To The Daily Sun,
Your letter writer, Mr. Jon Hoyt of Plymouth, appears to be under the impression that there is a free lunch. I thought that all intelligent adults knew that this is not possible. If I were to take Mr. Hoyt to lunch and pay for his meal, he would get fed at no cost to himself, but the meal would not be free. It would have been paid for by someone else (me). If he truly believes that such a lunch would be free then he is either in denial or ignorant of basic economics.
Everything has to be paid for by someone. When President Obama announces "free" college education and "free pre-K" (a euphemism for free day care) those things may be "free" to those who avail themselves of these freebies, but they will be paid for by other people (taxpayers). Mr. Hoyt likes to say "government" but that word is actually a euphemism for "taxpayers".
As a taxpayer, I don't have a problem in helping support the very old or the very young or those who are truly physically or mentally disabled. However, as a single person who worked full-time for 53 years and now has the amazing sum of $972 a month in Social Security to live on (which I paid for all those years), I cringe whenever I encounter a younger person who has never worked but is living rent free, with free medical benefits and the opportunity to go to school for free.
Mr. Hoyt also claims that nothing has been done to prevent U.S. citizens from "hiding" money in offshore accounts. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In the last few years, the U.S. government has brought in stringent laws that make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for U.S. citizens to benefit from investing overseas. In years gone by, income that was earned overseas by U.S. citizens was subject to the taxes of the country in which it was earned. Now all income earned by U.S. citizens anywhere in the world, is subject to taxation by the IRS. In addition, the U.S. government now requires that foreign banks handling money for U.S. citizens report those dealings to the IRS or face punitive fines. (Several Swiss banks have recently paid fines in the billions of dollars for handling the accounts of U.S. citizens and not divulging them to the U.S. government.) It has become extremely difficult for U.S. citizens to have offshore accounts and many former tax havens such as Switzerland, Luxembourg and Panama will only handle huge accounts (in the hundreds of millions) because of the expense involved in handling smaller amounts. (Read the book "Where to Stash Your Cash Legally" by Robert E. Bauman JD, a former Senator for Maryland.)
Truth be told, for U.S. citizens it is impossible to hide money. Unless someone renounces their U.S. citizenship, and moves abroad, any income they earn, anywhere in the world, will be taxed by the IRS. The reason for these extreme actions is because our government is currently bringing in about $5 billion a day in taxes but spending $11 billion. They are desperate for money and will apparently go to extreme lengths to get it. Apparently, they have decided that income earned by U.S. citizens belongs to the U.S. government and they are entitled to take as much of it as they see fit.
Mr. Hoyt, like so many people who think as he does, apparently does not see any correlation between wages and prices. As someone who worked two jobs to put myself and my husband through college I know how hard it is. (After my divorce I had to work three jobs to support myself and my children.) But paying unskilled entry-level people more than they deserve does a major disservice to all those who strive to better themselves. If there is no incentive to strive, most (but, fortunately, not all) people won't strive any harder to achieve better than minimum wage.
From experience I can tell you that in Australia, where minimum wage is approximately $16 an hour, a breakfast sandwich costs about $12 (as opposed to $4 here). I hear Americans all the time complaining about how expensive it is to travel in Europe. In Switzerland, where there isn't actually an official minimum wage, just a recommended minimum, it's hard to find anyone who earns less than about $50,000 a year. But a 6-ounce cup of coffee costs about $6.50 in U.S. money, and a plain salad works out to about $15 U.S. Anyone who does not see the correlation between wages and prices is living in Cloud Cuckoo Land. Every time the government promises a new "freebie" it means that those of us who are not benefiting from it are paying for it.
Anyone with a knowledge of history knows that in the French and Russian revolutions, well-to-do and aristocratic people were butchered and their property confiscated, supposedly to benefit the lower echelons of society. The result in France was that there was another revolution in 1830, and in the case of Russia, (USSR) Stalin instituted programs that caused people to be murdered in the millions, to reduce the population, because the government could not live up to its promise of a good life for all its citizens unless the population was lowered. And of course life was never good for Soviet citizens, unless they were in the ruling class.
Every time the government hands out a "freebie" somebody's taxes increase. Mr. Hoyt apparently doesn't see that, or else he thinks we are all as wealthy as he is and a few more thousand dollars a year in taxes won't be a problem.
Adam Smith was right when he stated that wealth has to be created. Robbing the rich to help the poor has no long term benefits. The government cannot continue to raise taxes ad infinitum, on those who are earning to support those who are not.
Unlike Mr. Hoyt, I do not want to see Senator Ayotte defeated in the next election. Although I do not see eye-to-eye with her on some issues, she at least has enough common sense to know how the world works.
There is no free lunch.
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