Patriotic mask conceals politician’s intentions

Published 9:54 am Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Vice President Joe Biden was widely criticized for saying “Paying taxes is patriotic.” This is old news, but a politician’s position on this subject is very relevant in the upcoming elections.

Collectively we have an enormous debt and annual budget deficits; our debt threatens our future, economy and national security.

Many argue that they should not be expected to pay this debt because their prior or current taxes are not spent in a way they feel is or was responsible.

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We hear everything from unnecessary wars to paying for lazy parasites as justification not to directly tackle this problem.

Certainly wise spending is a priority, but we must agree that prior or current reckless spending is not justification to ignore this dilemma.

This is not a condemnation on our current administration’s handling of the near financial collapse, health care reform or any other policy.

This is a call to begin the return to budget surpluses ASAP. Due to various opinions and complexities of spending priorities, I am only addressing revenue in this letter.

Tax fairness should be the goal and there are many myths concerning

which group pays the most. The most can be defined in different ways, one can speak literally of the most money paid or may be speaking of the largest percentage as it relates to income.

Often times a company touts taxes paid and are speaking of taxes collected on the sale of goods or services as if this reflects their own tax burden.

Many “multinational” companies benefit from the infrastructure in developed countries like the U.S., but claim the profits in lesser developed, low tax countries to avoid their share of our collective financial burden.

This practice does not fit into my understanding of patriotism, even when these same companies use red, white and blue along with other patriotic references in their advertising.

Another tax that is misrepresented is the so called “death tax.” The disingenuous argument that usually follows this is a claim that it is unfair to “tax money again after you die.”

My understanding of patriotism would require politicians to honestly address that most of the money taxed in the estate tax is actually untaxed capital gains.

It is also unpatriotic to misrepresent the taxes paid by middle and lower income citizens.

One must perform considerable mathematical gymnastics to show where the average millionaire pays a higher percentage than a person earning $50,000 a year.

Warren Buffet’s position on this matter does fit into my understanding of patriotism. He points out the fundamental problem of a tax structure that allows him to pay a 17.7 percent tax rate while his employees pay an average of 32.9 percent.

Vice President Joe Biden was right on this one. His statement may not have been politically savvy, but a true statesman often has positions that do not fit neatly into the majority feelings of the day.

Paying taxes is patriotic. Misrepresenting our citizens contributions, hiding profits, misinforming and enraging the electorate with distortions for political gain is unpatriotic.

There is a difference between a mask and a face. Be on guard for anyone wearing a patriotic mask.

Glenn Bennett

Catlettsburg, Ky.