Paquin’s tax solution same old class warfare

Tue, 02/02/2010 - 4:24pm
By: Letters to the ...

I have read and enjoyed Claude Paquin articles in the past, but his last article (”Some bold tax suggestions for legislators”) disappoints.

He begins by giving three choices to balance the state budget: reduce expenses, increase revenues or a little of both, but he focuses entirely on increasing revenues.

This tells me that he believes that government should always have the money it deems necessary to achieve its goals.

We can easily see where that has gotten us nationally and where it will take us as a state. This nation is on an unstoppable path to bankruptcy. There is no way we can repay the debt we have incurred.

Paquin proposes that the state change its income and sales tax system. He states, “It (the income tax) overcharges low-income earners and gives too much of a free pass to million-dollar earners.”

That statement is more about class warfare than a better tax system.

He then goes on to give an example of New York state’s income tax of 12.5 percent to Georgia’s 6 percent in reference to Tom Glavine moving to New York to play with the Mets. Glavine didn’t have to complain because part of the largess of his contract was to offset the high income tax.

By the way, God bless Glavine for getting as much money as he could. Freedom has a way of letting that happen.

Also if you didn’t know, New York is almost $10 billion in debt and thinking of raising the taxes on high earners, and those earners are fleeing the state in droves.

Paquin’s specific proposal is, “I think it would be fair and wise to raise our Georgia income tax rate for annual incomes over $1 million to 10 percent, and to progressively increase the rate from 6 percent after $250,000.” Also, “It would be fair to change the point where 6 percent is charged from the $10,000 level where it is now, to perhaps $50,000.” Let’s look at three specific words to understand his stance.

Fair is defined as free from bias, injustice. It implies the treating of ALL sides alike, justly and equitably. I don’t believe this is how Paquin uses the word fair.

It seems to me that his definition of the word implies that some people have been dealt a bad hand in life and regardless of whether they are willing to work, God forbid, to overcome this bad hand, they are entitled to contribute less and receive more to ensure fairness and happiness.

Is it fair that those who take the most from the government contribute the least? Is it fair that some people that pay no income taxes get a tax refund? Is it fair that married couples pay more tax for the same income as single people? Is it fair that the federal government now wants to give a tax credit for child care to families where both parents work, but not to the family that has one parent stay home with the children?

This country was not founded on fairness. It was founded on liberty and the promise of equality. You cannot have fairness if you don’t have equality.

Wise can be defined as possessed of or characterized by scholarly knowledge or learning. I do believe this is how Paquin meant it to be understood. He follows the line begun by Plato that the general citizenry is too ignorant to understand what’s best for them, so a government of scholars/intellectuals is needed to tell them what is best for them.

The Progressives of the early 20th century were soaked in this belief and we can see it has continued today in the universities and the halls of Congress.

Finally, progressively is defined in taxation as greater taxes on larger bases of income. Nowhere is the class warfare horn louder than in the progressive income tax.

People who believe in this type of taxation have an unabashed jealousy of people who have achieved and been rewarded for their efforts. I believe people are entitled to as much compensation as they can get for their labor, with one exception: Those in Congress are robbing us in the bright sunshine for the salary they receive and in complete darkness with regulations and the tax code.

But there are much more convincing words than mine to reject a progressive tax system. These words come from Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in the “Communist Manifesto” in the list of measures needed to impose communist socialism, “A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.” Also there is the statement, “From each according to his means to each according to his needs.”

These forms of government/economics are on the “ash heap of history” and there they must remain.

In summary, Paquin believes that more people should be taken out of the asset (taxpayer) column and placed in the liability (government handout) column.

Paquin confuses me when speaking of the sales tax reform he would like. While he wants lower income people to pay no income tax, he wants them to pay more sales tax. While I don’t have a problem with returning the sales tax on groceries, in doing this he places additional costs on one of the basic necessities for low income people.

I use low income people instead of earners because while most people earn their income, way too many just wait for their government check every month.

I will plead ignorance of the fact that I don’t know if you have to pay sales tax when using food stamps.

Paquin says raise the gas tax. Sure, make it more costly for those low income earners to drive to work. Raise the cost of a driver’s license. Why not? Those low earners don’t need that $20, $30, $40 to pay any bills or take a child to the doctor. Unless he thinks people earning less than $50,000 should get theirs for free.

He also states that the sales tax is an income tax to a merchant. How so? The merchant simply collects this tax and passes it on to the state. The only way that it could be an income tax to the merchant, and this is a stretch, is the cost of labor (himself or his accountant) to the merchant to determine the amount of tax collected and send it to the state.

Quickly concerning the SPLOST, Paquin again believes you are too ignorant and government always knows better how to spend your money or fund your needs.

He concludes by saying that we need more qualified people running for office, and I heartily agree with him, but we first need a more informed/qualified voter. I will confess that in the past I haven’t paid as much attention as I should have to local and state candidates/issues. This I have changed and continue to do so.

The federal government got out of control because we didn’t pay attention to what was going on, and now they control more of our lives than our local or state governments. That is not how America, Georgia or even Peachtree City was set up and we have to change it.

I will close by saying that I don’t know Claude Paquin personally, but I am sure he is a good and decent man, and I always appreciate anyone’s views and opinions. I also don’t want to critique Mr. Paquin’s suggestions without offering at least one of my own.

I am a fervent supporter of the Fair Tax. Here, fair actually meets its definition. Without going deeply into the Fair Tax, it is the best and most efficient tax system put forth. Everyone pays the exact same amount of taxes when they purchase any new item, but with an added benefit to alleviate the tax on the basic necessities, mainly food. Everyone would receive at the first of the month the amount of tax that you pay on the basic necessities up to the federally established poverty level. Therefore, the poor would pay less for their food than they pay now. There’s much more to it, and I would be glad to answer any questions or you can go to

Georgia could do like many states and eliminate the income tax and go to a Fair Tax at the state level. These states are in much better fiscal shape than those with an income tax.

Matt O’Neal

Peachtree City, Ga.

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Submitted by Claude Y Paquin on Tue, 02/09/2010 - 11:49am.

My response to Matt O’Neal’s letter [Feb. 3] on solving the immediate fiscal needs of our state government is that the government owes its citizens the duty to protect them, and the citizens in turn have the duty to fund their government adequately. As the rich have more to protect than the poor, it’s appropriate they pay more. There’s no class warfare there, just logic.

It’s easy to go from rich to poor.

Ask the people who invested their life savings with Bernie Madoff, and who lost them because their government’s Securities and Exchange Commission failed to protect them.

Ask the people who saved and invested their retirement funds in 401k and other plans only to see them shrivel to insignificant amounts because of the meltdown that resulted from lack of proper regulatory oversight of banks and other financial institutions like AIG, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac by their government.

Ask the local people who invested in Wachovia Bank who saw their investment cut 90 percent when the housing and mortgage market cratered from lack of proper government oversight. Ditto for Synovus Financial in Columbus. For many other Georgia banks their investors’ loss was 100 percent.

Ask the people, including real estate lawyers, architects, engineers, developers, builders, craftsmen, landscapers and real estate agents who lost their source of income because the government had failed to procure and use the tools to keep the economy from cratering.

Ask the people who thought buying a home would be a wise and safe investment, and who saw their home’s value drop drastically and precipitously. The more so when their mortgage payments went up at the same time. And even more so when they lost their home altogether.

You can even ask the people who ingested contaminated peanut butter produced in Georgia who incurred physical pain and untold medical expenses, or funeral expenses, because their federal and state Departments of Agriculture failed to protect them.

Yes, it is easy to go from rich to poor. Many people are just one unexpected illness away from it. Bernie Madoff went from rich to poor pretty quickly himself, as it turns out.

Some people cannot rebound back, oftentimes on account of age or disability. People with mental impairments, disabled veterans, young children, these are all people in no position to “contribute.” To imply they are all moochers is beyond the pale. It takes a heck of a lot of nerve to denounce those who take their side as advocating communist socialism!

Seventeenth century physicians believed that bleeding their patients would improve their condition. Take my word for it, bleeding the government is no way to improve our condition.

There is no unabashed jealousy of people who have achieved and been rewarded for their efforts in imposing higher taxes on wealthier people. Their effort was sometimes just buying a lottery ticket, accepting an inheritance, or manipulating cronies they helped place on their corporate board of directors into handing them an extravagant bonus. They have the most to lose and the most to protect.

There are responsible wealthy people, like Warren Buffett, who act responsibly themselves and denounce the excesses of the marketplace. It is important that we not let the inmates take control of the asylum and that we restore sanity to our political process.

By the way, most modern intelligent people don’t bother reading Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels or the Communist Manifesto. They just know common sense, and ordinary decency, when they see it, and that’s probably why support for the victims of the Haiti earthquake has been so widespread. These people may have read Matthew 25:40 instead of Marx.

We need political figures with backbone, who resist and even denounce ideologues who promote greed at the expense of those who are defenseless and, might I say, blameless. There is such a thing as social responsibility.

Claude Y. Paquin

Matthew 25:40. The King will reply, I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.

Cyclist's picture
Submitted by Cyclist on Tue, 02/09/2010 - 12:59pm.

..citizens in turn have the duty to fund their government adequately.

So when the Guv's revenue stream is reduced, the "rich" have to make up the difference?

I'm curious, what is your definition of "rich"?

Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

NUK_1's picture
Submitted by NUK_1 on Tue, 02/09/2010 - 12:53pm.

All those examples of people going from "rich to poor" are rather happens, so what? The rich already pay more and that isn't in any way in dispute in what the letter writer had published. The point was whether they should pay even more, not whether we all need to hear a tedious lesson on people who have made fortunes and then lost a ton, who got disabled, who cheated the system, who had tough times,who had a hangnail, etc. And you wonder why the BOE and others didn't take you seriously enough years ago about SPLOST vs. Bonds? You totally go off on an unrelated tangent of a whole bunch of crap that dodges the basic premise of what the dude wrote in the first place and instead cast all these tales of woe that the poor common man endures. I think that's called LIFE.

Look, it's great that there are people like Warren Buffet who speak against the "excesses of the marketplace" and talks "social responsibility," but that's hardly a basis for sustainable economic policies. I guess in your very convoluted way you are saying that the rich need to paymore but are too afraid to be living in Fayette and express what is a very liberal idea. Just say it. It's a lot easier that paragraph after paragraph of some sob stories and much more direct and to the point that you want a lot of government regulation(of your choosing) and taxation. There, wasn't that easy?

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