Richard Barnes

A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government. – Thomas Jefferson


Entries in government (9)


Myth that cutting benefits would leave the poor starving in the streets

You've heard Democrats argue that one before... Republicans with all their pushing to cut on the federal level want poor people homeless and starving in the streets.

A story came out today in the NY Times showing that this isn't true.  Government in recent years has grown so far out of control that now the middle class are part of those leaching off the tax payers.  You can read the story in full HERE.

A new analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities underscores that the poor are no longer the primary beneficiaries of the government safety net.


The finding is broadly consistent with the data we reported Sunday that the poorest households received 36 percent of benefits in 2007, down from 54 percent in 1979, numbers that came from a study published last year by the Congressional Budget Office.


The study found that older people received slightly more than half of government benefits, while the nonelderly with disabilities received an additional 20 percent.


Furthermore, the study notes that politicians have shifted benefits away from the "jobless poor," through reductions in traditional welfare, and increased benefits for working families, for example through tax credits.


Another finding of the study is that the distribution of benefits no longer aligns with the demography of poverty. African-Americans, who make up 22 percent of the poor, receive 14 percent of government benefits, close to their 12 percent population share.

White non-Hispanics, who make up 42 percent of the poor, receive 69 percent of government benefits - again, much closer to their 64 percent population share.

What I see in those results is that politicians are no longer just using government to help the poor but instead using government to buy slaves who live off government in return for votes to keep their masters in power.


Of course if you suggest cutting away at the redistribution of wealth or even stopping the government from taking our own money away just to give it back to us in the form of a government program you are blasted as wanting to leave the poor starving in the streets.



It IS a Spending Problem

Blue Hampshire proves this week once again that they just don't get it.  They put up an article this week titled "Focus... repeat after me "We don't have a revenue problem"" in which they attempt to claim it's not spending that's the problem but the revenue.  You can read their article in full HERE.  They base this claim around a single quote supplied from a USA Today article found HERE.

Let's start by looking at the quote they supplied:

Federal, state and local taxes - including income, property, sales and other taxes - consumed 9.2% of all personal income in 2009, the lowest rate since 1950, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reports

That's an interesting claim.  Now if your like me you look at this claim and do a mental calculation in your head of the taxes you pay.  Personally I stopped adding when I hit about 35% of not just my person income but my household income which includes my wife's salary.

If you continue reading in the article you see the follow up statement:

That rate is far below the historic average of 12% for the last half-century.

So on average we only pay 12% of our income in taxes?  Property taxes in the town of Merrimack alone come out to be more then 12% of the average income.

This leaves thinking people to question how can they make such a claim when clearly those of us writing checks to the government each year can see it's not true, at least in our cases.

The answer is simple, not everyone pays taxes.  When you factor in the 47% who pay nothing, and factor in the fact that the lowest level income earners actually get money back they never paid in in the first place the over all average after wealth redistribution is accounted for comes out around what this article claims.  Here's a quote from the article found HERE that shows the full picture.

About 47 percent will pay no federal income taxes at all for 2009. Either their incomes were too low, or they qualified for enough credits, deductions and exemptions to eliminate their liability. That's according to projections by the Tax Policy Center, a Washington research organization.


The bottom 40 percent, on average, make a profit from the federal income tax, meaning they get more money in tax credits than they would otherwise owe in taxes.

That means while the overall average might only be 9.8%, those of us who actually pay the taxes are paying more and more while 40% actually get checks take from our tables for doing nothing.

Kind of sheds a different light on the whole matter doesn't it?

Getting back to the USA Today article, let's look at another point they bring up that accounts for why people paid less in taxes.

Sales tax. Consumers cut spending sharply in this downturn, thereby paying less in sales taxes.

In other words people paid less on taxes they could avoid.

One additional point that should be looked closely at is what they are discussing, "personal income".  Businesses are being hit harder then ever.  Just look at NH at how many new taxes have been leveled against small business owners and businesses in general.  When a company is taxed does that money come from heaven?  Of course not, it is taken out of the money that would otherwise be used to hire employees and pay salaries.  But they don't get into that little bit of information do they?

But I digress, let's go back to the Blue Hampshire claim that started this discussion.  They claim it's not spending that's the problem.  Ok, let's actually assume for a moment that each of us does only pay 9.8%, this only covers 60% of government spending. did a report that was released earlier this year in which they pointed out how much it would take to actually pay off our national debt.  I already wrote about it HERE and you can read the report in full HERE.  Here are some key statements from the report:

Actually, we did a calculation on what it would take just to eliminate the deficit and got a 242 percent increase in income tax rates. The 10 percent bottom rate would have to be 24 percent, and the top rate would have to be 86 percent.”

He added, “That would do nothing about the national debt.”

So Blue Hampshire folks, when income tax rates would need to increase 242% just to pay for the current level of spending do you seriously think it's a revenue problem?  Of course it's easy to think otherwise when you only look at a single out of context quote from a USA Today article.


Bill Offers "Free" Services

From today's NY Times:

Breaking a three-day stalemate, the Senate approved an amendment to its health care legislation that would require insurance companies to offer free mammograms and other preventive services to women.

The vote was 61 to 39, with three Republicans joining 56 Democrats and the two independents in favor

The Republican senators voting in favor were the two women from Maine, Olympia J. Snowe and Susan Collins, and David Vitter of Louisiana. Among Democratic senators, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and Ben Nelson of Nebraska opposed the proposal.

So this amendment will force insurance companies to provide "free" care to women.  How exactly is this accomplished?

For them to provide this additional service "free" then one of a few things must first happen.

A) Those providing the service (ie the doctors) are required by government to work for people without pay, this equates to slavery which was ended with the 13th amendment.  So for this to be the case such an amendment to the bill would make it unconstitutional.

B) They expect the insurance companies to pay and lose money by not increasing rates.  If this is the case then we should all be very worried because our government is knowingly harming the nations economy by forcing businesses to lose money.

C) They understand that this actually isn't free and that someone will pay for it but want to mislead people into thinking its free so they wont blame the government when they see insurance rates continue to rise.

Personally I have no problem with insurance companies offering these services but if I were shopping around as a policy as a guy, I don't need woman's services so I would personally choose a company that does not offer them so my own rates would remain lower.  Now I don't have a choice, the senate is seeking to take that away from me and they will force me to pay out more money as a result.



A Philosophical Question

While listening to the radio this week I heard a couple interesting discussions about health care and an interesting philosophical question I think is a good test of how people truly feel about any government program.

NHPR was discussing how now that MA has a program in which everyone in the state has health insurance there are new problems surfacing.  The first is that more people seeing doctors mean more waits.  They interviewed on woman who said it now takes 4 months advance before being able to get an appointment and where she had previously been able to spend up to an hour getting looked over by her doctor she is now rushed in and out in fifteen minutes.  They also pointed out that more doctors are leaving the state because the reimbursement on their work has been cut back so they aren't making as much.

This brings me to the question I heard asked on a different radio program.  If you had the choice of two societies, the first being one in which everything you need in life is provided "free" and the government takes most of what you earn in order to provide you with everything or the second being a society where you had to provide for yourself but you were allowed to keep nearly all of what you earn, which would you choose to live?

The answer to that will divide people into two groups and what you'll find are those who work and earn the money would seek to live in the second group where those who wish to freeload and live off others would with the first.  As we push American more toward the first with "free" education, health care, food, housing, etc etc etc we find more and more of the "rich" who those getting the "free" stuff expecting to pay the bill leaving in search of societies in which they are able to keep their earnings.

When America becomes that "free" stuff society and as we're seeing in MA with Doctors, those who earn and see their earnings diminished begin leaving for that other society who's going to pay for all the "free" stuff?  When everyone is sitting on the cart and no one is left to pull what then?


Merrimack Tea Party

Tea Parties continue to spread across the country, the newest one in Merrimack, NH.  The website "The Merrimack Watch" was recently launched as a local effort to combat over spending.  You can view the website in full HERE.

Here is their message:

This site is dedicated solely to those who are tired of our government wasting our tax dollars.  Yes, our property taxes are way too high.  Lowering them is not an issue.  Fraud, waste, abuse and ego are the culprit.  Maybe we need a moratorium on hiring, promotions, pay increases, and construction for the next five years.  More part time policemen and volunteer firemen is a good start.  We need real accountability on spending and decision making.  Builders, developers, real estate brokers, teachers, and mortgage representatives should be barred from elected positions, budget and board committees.  That will eliminate a great deal of fraud, waste, and abuse and hopefully keep everyone honest.

I don't agree with them on everything they are saying but at least they are making an effort to get the discussion started on how to cut back spending.

It's times like these you see the difference between true conservatives, liberals and cowards. 

True conservatives will talk about how to roll back spending and keep the budgets under control.  Liberals will talk about "fair" ways to tax people and milk society for more and more thinking there is no end in sight.

Sadly though most government officials fall into the last group, cowards.  They don't want to rock any boats so they wont make any substantial cuts because that would upset people, and of course they wont push for more taxes either.  They just hide in office letting the government crumble around them.

Its time for serious discussions about what in government is a need and what is a want, and it's time to stop forcing people to pay for the wants of others.