept in power by the broke-dicks, unionistas, and state-sponsored millionaires who gladly trade their freedom for a little cut of the action.

This President is hopeless. He believes it is a good thing to penalize achievement and prudence while rewarding sloth and irresponsibility. The ink was barely dry on the Court’s approval of his upping the age of dependency to 26 when he announced he wants a national vacation policy, as if the thing 15 million Americans without work need most is more time off.

If Mitt Romney is an upgrade, it’s only from middle seat to window. His economic plan has 59 points and none of them is “blow away the IRS and start over from scratch.” He still couldn’t make up his mind between tax and penalty after a week of pondering; he should just go ask Ron Paul, for cripes’ sake.

Or better yet, go ask Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate for President. Here is a Republican governor who actually shrunk government, balanced budgets, killed tax increases, and told the federal government to shove it. That got him re-elected in a Democrat state and run out the GOP in the 2012 primaries on a rail. Go figure.

We libertarians have a different idea about penalties and rewards; we think markets should reward work, God should punish sin, and government should protect our rights. We think that the law should treat everyone equally, not dish out selective penalties and rewards like it were training a puppy.

You are not a puppy; quit letting them treat you like one.

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