Je Vous Dis, Merde! 26: No Representation Without Taxation and No Taxation Without Compassion

As everyone knows, the triggering cause of the American Revolution was a cruelly oppressive and unfair system of taxation applied to the colonial Americans by a power external to them, namely 18th century British imperialists.

The rallying-cry of the American revolutionaries was:

no taxation without representation!

Now, roughly 250 years later, by means of a highly effective process of media-driven ideological thought-control, this revolutionary slogan has been twisted into:

no taxation if we can possibly avoid it!

But if you stop to reflect on this critically for a moment, the very idea of “no taxation if we can possibly avoid it!” is not only absurd, it is also scandalously immoral, in an era in which the richest 1% of the population possesses more wealth than the other 99% combined.

Taxation is the only means by which there can be a partial redistribution of the oppressively large wealth possessed by a few Americans, for the common good of all Americans.

In view of this, it is overwhelmingly obvious that in 2017, a cruelly oppressive and unfair system of taxation is being applied to 99% of Americans by a power external to them — namely the richest 1%, by means of the government they so effectively control, led by a greedy, ruthless billionaire, President Donald Trump.

This is decisively demonstrated by the Trump administration’s current budget proposal, which radically cuts spending for many social programs specifically designed to help Americans living in poverty, and other economically oppressed Americans, as well as radically cutting environmental protection, simply in order to increase defense spending, not to mention building Trump’s Great Wall, thereby benefiting arms manufacturers and other suppliers to the armed forces, thereby making the richest 1% even richer, and, at the same time, lowering the tax “burden” on that richest 1%.

Read this, and weep for what America has become—

***

The Key Spending Cuts and Increases in Trump’s Budget

By THE NEW YORK TIMES

MAY 22, 2017

The White House released more details of its federal budget proposal on Monday. It includes substantial cuts to Medicaid and other aid to the poor….

Spending cuts: $4.3 trillion over 10 years

Nondefense discretionary spending: $1.4 trillion

As outlined in March’s “skinny budget,” the proposal includes significant cuts to most nondefense government agencies. The Environmental Protection Agency would be cut by 31 percent for 2018 and the State Department and related programs by 29 percent, with additional 2 percent cuts each year after. Law enforcement and homeland security spending are exceptions — the budget includes $1.6 billion for a border wall.

….

Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program: $616 billion

Changes to Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program would save the federal government money, but would reduce the number of people with insurance. Medicaid savings are estimated at $610 billion over 10 years. The administration would shift some costs to the states, by setting annual limits on federal payments to each state, starting in 2020.

….

Welfare programs: $272 billion

The budget seeks to cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which provides food stamps, by $190 billion and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grants by $15.6 billion. It also proposes $40 billion in savings by barring undocumented immigrants from collecting the child care tax credit or the earned-income tax credit.

Repeal and replace Obamacare: $250 billion

Undoing the Affordable Care Act would save $250 billion over 10 years, according to the Trump administration, which promises “a smooth transition away from Obamacare.” (These savings are in addition to those proposed for Medicaid.)

Student loans: $143 billion

The Trump administration is proposing large cuts to the federal student loan program for low-income college students. The proposal eliminates federally subsidized loans, which pay students’ loan interest while they are in school, saving $39 billion. The budget would also eliminate the public service loan forgiveness program for nurses, police officers and teachers. The largest savings, about $76 billion, would come from creating a single student loan repayment plan based on income.

Government payments: $142 billion

The budget promises savings from reducing unspecified government payments through “actions to improve payment accuracy and tighten administrative controls.”

Disability programs: $72 billion

The budget would tighten access to Social Security’s disability program, counting $48 billion in savings from testing “new approaches to increase labor force participation.” The budget does not make changes to Social Security benefits for retirees, which along with Medicare is one of the primary drivers of the nation’s debt.

Retirement benefits for federal employees: $63 billion

Cutting retirement benefits to federal workers would save $63 billion over 10 years. It would be done by reducing the cost-of-living adjustment for retirees and by gradually increasing government employees’ contributions to their own retirement fund.

Farm bill programs: $38 billion

President Trump is proposing a cap on crop insurance premium subsidies and eliminating commodity payments and crop insurance for farmers with adjusted gross income above $500,000 a year.

….

Spending increases: $717 billion over 10 years

Discretionary defense spending: $469 billion

Mr. Trump is proposing a roughly 10 percent increase to the Pentagon’s base budget, with some of the money going toward new jets for the Air Force and ships for the Navy. The increase goes hand in hand with Mr. Trump’s proposal to cut foreign aid, including programs that military officials say contribute to global stability and are seen as important in avoiding future conflicts.

….

Claimed savings from economic growth: $2 trillion

The bulk of the savings in Mr. Trump’s budget come from “economic feedback” effects. The administration is projecting that its tax cuts and changes to welfare programs will spur significant economic growth and expand the work force, resulting in $2 trillion more in revenue than would have been generated under current law. The economy would need to grow at least 3 percent per year, a pace most economists say is unrealistic.

***

Therefore, I think that now is the time for a second American Revolution, and this time a progressive revolution, whose call-to-arms is:

no representation without taxation and no taxation without compassion!

In particular, this progressive revolution would include the following provisions:

1. Universal Basic Income (UBI):

· Anyone 21 years of age or over and living permanently in the USA, who has a personal yearly income of $50,000.00 USD or less, and who is capable of requesting their UBI, would receive $25,000.00 USD per year, with no strings attached.

2. A 15-Hour Workweek for Understaffed Non-Bullshit Jobs (FHW-for-UNBJs):

· Anyone 18 years of age or older who is living permanently in the USA, who has completed a high school education, and is mentally and physically capable of doing a job, would be offered an eco-job, paying a yearly wage of $25,000.00 USD, for fifteen hours of work (three 5-hour days) per week.

Thus anyone 21 years of age or older with a high-school degree and who is also mentally and physically capable of working, would have a guaranteed yearly income of at least $50,000.00 USD if they chose to do an eco-job.

3. Universal Free Healthcare (UFH):

· Every human person living permanently in the USA will receive free lifelong healthcare.

4. Compassionate Taxation (CT):

· Eco-job income is not taxed.

· For all individual yearly incomes of $50,000.00 USD or under, no tax will be levied; hence for someone receiving their UBI and also doing an eco-job, no income tax will be levied.

· For all individual non-eco-job incomes, for every $1.00 USD earned above the standard UBI of $25,000.00 USD, the UBI stipend is reduced by 50 cents, until the recipient’s UBI is reduced to zero; hence for those individuals with yearly non-eco-job incomes equal to or under $50,000.00 USD, the maximum UBI + non-eco-job income sum is always $50,000.00 USD.

· For all individual yearly incomes over $50,000.00 USD, for every $10,000.00 USD earned, that surplus income is taxed at the rate of 1%, with the highest surplus income tax rate being 50%; hence the maximum surplus 50% tax rate starts at individual yearly incomes of $550,000.00 USD, and applies to all higher surplus incomes.

***

In short, although everyone who earns more than $50,00.00 USD per year would also be asked to contribute to the common good of all Americans, proportionally to their means, in view of the fact that the richest 1% possess more wealth than the other 99% put together and have gained that wealth at everyone else’s expense, that richest 1% also should, as a matter of compassion to everyone else, contribute at least half of their oppressively large incomes to the common good, in order to help fund UBI, FHW-for-UNBJs/eco-jobs, and UFH, as well as the other programs described below.

And in this way, the second American Revolution will finally complete the tragically unfinished business of the first American Revolution.

For then and only then will 99% of Americans be finally liberated from the cruel and unfair system of taxation that now oppresses them.

And as always, to anyone who says that this is impossible or just can’t be done,

Je vous dis, merde!

***

“Je vous dis, merde!” (literally, “I say to you: shit!” or more loosely, “You’re so full of shit!”) is a morally and politically defiant slogan invented and first published by an early 20th-century Catalan anarchist who used the nom de guerre “Miguel Almereyda.” Almereyda, who was murdered in a French prison in 1917, was also the father of the famous French film director Jean Vigo, who immortalized the same slogan in his breakthrough 1933 film, Zéro de conduite, aka Zero for Conduct.

Here is the seven-part platform of The Wake The Fuck Up! Party , aka The WTFU Party, aka Up Against the Wall, Philosophy-Fucker!, aka UAW/PF —

1. Universal Respect for Human Dignity (URHD):

· Human dignity is the absolute non-denumerable moral value of every member of humanity, and everyone ought to try wholeheartedly to treat everyone else in a way that is sufficient to meet the demands of respect for human dignity, especially including (i) alleviating or ending human oppression, and (ii) actively engaging in mutual aid and mutual kindness.

2. Universal Basic Income (UBI):

· Anyone 21 years of age or over and living permanently in the USA, who has a personal yearly income of $50,000.00 USD or less, and who is capable of requesting their UBI, would receive $25,000.00 USD per year, with no strings attached.

3. A 15-Hour Workweek for Understaffed Non-Bullshit Jobs (FHW-for-UNBJs):

· Anyone 18 years of age or older who is living permanently in the USA, who has completed a high school education, and is mentally and physically capable of doing a job, would be offered an eco-job, paying a yearly wage of $25,000.00 USD, for fifteen hours of work (three 5-hour days) per week.

Thus anyone 21 years of age or older with a high-school degree and who is also mentally and physically capable of working, would have a guaranteed yearly income of at least $50,000.00 USD if they chose to do an eco-job.

The rationale behind the three-year gap between (i) being offered an eco-job at 18 and (ii) beginning to receive their UBI at 21, is that every young adult who has finished high school will have the option of pursuing three years of part-time or full-time free higher education without credentialing, i.e., for its own sake, after high school, before making longer-term decisions about what I call job-work and life-work.

***

Here are a few more details about UBI and eco-jobs.

(i) The UBI is to be paid by a monthly stipend check.

(ii) Eco-job income is not taxed.

(iii) For all individual yearly incomes of $50,000.00 USD or under, no tax will be levied; hence for someone receiving their UBI and also doing an eco-job, no income tax will be levied.

(iv) For all individual non-eco-job incomes, for every $1.00 USD earned above the standard UBI of $25,000.00 USD, the monthly UBI stipend is reduced by 50 cents, until the recipient’s UBI is reduced to zero; hence for those individuals with yearly non-eco-job incomes equal to or under $50,000.00 USD, the maximum UBI + non-eco-job income sum is always $50,000.00 USD.

(v) For all individual yearly incomes over $50,000.00 USD, for every $10,000.00 USD earned, that surplus income is taxed at the rate of 1%, with the highest surplus income tax rate being 50%; hence the maximum surplus 50% tax rate starts at individual yearly incomes of $550,000.00 USD, and applies to all higher surplus incomes.

***

4. Universal Free Higher Education Without Credentialing (HEWC):

· Everyone would be offered, beyond their high-school education, a free, three-year minimum, optional (but also open-ended beyond those three years, as a further option), part-time or full-time universal public education program in the so-called “liberal arts,” and also in some of the so-called “STEM” fields, including the humanities, the fine arts, the social sciences, mathematics, and the natural sciences.

· For many or even most people, their HEWC would fall between (i) the end of their high school education at age 18 and the corresponding availability of eco-jobs, and (ii) the beginning of their UBI at age 21.

· But HEWC would be open to anyone with a high school degree, no matter how old they are, provided they are mentally and physically capable of doing the program.

5. Universal Free Healthcare (UFH):

· Every human person living permanently in the USA will receive free lifelong healthcare.

6. 2-Phase Universal Open Borders (2P-UOB):

· Phase 1: Starting in 2021, there will be universal open borders with Canada and Mexico, and everyone who moves across those borders and then claims residence in the USA, will receive temporary or permanent residence in the USA and also full membership in the system of UBI, FHW-for-UNBJs/eco-jobs, and UFH in the USA, with the precise number of new temporary or permanent residents to depend on the current availability of (i) adequate funding for UBI, eco-jobs, and UFH , and (ii) adequate living accommodation, in the USA, provided that all new residents also fully respect the human dignity of everyone else in the USA and elsewhere in the world.

· Phase 2: Also starting in 2021, the USA, Canada, and Mexico will collectively form a Global Refugee Consortium (GRC), with three-way open borders to any political refugee, economic refugee, or asylum seeker from anywhere in the world (aka “global refugees”), who will receive temporary or permanent residence in the USA, Canada, or Mexico, and also full membership in the system of UBI, FHW-for-UNBJs/eco-jobs, and UFH in the three GRC countries, with the precise number of new temporary or permanent residents, and the precise distribution of new residents among the three members of the GRC, to depend on the current availability of (i) funding for UBI, eco-jobs, and UFH , and (ii) adequate living accommodation, in the three GRC countries, provided that all new residents also fully respect the human dignity of everyone else in the GRC and elsewhere in the world.

7. Universal No-Guns (UNG):

· No one in the USA, including police, internal security forces of all kinds, armies, and intelligence forces of all kinds, has the moral right to possess or use guns of any kind, for any purpose whatsoever, because the primary function of guns is coercion, and coercion is immoral.

· UNG would be implemented by repealing the Second Amendment to the US Constitution in 2021 and then universally banning the possession or use of guns thereafter.

I’m also assuming that Universal Public Education (UPE) — universal free access for all human persons of any age to good public education up to the end of high school — already exists in most countries, and needs no further justification.

Where UPE does not already exist, it would automatically become a necessary part of the seven-part WTFU Party package, thereby making it a eight-part package.

Mr Nemo, Nowhere, NA, 26 May 2017

The WTFU Party is a sub-project of the online mega-project Philosophy Without Borders, which is home-based on Patreon here.

Formerly Captain Nemo. A not-so-very-angry, but still unemployed, full-time philosopher-nobody.

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