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REVOLT!—Inflation, Taxes — The Vedic Observer

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REVOLT!—Inflation, Taxes, and Other Axes to Grind

by Jagajivana dasa

Can you trust the government to fight inflation, cut taxes, trim waste, and balance the budget?

Can you trust a rabbit to guard a lettuce patch?

Let’s think about it. How much can we trust a House and Senate who can spend $3.4 million on an ad campaign for the Postal Department—to get people to write more letters—and another three quarters of a million to find out whether the campaign worked? How much can we trust Washington’s “inflation fighters” when their chauffeuring expenses (illegal to begin with) cost the taxpayers $4.8 million a year? As for the government’s platoon of scientists and intellectuals, the “brain trust,” how much can we trust them to research inflation when they’re taking $500,000 to research why humans and monkeys sometimes grind their teeth, $40,000 to find out why spiders build webs near insects (the report is entitled “Spider Distribution Associated with Prey Density”), and $36,000 to study “Evolution of Song Learning in Parasitic Finches”?

Not to mention evolution of song and dance in parasitic humans. Economist Milton Friedman minces no words about where inflation comes from: “Government and government alone is the source of inflation. Nobody else is responsible for it.” As economist John Kamin confirms,

Government started inflation—through deficit financing and removal of all currency backing. Not one in one thousand knows what’s happening. The talk about “interest,” “labor,” “capital spending,” “housing starts,” etc., is smoke screen, inflation’s trappings.

Congressman Bud Schuster of Pennsylvania details the government’s tricks:

The Treasury does the only thing it can do, since the President and Congress made financial commitments in excess of their means…. The Treasury Department sells its bonds or notes to the Federal Reserve System, which … controls the supply of money… And get this—the Federal Reserve literally prints up more money on the government printing presses and pays it to the Treasury. . . . The Treasury then takes this new money and pays the government’s debts….

Three guesses where you’d end up if you tried to cover your family’s bills this way. But our leaders do it legally. Then they vote themselves inflation-proof salary hikes (as Congress did in 1975 and 1977) and leave us holding the bag—of increasingly worthless money. Just recently, Congress’s bipartisan Joint Economic Committee predicted that before 1990 a gallon of gas will cost us $5.60, and a loaf of bread will cost us $2.06.

Inflation is simply taxation. Sly, sneaky taxation. Afraid of increasing direct taxation (and spoiling their humanitarian image with the voters), our leaders spend at a deficit and slip their unbacked currency into the economy. And what’s more, after they’ve slipped us their bad money and siphoned off our buying power, we have to pay even higher taxes—inflation forces us to accept “higher wages” that move us into higher tax brackets.

Just through taxes alone, the government is already snatching 43.5 cents out of every dollar we earn. As U.S. News & World Report explains, personal income tax “is not the full measure of the impact that taxes have on the family budget … taxes levied on business are passed on to the consumer in the form of higher prices:’ Now, when you figure both direct and indirect (“passed-on”) taxation, then the average American pays the government every penny he earns from January 1 to the sixth of June. And when you add double-digit inflation—that sneaky tax—it turns out that we pay the government considerably more than half our wages. Back in the Middle Ages, a serf had to fork over some thirty to forty percent of the fruit of his labor to the lord of the manor. Now we’re forking over more than fifty percent to the government.

And here’s perhaps the nastiest trick of all—Social Security. As an understandably anonymous Social Security official admitted in 1965, “Continued general support for the Social Security system hinges on continued public ignorance of how the system works:’ At its inception, in 1935, the Social Security system bore the title “federal old age benefits,” and ever since, we’ve heard about those glorious “trust funds” that were awaiting us upon our retirement. But in 1937 the system’s own lawyers had to admit to the Supreme Court, “The [Social Security] Act creates no contractual obligation with respect to benefits.” The lawyers disclosed that the payments American workers make into the system “are true taxes, their purpose being simply to raise revenue. The proceeds are paid unrestricted into the Treasury as internal revenue collections, available for the general support of the government.” And do they use those proceeds. According to an official at the Bank for International Settlements, in Switzerland,

The U.S. government has borrowed every penny of the Social Security reserve and spent it. The workers’ cash was replaced by government bonds, which are merely the government’s IOU’s. Like the public gold in Fort Knox, their money is gone with the wind.

As the Wall Street Journal noted in November of 1977,

There is now $4.1 trillion in unfunded Social Security liabilities, almost $1 trillion in unfunded federal government pensions, and a few hundred billion in unfunded state and local pensions….

The Journal went on to say that if federal, state, and local governments are going to pay off all these promises,

… they are going to do it by taxing…. Nor is this something that is going to happen in the next century. Observe the Congress piling on Social Security tax rates. The future is now!

And they were right. On December 20, 1977, President Carter announced what the media heralded as “a Christmas present to Americans”—Social Security “reforms” that raise our taxes by $227 billion over the next ten years. For more than half of American workers, the bite for Social Security this year is more than for income taxes. How many of these workers have a clue that the government isn’t saving even a dime of their payments for them?

Consider our indebtedness. To start with, if Congress abolished Social Security right now, they would still have to come up with more than $4 trillion to pay the system’s present obligations. If we add to this sum the current National Debt of more than $800 billion, that means each of us—every man, woman, and child—owes more than $22,000. The way our indebtedness is expanding, by 1985 it will reach a devastating $6 trillion. As economist Richard Russell has noted, “. . . the U.S. has simply used up its capital. Everything, and I mean everything, is awash in debt. The cities and municipalities, the citizens, the corporations, the banks—all of it is ‘loaned out.” And many notable American institutions—such as New York City and Cleveland, Chrysler Corporation, and Franklin National Bank—are overextended to the point of bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, mainly to keep social welfare programs rolling (for fear of losing votes) and to keep those bankrupt institutions afloat, our representatives in Washington are spending—taxing us—at the rate of $1.5 billion a day.

Where Will It All End?

If we could graph the National Debt’s increasing cost to the taxpayers, it would look like a mountain climber’s route up the side of Mt. Everest. By 1982, says U.S. News & World Report, the National Debt will have reached $1 trillion, and the mere interest on the government’s spending spree will be $75 billion a year. Only the naive believe that the government is actually planning to pay its debts off. Either the debts will overwhelm us or our currency will become worthless. In 1974 Roy Ash, then Federal Budget Director, calculated that by the year 2000, combined federal-state-local “budget outlays”—taxes—will soak up 80 percent of our personal income. Of course, many people are hoping to solve our economic problems through “increased productivity.” But if you’re feeling bitter about keeping your shoulder to the wheel now—when the government is taking fifty percent—how will you feel when they’re taking eighty percent?

Like any other family whose members are facing bankruptcy, the composite family we call America has to trim needless expenditures and save money to pay off its debt. In a moment we’ll look at the mathematics of how we can get out of debt.

But first let’s look at the philosophy that forces us into debt. Our political and cultural leaders have sold us on the idea that this is our world and we’re here to enjoy it, that you only live once. Of course, it’s their world, too, and they’re here to enjoy it, too, because they only live once. Here’s the rub. With this philosophy, it’s only logical for the top dogs to tax us to death.

And as long as we go along with the philosophy of “It’s our world, we’re here to enjoy it, you only live once,” we’ll keep electing leaders who tax us to death. See, with this philosophy it becomes logical to cheat, and if we were the leaders, we’d quite possibly tax everybody else to death, too. It’s only logical. So while we have lots of axes to grind with a government of rank cheaters, if we really want to elect better leaders we’d better start sharpening another tool, the tool of transcendental insight, or Krsna consciousness.

What we’ve got to see is that this is actually the Supreme Lord’s world—it didn’t just get hereby accident—and we’re here simply to enjoy the reawakening of our long-forgotten relationship with Him. We don’t live only once. We live forever. But we have to keep coming back here forever—or at least until we realize that we’re not simply these material bodies, that we’re actually spirit souls and we have a relationship with the Supreme Spirit.

If we ignore our relationship with Lord Krsna, we have to stay in this world and be taxed, lifetime after lifetime, not only by the House and Senate but by repeated birth, old age, disease, and death. But with the tool of transcendental insight we can whittle away our ignorance—the ignorance by which we elect leaders who let slaughterhouses, breweries, casinos, and deficit spending interfere both with our natural obligations toward the Supreme Lord and with His natural arrangements for us. By regularly chanting the Hare Krsna mantra (the Lord’s holy names), we can finally start offering Him His due and gaining some small appreciation for His natural arrangements.

Speaking of arrangements: the economic mainstay of America (and the world) is the land, farming. Krsna made it that way. We can get food, clothing, and shelter from the products of the land, and we can use the rest of our time for discovering the science of self-realization and God conciousness. “Simple living, high thinking.”

What’s more, with Krsna’s continued blessings in the form of rainfall, America can use farming to get out of debt. Says Washington economist Dr. Hans Bickel, “By expanding our production 10 percent during each of the next dozen crop years (just as we did in 1974-1975), we can pay off the $66 billion we now owe to foreign governments.” Also, we can save the $750 million we pay farmers each year to let their land lie idle. (And we can feed many millions of the world’s hungry) Already we’re getting high yields in our major crops with large-scale machine farming, and U.S.D.A. experimental plots have proven that—again, with Krsna’s blessing in the form of rainfall—we can increase yields as much as 20 percent or more with intensive small-scale farming.

And through Krsna conscious small-scale farming we can at last stop the inflation-taxation spiral. As we’ve seen, inflation starts with deficit spending. So how are we going to stop inflation as long as we’re spending more than $250 billion—half the federal budget—to give a yearly feather-dusting to urban blight? If we really want to stop inflation, a good number of us will have to leave unproductive lives in urban centers for a new life in the country, in God conscious farming villages. And here’s another thing. Once we establish these self-sufficient rural co-ops, we can also eliminate the debts we owe to Social Security and various pension schemes. Of course, to make all this happen we’ll have to take it to heart that for people who are devoted to Him, the Supreme Lord guarantees all life’s necessities.

With substantially increased farm production and substantially reduced spending, by 1985 we can actually start paying off the government’s six-trillion-dollar debt. As Dr. Bickel confirms, “We can pay back $50 billion the first year and let our payments keep growing by $50 billion a year. That way, before the turn of the century we can be debt-free.”

And even now we can be free to live like human beings—instead of mice on a treadmill—free to grasp our eternal, spiritual identity and our eternal loving link with the Supreme Person. Instead of living against nature and paying excessive taxes to an all-consuming government, we can be living close to nature and paying extra attention to an all-compassionate God.

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