Taxpayer-funded propaganda

Atlanta has installed “rainbow” crosswalks at one of its intersections… at a price of $196,000:

In 2015, the largely gay community at 10th and Piedmont raised money to paint the intersection, stretching across the heart of Midtown, as a sign of unity during Atlanta Pride Week.

This year, the city decided to make it permanent, announcing the decision on the one-year anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub massacre. City confirmed Monday the new crosswalks cost the city $196,000 to install and would last 10 years…

To be clear, the crosswalk is actually made up of thermoplastic tiles, not paint. And while they did cost $196,000 to install, that cost actually makes up 0.3 of 1 percent of the city’s transportation budget. Plus, they’re expected to last for 10 years before any heavy maintenance is required.

If others raised money for this artistic propaganda, why did the city have to spend money to ‘make it permanent?’  As the story points out, people expressed concern about the cost (73% against the cost, according to the station’s poll), but not over what the project symbolizes.  Guess all this propaganda is having the desired effect.  I doubt, however, the city will really get 10 years out of this.  Few aspects of any municipal roads last that long.  (Note how the last paragraph quoted above goes out of its way to minimize the cost of this kowtowing.)

This begs the question: if the city is willing to foot the expense of fancy-sounding marked-up “thermoplastic tiles” to make gays feel better and ‘more accepted,’ then why not other groups?  It would seem the equal protection clause of the Constitution could mean the city is now on the hook to create expensive crosswalks to commemorate, say, the Holocaust, the Armenian genocide, or any other aggrieved group.

Cities need to remain neutral, neither hindering nor promoting such groups.  But that won’t happen, because today virtue-signaling is more important than anything else… including fiscal responsibility.  Enjoy paying your taxes, Atlanta residents!

A very taxing system

Americans for Tax Reform have put out a nice infographic about how the U.S. income tax has morphed into a monstrosity since we let the Constitution be amended in 1913 to have one.  That such a tax was one of the ten planks of Marx’s Communist Manifesto should have given Americans more pause.

ATR HISTORY OF TAX FINAL

I’ve said it numerous times: to stop a fire you have to take away its fuel and starve it of oxygen.  The income tax paved the way for the Leviathan our government has become.  Starving it of revenue by getting rid of the income tax would begin the process of returning to a limited government.

Remember: the nation got along just fine for 137 years without the ability to reach directly into our wallets.

Where are the handcuffs and perp walks?

With as many “law enforcement” agencies as we have running around, why is it taking so long to reach justice in some matters where justice clearly needs to be served?

Exhibit A:  Her Hillariness just got a lot less funny, now that it’s been shown the private email server she ran (already in violation of Federal policy) was used to transmit data that held some of the highest possible classification markings in the Federal government (i.e. major, big-time felony actions).  It appears this latest revelation is finally drawing more close scrutiny.  The FBI took possession of the extra-government computer equipment (which should have happened a LONG time ago) — only to find it has been professionally wiped!  I support taking the time to investigate this thoroughly — but from what is already public, if somebody doesn’t go to jail then there has been a major miscarriage of justice somewhere.  Note: David Petraeus was (properly) prosecuted for providing unauthorized access to sensitive government information, and while I have admired his effective service overseas, even I thought his penalty was too light for such a callously irresponsible action.  The alleged level of classification on the unsecured info in the Clinton case is orders of magnitude more serious, though you wouldn’t be able to tell from way various parties are trying to downplay it

Exhibit B:  The Environmental ‘Protection’ Agency “accidentally” spilled 3 million gallons of wastewater, containing toxic metals and other contaminants, into the Animas River in Colorado.  Had this been some eeeeeeeeeevil private business or landowner, is there any doubt there’d be a public clamor for a perp walk?  But while the head of the EPA says his agency takes “full responsibility” for this event, and assures CNN the agency will investigate itself as thoroughly (*cough*) as it would a private entity (*cough*), does anyone really believe we’ll see a public firing, or that anyone involved will be jailed or fined harder than a slap on the hand?  And doesn’t that say something about the absolute lack of accountability in our government ruling apparatus these days?

Exhibit C:  Despite the release of multiple videos over the last month or so showing clearly that Planned Parenthood Profiteering is illegally selling chopped-up viable babies as a menu of parts for medical research, not a single person has yet been arrested.  Indeed, there are efforts to change the subject and insinuate that a “coordinated, years-long” effort by the Center for Medical Progress to penetrate and expose this hellish enterprise is somehow more concerning than the activities they’ve documented!  Not to be outdone, the Federal Government is also “warning” States that they have no choice but to keep funding these Grim Reapers, just because they occasionally hand out condoms from the same locations where babies are slaughtered.  (And no, I will not mince words on this issue, so don’t ask.)

Exhibit D:  It is Day 826 — over two years — since revelations of the political targeting of conservative groups by the IRS, and NONE of that leadership has been held accountable under the law.  As with Hillary’s emails, this issue has been dominated by deception and stonewalling by people who clearly see themselves as above the law and unaccountable to the hoi polloi.  I am still of the mind that Americans ought to unite in their determination not to pay any Federal taxes until at a minimum the IRS is disbanded, its leaders jailed, its buildings bulldozed, and the ground salted for good measure.  After that, we can talk with Uncle Sam about less intrusive, abusive, or expensive ways of funding his legitimate Constitutional activities (which, by the way, includes securing the *&^% border, but does not include Federal funding of abortions — see Item C above).

So to sum up:  It’s OK to harass a dentist for shooting a lion, but don’t dare to demand the defunding of the murder, slicing and dicing of hundreds of thousands of babies every year.  Nobody in the current presidential administration seems accountable for anything, and the leading Democratic contender to replace him openly defied regulations with her communications, which seem to have included gross compromise of some of our nation’s most closely guarded secrets.  Meanwhile, many Americans (including me) shake their head in amazement at The Donald’s seeming domination of the early GOP primary race.  But the fact that an enterprising clown seems like a welcome relief to business as usual just underscores how seriously lost our increasingly lawless society is.

“And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”  Matthew 24: 12-14

State-sponsored religion

Somehow, I suspect the usual suspects who screech “separation of church and state” about the Christian faith affecting public policy will have no problem with the State using taxation to influence the content of sermons:

The news was as welcome to the group of Prince George’s County pastors as a plague of locusts: Maryland’s controversial “stormwater remediation fee” applied to all property owners, including houses of worship. Depending on the acreage, churches faced a tax of hundreds, even thousands of dollars.

The Rev. Nathaniel B. Thomas of Forestville New Redeemer Baptist Church and his colleagues figured there had to be a better way. “We challenged the fee,” Thomas said. “Once Uncle Sam finds a way to take your money, he doesn’t stop.”

After months of negotiation with county environmental director Adam Ortiz, the pastors emerged with a rebate deal that will significantly cut the fees if churches adopt programs and equipment that will curb runoff, lessen pollution and help bolster the environment.

Thomas and other pastors also have agreed to start “green” ministries to maintain the improvements at their churches, and to preach environmentally focused sermons to educate their congregations.

Most taxation today is as much about control as it is revenue.  It is one of the largest blunt instruments used for social engineering.  When the State can threaten you financially unless you do what it wants, YOU ARE NOT FREE!  In the private world, this would be called extortion.

Let me be clear: I believe we DO have a responsibility to be good stewards of God’s creation, that this is entirely compatible with a Biblical worldview, and worthy of discussion in a Biblically consistent manner if the pastor is led by the Spirit to do so.  I do NOT believe, however, the State should be able in any way to affect what is preached from a pulpit, so long as clergy are not advocating violence towards others (I’m looking at you, Islamists…).  Such attempts at State influence of religious matters is EXACTLY the thing the Founders were out to prevent by guaranteeing freedom of religion.

If this is permitted to continue, it won’t stop at creating “environmentally friendly sermons,” either.  The State often forces its nose into the tent via financial incentives.  Once there, it won’t be long before the Church has to change its tune on OTHER issues as well.  At that point it won’t be a question of taxes.  It’ll be whether or not the Church takes the proverbial 30 pieces of silver.

Information & Revenue Shakedowns

…that’s what IRS *should* stand for.  This past week highlights just what a threat to continued freedom this agency is:

At various points over the past two years, Internal Revenue Service officials targeted nonprofit groups that criticized the government and sought to educate Americans about the U.S. Constitution, according to documents in an audit conducted by the agency’s inspector general.

And yet patriotic Americans were being told the past few years they were ‘paranoid’ if they attributed sudden unwanted attention from Uncle Sam to their political leanings.  Never mind that shortly after coming into office, the current President made a joke about such potential.

What’s worse, this same agency is now charged with collecting even more information from you, under the tender ministrations of Obamacare: 

When Obamacare’s individual mandate takes effect in 2014, all Americans who file income tax returns must complete an additional IRS tax form. The new form will require disclosure of a taxpayer’s personal identifying health information in order to determine compliance with the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate.  As confirmed by IRS testimony to the tax-writing House Committee on Ways and Means, “taxpayers will file their tax returns reporting their health insurance coverage, and/or making a payment”. 

It’s time for a tax revolt, people.  Consider the road we’ve traveled: first, the Founders specifically prohibited an income tax in the Constitution–it took an amendment in 1913 to get it underway!  In the brief century since, the IRS sprouted like a multi-headed hydra, sucking up data and dollars any way it can.  Want to starve the beast called Leviathan?  Cut off his access to money and information.  My modest proposal for an amendment to attack this at the source:

Section 1: The 16th Amendment to the Constitution is hereby repealed.  The Federal Government is prohibited from levying taxation of individual citizens based on income, regardless of its source. 

Section 2: The Federal Government may not require citizens to disclose information regarding their sources of income or their personal spending decisions, unless done under warrant as part of a formal civil or criminal investigation in accordance with all applicable Constitutional protections.

Section 3: The Federal Government may not withhold portions of individual income in anticipation of future financial liability, nor may it disburse money or goods to any citizen, except as payment for employment or contracted goods and services. 

Section 4:  Congress shall have the power to levy a National Sales Tax, the rate of which may not exceed ten percent.  Food, clothing, medical supplies, medicine and the purchase of a primary residence are all exempt from Federal taxation under this provision.

Four short sections, but with far-reaching implications.  Thoughts? 

As for the new healthcare reporting, I’m strongly of a mind to write “none of your Constitutional business” boldly across the form and submit it with my next 1040… which, under my proposal above, would be the last one of those anyway.  Who’s with me?

Yes. Next Question?

Reason Magazine’s “Hit and Run” blog asks,

Is John Boehner Dumb Enough to Take $400 Billion in Cuts a Decade From Now in Exchange for $1.2 Trillion in Tax Hikes That Start ASAP?

Let’s be real for a moment: this is standard operating procedure in D.C., and has been for decades.  Future cuts are ‘promised’ to make the immediate tax hikes marginally more palatable for the rubes outside the Beltway.  Problem is, the cuts never materialize.  Government spending only ratchets upward:

What’s worse than the proposed tax increases is the continuing destruction of the dollar’s value.  That ‘stealth tax’ of inflation, more than anything else, has robbed two generations (and counting) of Americans of their savings and earning power.  And this underhanded process is only accelerating…

((Double HT to Instapundit, both for the Reason link, and the inspiration for the post title. Surprised he didn’t use it himself this time — but I’m happy to help cover!))