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I Can’t Hear The Howling Anymore

Where I live in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, if you sleep with the windows open in nice weather as I often do, sometimes you can hear the coyotes howling late at night. Times have changed, that’s for sure. When I was a kid no one would have believed you if you told them that. The animals just weren’t that “close to camp” as they say.

There is old saying that goes something like this, “If you throw a rock at a pack of coyotes, the one that howls, is the one that you hit.”

And so it goes with today’s political environment. I have recently been writing about taxes, who pays them, and which of them are “howling” about the use of what some politicians call “contributions.”

When I witnessed the “Tea Party” rally in Chicago recently, it struck me that I didn’t see a single sign that was “howling” about the level of taxes. If they existed there at all, they were drowned out by the signs which protested the use of those taxes (or the anticipated future level of them) because of the alarming amount of spending and printing of money that has recently begun.

Sign after sign pointed to use of such money by a government that seems to represent only the recipients of the funds, instead of the people who are doing the paying as well. Judging by the number of such signs, apparently I'm not the only one who thinks that elected representatives are supposed to represent all of us.

Those sign carrying people aren’t happy about having their hard earned money being used for the bail out (or enrichment) of ill managed banks, stock brokerages, car companies, insurance companies, real estate flippers, property speculators and irresponsible borrowers and mortgage brokers.

The people who saved, invested prudently and spent what they had, instead of what they could borrow, are righteously indignant that none of the competent stewardship of their resources will pay off for them now. They wonder why ordinary people should have to bother with that effort when the aforementioned list didn't bother because they were "too big to fail."

Much has been said about the number of people who attended the protests. Apologists for the left in the popular media have pointed out that the number of people present was modest when compared to the number at some demonstrations for their pet causes. Understandably, the size of this rally corresponded to the percentage of people who are paying vs the percentage of those not paying.

Since a huge number of people actually pay no income taxes whatsoever*, and even more pay only a pittance, it’s not a shock that the raw numbers don’t seem towering.

As long as 10% of the earners are paying approximately 70% of the taxes, I don’t expect the 90% to howl too loudly. The government knows that as well. The plan they have to keep power by buying off most of the people with the money of the few has been well thought out and executed.

We should ponder what the protests would look like if all the people had a good share of their money taken away and given to the above list of “lotto winners.” I’m guessing the polite few protestors carrying signs opposing current government policy would be replaced by a huge number of impolite rioters carrying the pitchforks that President Obama recently told business leaders he was protecting them from. But the people needing the protection might be "Obama & Company" instead of AIG or Chase Bank.

Meanwhile, in the real world, the one where very few of the citizens really have a stake in how much gets taken, but only in what gets handed out, there are so few “coyotes” getting hit that, I can’t hear the howling anymore.

* (“The Tax Policy Center estimates that for 2009, 43% of tax units (most of which are lower income households that may or may not file a return) will have no income tax liability or will have a negative income tax liability, meaning the government will actually pay them.”)


Brian said...

This is a great piece Grant. The line - "Understandably, the size corresponded to the percentage of people who are paying vs. the percentage of those not paying" is really GREAT!!!
I e-mailed to a few of the boys! Keep it up man. Rome wasn't built in a day.

Silverback Trader said...

Thanks for the kind words. I'll do my best.