Friday, January 4, 2013

I'm Done.

I’m done. Done with politics. Done with politicians. Done with Democrats. Done with Republicans. Done with our political system. It’s dysfunction is irredeemable.

There is nobody in government with anything approaching real power who represents my interests. Oh, lots of them say that they represent my interests, but when it comes time to vote they all vanish into thin air. What are my interests? Good question. Here’s a short list:

1. I want a simple, straight forward tax system. If my government wants me to pay more, that’s fine. I’m a patriot, I can handle it. Give me a flat tax rate, eliminate all the million and a half deductions and exemptions and credits, schedules, accounting gimmicks, and the blizzard of forms required to legally pay the taxes I owe. All of that complexity only empowers accountants and the very politicians who make the rules. It also allows them to insert 11th hour credit gifts to preferred constituents to even the most innocent piece of legislation under the cover of darkness, thinking we don’t know what they are doing. Tax breaks for Hollywood and Nascar in the fiscal cliff bill?? This type of chicanery only serves to embitter the citizen, and justify our cynicism.

2. Once my government sets my tax rate and I legally comply with the law and pay my taxes, I want my government to operate within the restraints of the revenue that they take in. The dominate party in Washington right now has convinced themselves through arcane economic theory that spending 1 trillion dollars more than you bring in every year for eternity doesn’t matter, that government spending is so vital, so indispensable, it must continue unabated, regardless of revenue. Every American family instinctively understands that this is impossible with regards to their own budgets, but enough of them think that it’s perfectly fine for the government’s budget. This is the ultimate victory of Keynesian economic theory…the death of mathematics. The other party in Washington is even worse on this issue since they claim to be concerned with deficits but have yet to offer a plan that eliminates them before 2045.

3. I want my government to spend less money, not simply slow the rate at which they increase spending every year. There are several ways to do this, but the quickest way would be to drastically downsize the military. Sure we need a military force to protect us from bad guys, but something tells me that we don’t need to be in 200 foreign countries, doing God knows what. Maybe we can afford to do away with the National Helium Reserve, stuff like that.

None of anything I’ve just written matters because it’s never going to happen. Money is power, and both of them live in Washington DC. Nobody in that town is willing to give up one penny of the money or one molecule of the power.

Accordingly, for the rest of my life, my job will be to live my life and conduct my affairs in such a way as to minimize my interaction with that government. I need to find ways to avoid as much conflict with them as possible. Keep my head down, my nose clean, and protect myself and my family from whatever the dysfunctional future may bring. This doesn’t mean I drop off the grid and move to Montana. It means that I no longer have confidence in the ability of my government to properly function, so I must increasingly look out for myself. In ten years time when I’m eligible to collect on the Social Security that I have contributed to for 45 years, it will be means tested so I would have to live 75 years in retirement to get back what I paid in. But at least in ten years I’ll have free health care, paid for with what will by then be a 55% federal tax rate. So I can look forward to a health care system run and administrated by the same government that brought me the Post Office. But other than those two points of unavoidable contact, I plan on building as much independence into the rest of my life as I can.

I’m done.