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Thursday, October 4, 2012

American Values

In spite of the fact that Americans, as a people, are no more united than the states in which they live, we all have some concept of the meaning of the term “American values.” We may share some ideals, but it is not true we live according to the same moral standard. Nor do we agree on much of anything at all. People living in the northeast have almost nothing in common with folks living along the gulf coast, but this is nothing new. Regionalization existed in the Thirteen Colonies, it is what led us to the American Civil War, and it may be leading us in that direction once more.

According to the Tax Policy Center at the Brookings Institution, 45% of all households had no federal income tax liability for the 2009 tax year. The figure takes into account increases in unemployment, and decreases of wages. Before the recession, 41% of all US households had no federal income tax liability. Moreover, the Tax Policy Center tells us that for 2009, 90% of households with an annual income below $20,000 paid no federal income tax, and among households earning between $20,000 and $50,000, 48% paid no federal income tax. Nearly 13% of households earning between $50,000 and $100,000 paid no income tax.

A 2006 Tax Foundation analysis of Internal Revenue Service data found strong correlation between a state's average family income and its percentage of households with no federal tax liability. The analysis found that the five states with the highest percentage of households paying no federal income tax for 2005 were Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, New Mexico, and Alabama. According to 2005 data from the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis, those states' ranks in per-capita income were, respectively, 49th, 50th, 48th, 46th and 40th. That same year, the five states with the lowest percentage of households paying no federal income tax were Alaska, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Minnesota. In per-capita income, those states ranked, respectively, 16th, second, first, sixth and ninth.

If as many as 41% of the American people are paying no federal income tax, then who is paying their fair share of taxes? The answer is simple: the remaining 59% of the population pay higher tax rates in order to pay for those who pay nothing. So when Mitt Romney suggested 47% of the American people are living off the government, which is to say that they directly benefit from government programs without even making a one-cent contribution in revenues, he was speaking honestly. He told us the truth.

But the progressive left doesn't want the truth. After the press gleefully announced that Romney doesn't care about half of the American population, President Obama said, “I don’t think we can get very far with leaders who write off half the nation as a bunch of victims who never take responsibility for their own lives.” And then the leftists rolled out Suzanne Mettler, an egghead at Cornell University who suggested that if anyone drives on a federal highway, they are benefiting from federal spending.

Good grief.

And this brings us back to the subject of this post: do the American people value honesty, or would they prefer to hear a constant stream of bull from politicians like Barack Obama? Romney suggested the following: if you expect to ride, expect to pay the ticket. Romney suggests that everyone should pay something toward our common good. In my mind, asking a family who earns $20,000 a year to pay 5% in federal income tax is both fair and necessary.

How is it necessary? The issue is inclusion: people who pay income taxes, even a small amount, become part of us. When they pay a fair share, they share our burden. “Kicking in” decreases the number of individuals who think of themselves as entitled to something for nothing, not unlike the woman who has her “Obama phone” and wants everyone to know what a low-life she really is. From a practical standpoint, when the federal government excuses half of the working population from paying any taxes at all, it concomitantly imposes an unfair burden on the remaining half. People do not create class warfare: the government does that through absurd policy.

So the question is this: do Americans value honesty in government, or do they instead value smooth-talking snake oil salesmen like Barack Obama? Have we allowed these snake oil salesmen to transform us into a society of bums, or do we still believe in standing on our own two feet?

Important Disclaimer: this post has nothing whatever to do with people who have legitimate needs for community assistance. Do not insult the author or blog owner by inferring otherwise.


  1. Sam,
    I know exactly what Romney meant with that statement. He was not speaking of the people you mentioned in the disclaimer.

    Romney is referring to deadbeats, that is, takers. I have one of those in my extended family.

    Two babies popped out between ages 18-20, then a dash to any welfare available. The two babies are by two different men, of course, the second father being a person who has been on Social Security Disability since age 18. However, I notice that he is well enough to go out and locate booze and recreational drugs.

    My mind reels as I type in this nasty comment.

    MY COUSIN, AN ATTRACTIVE WORMAN WITH A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA AND NOT A SINGLE KIND OF ANY DISABILITY YOU CAN THING OF, HAS MADE IT CLEAR THAT SHE WILL NOT EVEN LOOK FOR A JOB! She expects "everyone else" to support her. She expects the family to "take care of her" because she has reproduced.


    Well, I've cut her off completely even refusing to help her out with food. I have zero guilt about this step I've taken; see next paragraph.

    The court has taken the children away from her because she is an unfit mother in any way you can name. The court did the right thing, but my cousin is still collecting assistance. Why, why, why?

    Oh, yes, she's voting for Obama in November.

  2. The former President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt said "There can be no fifty-fifty Americaniam in this country. There is room here for only 100 percent Americanism, only for those who are Americans and nothing else."

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  4. This is a VERY important post. When people pay taxes, no matter how little, they gain "part ownership" of our government and our country. Just the feeling of being part of the process, in a positive way, instills self-worth in most people. Only the life-long sponges will still feel entitled to having the rest of us care for them from cradle to grave. Those who have a "horse in the race" will realize that "free" is not really "free."

    I too feel that even the lowest income earners should pay some tax, but I disagree with the 5%. I would rather see just 1% from anyone under the federal poverty level. I also hate seeing the IRS used as just another welfare program. These tax credits that make it possible to have a negative number as your tax liability are wrong! Earned income credit, child care credit, education credit, etc. should be programs OUTSIDE the scope of IRS! Call them social programs, welfare, or what ever, BUT, paying in a few dollars per week and then getting thousands of dollars back at the end of the year does NOT make you a tax payer, it makes you a welfare case. Call it that and watch as that incentive gets people to find a way (job) to get off the dole!

  5. "Only the life-long sponges will still feel entitled to having the rest of us care for them from cradle to grave." I meant to add here that people who can not work due to actual physical or mental deficiencies are NOT what I am talking about. Those individuals have my support 100%, and I have NO problem with my tax dollars being used to help them enjoy life as best they can.

  6. On a black list now or is it that one has to be an "American" to make a comment eh?


  7. I knew what Romney was saying, but remember: those who took his remarks out of context and attacked him based on this hyperbole also argue that the life of Julia is an adequate bellwether of real American women.

    Yes, we must care for those in need. No, we must not allow people who are faking to get away with it. More to the point, however, is that reaching out to folks is a responsibility of local communities and states, not the federal government. We call this federalism.

    Great post, Sam.

  8. Those 2 questions at the bottom will be answered come november. It's the final test and if you fail, then it'll be the end of you, there is no turning back after another 4 years of obama.

  9. I always assumed American Values were based on the constitution.
    Now I hear that Obama's values are American because he's an American.

  10. Ed,
    Now I hear that Obama's values are American because he's an American.


    A syllogism?

    What does it matter?

    People are becoming divorced from reality. Sheesh.

  11. I would argue just the opposite, Ed. The Constitution sprang forth from American values, when we believed in individualism, limited government, personal accountability, and personal commitment. When, instead of turning to government to lead us out of the valley, we turned to God.

    This may today be lost to us, especially when "Julia" today depends on government as she once might have depended on herself, a husband, and the children she raised in wedlock, or when Jane Crow allows herself to be bought and sold to progressivism for the price of a cell phone.

    The communist left has poisoned the well of freedom in America. We are on the edge of an abyss, and if we fall into it, we may never again find out way out. We are indeed one generation from losing it all.

  12. To DC:

    Actually I don't know or care what you really are, (American or whatever) I'm not even reading your posts. If your last post had been more than a sentence I wouldn't have read it. I'm not interested in what you have to say.

    You irritate me and judging from the other readers comments, you irritate them too.

    If you wish to comment on this blog, write AOW a nice Email, apologize for being a horses behind and promise to be a good boy. Then if she deigns to answer you and cares enough to write me an Email, asking me to please relent and let you post, I'll reconsider. If you find that to much trouble or, perchance, your arrogance will not allow you to humble yourself in such a fashion, goodbye!

    Don't bother to reply to me in this forum, I will not reply and I will delete it as soon as I'm aware.

  13. Mr. Sinclair, how deft is your commentary.
    Well taken, your points.
    Your Admonition is keenly felt , and I trust,
    acted upon, right now & continually, by all who care.

  14. Anyone ever heard of The Creature from Jekyll Island?
    Or, Babylon's Banksters? T-H-I-S is tearing Our National Prosperity asunder. ALONG WITH O's MARXIST DREAMS OF HIS FATHER'S.
    We all need to be informed about the UNCONSTITUTIONAL THEFT called income tax, and how it goes to pay the INTEREST ON THIS fraudulent debt to them.

    how apt is you avatar! Which I love, BTW. I hope you will take time to smell the roses once in a while, after escorting the "trash" as you put it, out. I recommend you kick back and LAUGH! Here's a suggestion;
    RE-WATCH THE DEBATE! That should have you laughing till the tears roll! ;, D

  16. Warren,
    Thank you so much for taking out the trash. You have full administrative power and my full approval to exercise that power.

    As you know, Cameo has been very ill. I've got really important things to tend to if Cameo is to survive.

  17. Lady Liberty,
    Warren rocks! There is no better person on the face of the planet.

    Hey, did you know that Warren's birthday, October 28, coincides with Mr. AOW's birthday! How's that for a coincidence?

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