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The Powers to Raise and to Spend Taxes (Liberal Libertarians Discussion Topic #01)

In Boston Tea Party, Charles Jay, Congress, Corruption, Democracy, Economics, Fraud, History, Law, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Politics, Pork, Spending, Taxation, Thomas L. Knapp, US Government, War on April 15, 2009 at 7:29 pm

The single greatest factor behind the rise and development of the English Parliament was taxation. What very quickly developed, and what lasted until the British Monarchy lost its functional power as a part of government and became a marginalized figurehead position (which happened over the course of the 1800s) was that the power to SPEND tax money was separated from the power to RAISE tax money. Under that system, only Parliament could RAISE tax money but only the Monarch could SPEND tax money. If the Monarch wanted to spend anything (for wars, his houses and mistresses, public building projects, anything) they had to convince Parliament to raise the necessary tax monies and give those money to him 9or her). Likewise, if Parliament wanted money spent on anything in particular, they had to convince the Monarch to agree to spend raised money in such ways. The inherent conflict within the system required negotiation and compromise from both sides. Sometimes one side would be more powerful than the other and would dictate to the other. Likewise, Kings would often not actually spend money as they agreed to. THOSE situations would lead to further conflicts in the future. Sometimes the Monarchs would simply get sick of their Parliaments and would dismiss them and not call another to replace it, but then the King could not raise any money. In those situations, the losers would usually be the common people who were hurt by both sides.

One of the main sources of conflicts between Monarchs and Parliaments (as in ALL nations) was the exorbitant costs of the wars which the Monarchs would want to fight. Because of the unique circumstances of both WWII and the Viet Nam war, Americans now think that wars create profit. They do not. Wars are and always have been burdensome drains on the public coffers. Monarchs want wars for various reasons, but those wars HAVE to be paid for… even in a dictatorship… and, historically, most wars bankrupt their nations as well as the other nations involved. Look at the current situation with our undeclared wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Let’s not even get into the cost to human life or to property, let us just look at the actual fiscal cost to fight them, clean them up, care for our veterans afterwards, intelligence… all of it. The problem is, in America, because of the way the power to raise and spend tax monies is allocated, the dialogue is usually focused on questioning the patriotism of those who disagree with one side; on attempts to gain power by individuals, parties, factions, ideologies or branches of government; or is hurting our ability to deal with OTHER national priorities by saying we can’t question the money we spend on our wars so we cut the pennies in order to be able to keep throwing away the dollars.

So… in all of the discussion we hear these days about taxes, we are still simply talking about the ‘symptom’ of actual taxation rather than trying to explore the root causes of the actual problems. To ME, the issue is not whether or not taxes are too high, or if they are properly spent, it is that there is no incentive or system in place to DISCOURAGE spending OR raising tax money. If you give the people who have the power to SPEND your money the additional power of determining how MUCH of your money they can take you have the fox guarding the hen house. To me, before we talk about the very real issues of tax codes and policies in America, we need to talk about the basic powers involved in the fundamental issue of taxation.

Here is my personal idea, to start the ball rolling:

01.) ONLY The House of Representatives should have the power to RAISE tax monies. The functions of government which deal with raising and accounting for the expenditures of those monies should be placed under the authority of The House… the people’s house of government. I think that the IRS is the wrong organization for our nation but before it can be dismantled, we need to figure out something to take its place because its ROLE is, and will be necessary. We can NOT destroy something which has such a key role in the operation of our government (whether it SHOULD or should NOT HAVE that role is irrelevant… it does and it must be dealt with as a reality). The House should be completely in charge of our nation’s checking and savings account. This would result in Representatives keeping THEIR jobs in large part based on how they keep taxes low.

02.) ONLY the Senate should have the power to SPEND tax monies. The functions of government which deal with purchasing, contracting, supervising, etc. the expenditures of those monies should be placed under the authority of The Senate. The Senate should be completely in charge of our nation’s checkbooks, passbooks, and ATM cards. This would result in Senators keeping THEIR jobs in large part based on how much swag they can send back home.

03.) The President should be the mediator that coordinates the efforts of the two house of Congress and makes the deals. The President would also be the one who would make sure that all agreements between the two houses on both the raising AND the spending of tax monies would be followed to the letter. The President would be the one who makes sure that every side is honest with the other. The President would also be the one who signs off on all agreements (budgets) and certifies them as satisfying all sides and being in the best interest of the American people.

04.) All three parties involved (The House, The Senate and The Executive Branch) would have complete and unrestricted access to all records, notes, documents, EVERYTHING made or kept by any of the other parties regarding ANY issue regarding or relating to taxes. Further, all finalized, ratified and signed budgets and expenditure agreements shall have full force as LAWS for their durations and any violations of any parts if those agreements and budgets can be prosecuted as such, with the individuals responsible for those violations… ALL individuals at ALL levels up and down the ‘food chain’… being PERSONALLY accountable and liable for those violations (whether it is a Senator, the members of a specific committee, or a clerk who signs a check… EVERYONE is accountable and THUS has the motivation to be honest and above board about all actions and decisions regarding taxes).

05.) All three parties involved (The House, The Senate and The Executive Branch) would create a non-partisan, non-governmental committee or board, to which they will all appoint an equal number of members, which has the power and authority to review and mediate all agreements and violations and to make final and binding non-partisan decisions regarding the same when there are ANY questions about or challenges to finalized agreements or budgets which deal with tax monies and their expenditures. Each state would also get to choose one or two members of this board. Obviously all of the exact details would need to be carefully studied and worked out.

06.) SOMEHOW, The Federal Reserve and The National Bank (and any other such relevant entities) would be brought back under full federal control and incorporated into this who system… somehow.

No matter what our own personal and unrealistic idealistic vision of our government is, taxes are real, they are not going to go away and they ARE necessary. What WE need to do is to try to figure out how to make the system work better and fairer so that it can be a positive factor in our society rather than one which puts us at each others. throats.

Ok, those are my initial thoughts. What can anyone else contribute? How can anyone else make these ideas better or give us different ideas which are better? What can we do with this?

Recommended Readings for people interested in this topic are:

1.)For Good and Evil (Second Edition): The Impact of Taxes on the Course of Civilization
By: Charles Adams (Tax Scholar and Historian, Cato Institute Fellow) http://www.amazon.com/Good-Evil-Second-Impact-Civilization/dp/1568332351/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1224912619&sr=1-1

2.)Those Dirty Rotten taxes: The Tax Revolts that Built America
By: Charles Adams (Tax Scholar and Historian, Cato Institute Fellow) http://www.amazon.com/Those-Dirty-Rotten-taxes-Revolts/dp/0684871149/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1238470625&sr=1-1

Rhys M. Blavier
Romayor, Texas

© 2009 by Rhys M. Blavier

Thank you for reading this article. Please read my other articles and let me know what you think. I am writing them not to preach or to hear myself think but to try to create dialogs, debates and discussions on the nature of our government and how we can build upon and improve it based on what we have seen and learned over the course of the 225 years of The American Experiment.

To discuss this topic, the discussion thread is going on here: http://blavier.newsvine.com/_news/2009/04/15/2688338-the-powers-to-raise-and-to-spend-taxes-liberal-libertarian-discussion-topic-01

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Libertarian rumor mill item: Tom Knapp

In Activism, Boston Tea Party, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Politics, Thomas L. Knapp on November 5, 2008 at 10:59 pm

An interesting little domain factoid:

Domain Name: KNAPP2012.COM
  Registrar: GODADDY.COM, INC.
  Whois Server: whois.godaddy.com
  Referral URL: http://registrar.godaddy.com
  Name Server: NS421.HOSTGATOR.COM
  Name Server: NS422.HOSTGATOR.COM
  Status: clientDeleteProhibited
  Status: clientRenewProhibited
  Status: clientTransferProhibited
  Status: clientUpdateProhibited
  Updated Date: 05-nov-2008
  Creation Date: 24-jun-2006
  Expiration Date: 24-jun-2009

Does this mean that Tom Knapp is considering a presidential run in 2012? 

He certainly has respect within the libertarian movement, and of course he is the founder of the Boston Tea Party.  Could he be looking toward a possible LP/BTP fusion candidacy?  Only time (and Tom) can tell.

Boston Tea Party convention starts this evening

In Activism, Boston Tea Party, Candidate Endorsement, Libertarian, Politics, Thomas L. Knapp on October 24, 2008 at 8:39 pm

The Boston Tea Party starts its online convention this evening (Friday, October 24th) at 9pm ET.  The party will be voting in new officers, as well as voting upon various proposals.

The convention continues for 24 hours, and ends on Saturday, October 24th at 8:59pm ET.  If candidates and proposals are not resolved pursuant to their Bylaws, futher polling cycles will start, each running 24 hours, until a final candidate / proposal decision is made.  

I am excited to note that some of our most respected LFV contributors – including George Donnelly and Thomas Knapp – are running for BTP office.  

Tom Knapp is of course also the founder of the Boston Tea Party, and in my opinion showed excellent logic, temperament, and leadership ability in his handling of a controversy which recently resulted in the resignation of multiple BTP officers and officer candidates.  I therefore very highly endorse Tom Knapp, as he has proven his ability to handle any situation which may arise, no matter how delicate or controversial.

Additionally, a couple of other BTP candidates are also well known to LFV readers, including Jason Gatties (a longtime contributor who took a break to work on his local political campaign) and Steve Newton (“Delaware Libertarian”, whose writing has regularly appeared on LFV with his permission).

The current Chair is not running for reelection, and the Vice Chair recently resigned along with multiple At-Large Representatives.  Interestingly, as a result, the only incumbent is Michelle Luetge for Secretary.

Both Chair candidates have BTP blogs, which you can read to get a feel for both candidates.

You can read Jason Gatties’ BTP blog.

Here is George Donnelly’s BTP blog.

I was especially impressed to see that Jason Gatties actually nominated George Donnelly to run against him, in the belief that competition will only make the party stronger.  What a great attitude!  Either Jason or George would be excellent as Chair, in my opinion, so the BTP is lucky to have them as candidates. 

In the meantime, here is the election information from the BTP website, which (thanks to Tom Knapp!) LFV readers are the very first to see.

Per the bylaws, each member may vote for one candidate for each office; polls repeat as necessary until either one candidate, or NOTA, receives a majority. Each polling cycle runs 24 hours, beginning at 9pm Eastern, October 24th, 2008. Human candidates listed in alphabetical order by last name.

Chair
George Donnelly
Jason Gatties
None of the Above

Vice-Chair
Douglass Gaking
Matty Grossman
None of the Above

Secretary
Michelle Luetge
None of the Above

Election of At-Large National Committee Members

Per the bylaws, at-large national committee members are elected by “approval voting.” Each member may cast one vote for each candidate whom that member supports; the four candidates who receive the most votes are elected. Because of technical issues (no “approval voting” module available for this version of the site’s software), each candidate appears in a separate poll. YOU MUST VOTE IN A SEPARATE POLL FOR EACH CANDIDATE WHOM YOU SUPPORT IF YOU WANT THAT SUPPORT TO COUNT. These polls remain open for the duration of the convention. Human candidates listed in reverse alphabetical order by last name.

Candidates
Steve Trinward
Neil Kiernan Stephenson
Darryl W. Perry
Steve Newton
Andrew Martin
Thomas L. Knapp
Bill Jones
Matty Grossman

Bylaws Proposals (from committee)

This space will link to bylaws amendments recommended by the national committee/bylaws committee for polling. Each member may cast one vote (“yes” or “no”) on adoption of each proposal. Per the bylaws, polling on these proposals will last 24 hours, beginning at the opening of the convention, with with 2/3 or more of voting members’ support required to adopt an amendment.

Committee Bylaws Proposal #1

The Bylaws Committee proposes a change to Article 9, Section h, which states,

“Any action of the National Committee may be appealed by Party members comprising 5% or more of the membership, said appeal to be transmitted or called to the attention of both the Chair and the Secretary. In the case of such appeal, the appeal shall be published to the Party’s web site and the Party’s membership shall be polled on the question of whether to sustain or uphold the Committee’s action to suspend. The poll shall open within 10 days of the appeal’s publication, and shall remain open for 10 days. The National Committee’s action shall be overturned by a vote of 2/3 or more among voting members.”

The change would be the section which says “5% or more of the membership” to “5 or more party members,” so that the complete section will be as follows:

“Any action of the National Committee may be appealed by Party members comprising 5 or more party members, said appeal to be transmitted or called to the attention of both the Chair and the Secretary. In the case of such appeal, the appeal shall be published to the Party’s web site and the Party’s membership shall be polled on the question of whether to sustain or uphold the Committee’s action to suspend. The poll shall open within 10 days of the appeal’s publication, and shall remain open for 10 days. The National Committee’s action shall be overturned by a vote of 2/3 or more among voting members.”

(the changed section is in bold)

Committee Bylaws Proposal #2

The Bylaws Committee proposes the addition of Article 8, Section i:

“Officers of the National Committee may serve no more than two consecutive terms in the same national party office.”

Committee Bylaws Proposal #3

The Bylaws Committee proposes the addition of Article 9, Section i:

“National Committee members, under any circumstances, are strictly prohibited from working for the party’s nominated Presidential or Vice-Presidential candidates in a public, official capacity while serving their terms on the National Committee. Officers who wish to engage in such activity shall either resign their seats from the National Committee or recuse themselves from an official public and political capacity while serving on the Board.

“1) Official capacity is defined as any campaign officer, manager or coordinator of campaign activities, any person listed in campaign web sites or documents as member of the campaign, and anyone otherwise involved with the national campaign in a paid or voluntary capacity.

“2) Other activities such as assisting with ballot access in a voluntary capacity, donating personally to a campaign, and promoting the campaign as an individual supporter are acceptable.

“3) Members of the National Committee may run for the party’s nomination for President or Vice President. While running for the party’s nomination, National Committee members must recuse themselves from all voting in any National Committee decisions until after the nomination is complete. If nominated to run for national office, a member of the National Committee must resign from the committee.”

Bylaws Proposals (from the membership)

After the adoption or rejection of the national committee/bylaws committee’s proposals, bylaws proposals shall be solicited from the membership in a post linked to from this space. Proposals shall be submitted via the appended comment form, and polls shall be linked to from this space. Each proposal moved and seconded in this manner, within 24 hours of the solicitation posting, shall be considered concurrently with all others, with proposal polls open for 24 hours. Each proposal receives the support of 2/3 or more of the voting members shall be deemed adopted.

Program Proposals (from committee)

This space will link to program points recommended by the national committee/program committee for polling. Each member may cast one vote (“yes” or “no”) on adoption of each point. Per the bylaws, polling on these points will last 24 hours, beginning at the opening of the convention, with 2/3 or more of voting members’ support required to adopt a program point. If fewer than five program points are adopted, the floor will be open for member proposal of additional points.

Committee Point Proposal #1

Foreign Policy: The Iraq War must end as quickly as possible with removal of all our soldiers from the region. We must initiate the return of our soldiers from around the world, including Korea, Japan, Europe and the entire Middle East. We must cease the war propaganda, threats of a blockade and plans for attacks on Iran, nor should we re-ignite the cold war with Russia over Georgia. We must be willing to talk to all countries and offer friendship and trade and travel to all who are willing. We must take off the table the threat of a nuclear first strike against all nations.

Committee Point Proposal #2

Privacy: We must protect the privacy and civil liberties of all persons under US jurisdiction. We must repeal or radically change the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, and the FISA legislation. We must reject the notion and practice of torture, elimination of habeas corpus, secret tribunals, and secret prisons. We must deny immunity for corporations that spy willingly on the people for the benefit of the government. We must reject the unitary presidency, the illegal use of signing statements and excessive use of executive orders.

Committee Point Proposal #3

The National Debt: We believe that there should be no increase in the national debt. The burden of debt placed on the next generation is unjust and already threatening our economy and the value of our dollar. We must pay our bills as we go along and not unfairly place this burden on a future generation.

Committee Point Proposal #4

The Federal Reserve: We seek a thorough investigation, evaluation and audit of the Federal Reserve System and its cozy relationships with the banking, corporate, and other financial institutions. The arbitrary power to create money and credit out of thin air behind closed doors for the benefit of commercial interests must be ended. There should be no taxpayer bailouts of corporations and no corporate subsidies. Corporations should be aggressively prosecuted for their crimes and frauds.

Program Proposals (from the membership)

In the event that fewer than five committee-proposed program points are adopted above, this space will link to a member proposal space and polls on proposed points. Points will be polled in the order proposed and seconded, with no more polls running than would cause the program to exceed five points if all were adopted. Each proposal will be polled for 12 hours, with 2/3 or more of voting members’ support required to adopt a program point.

Resolutions

At the opening of the convention, this space will link to a resolution solicitation post. All members may move resolutions (statements of the party exclusive of its platform, program or bylaws). All resolutions moved and seconded within 24 hours of the opening of solicitation space will be polled. Polls will run for 24 hours; resolutions supported by 2/3 or more of voting members will be adopted.

LFV readers, what do you think of the candidates and proposals? Please note your endorsements, as well as any concerns, in the comments section.

Like Oktoberfest, only with tea

In Boston Tea Party, Charles Jay, Libertarian, Presidential Candidates, Thomas L. Knapp on September 27, 2008 at 6:48 pm

Posted at Boston Tea Party website by Tom Knapp

Y’all,

The time period between now and the November 4th election is prime time for growing the party. Let’s give America some October surprises!

This week, our presidential candidate, Charles Jay, “got official” in two more states — Arizona and Montana. Not full ballot access, but write-in status. The activists in Arizona who decided to make that happen got it done in two days! “Favorite son” Barry Hess is the veep pick there. Expect to see some more write-in filings soon.

The presidential campaign also just invested in an advertising buy through Google ads, expressly aimed at party-building via an intro page on this site.

You can link to that intro page, too, of course, and we hope you will. For that matter, nobody’s going to stop you from throwing a little money into ad campaigns of your own to flog it!

Other upcoming stuff:

– I’ll be on-site (or, rather, as close as the Secret Service will let me get) in St. Louis, Missouri for the October 2nd “major party” vice-presidential debate. One of the party’s strongest supporters just sent me four marvelous “JAY-KNAPP — VOTE BOSTON TEA PARTY” signs to wave. They’re nice, big signs, too. We’re going to have a visible presence … if you’d like to be part of it, just show up and look for those signs!

Charles Jay debates all the other presidential candidates who aren’t chicken on October 6th at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

– More media coming soon — I’ll get times, channels, etc. up as soon as they’re firm.

Yours in liberty,
Tom Knapp
Founder and 2008 Vice-Presidential Nominee
Boston Tea Party

Boston Tea Party Presidential candidate Charles Jay answers Obama-McCain debate questions

In Barack Obama, Boston Tea Party, Charles Jay, John McCain, Libertarian, Media, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Thomas L. Knapp on September 27, 2008 at 3:29 pm

Posted at cj08.com

(I wasn’t invited to Friday night’s presidential debate, but you knew I was going to weigh in anyway. My “participation” comes in the way of interspersing my responses into the actual text of the debate, which you will see below. All of those responses to the questions asked by moderator Jim Lehrer are in bold type. We ditched the rules for this one, and I used remarks in the rebuttal process as I felt were necessary; for the most part, since I had the advantage of being the last to answer, so to speak, I did single responses. This transcript is so long that it is being divided into two parts – the first is the part of the debate that explored financial issues, namely the bailout, which running mate Tom Knapp probably more accurately calls the “Ripoff”. The part that explores Iraq and foreign policy will come later on )

LEHRER: Good evening from the Ford Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Mississippi in Oxford. I’m Jim Lehrer of the NewsHour on PBS, and I welcome you to the first of the 2008 presidential debates between the Republican nominee, Senator John McCain of Arizona, and the Democratic nominee, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois.

(And the Boston Tea Party nominee, Charles Jay)

The Commission on Presidential Debates is the sponsor of this event and the three other presidential and vice presidential debates coming in October.

Tonight’s will primarily be about foreign policy and national security, which, by definition, includes the global financial crisis. It will be divided roughly into nine-minute segments.

Direct exchanges between the candidates and moderator follow-ups are permitted after each candidate has two minutes to answer the lead question in an order determined by a coin toss.

The specific subjects and questions were chosen by me. They have not been shared or cleared with anyone.

The audience here in the hall has promised to remain silent, no cheers, no applause, no noise of any kind, except right now, as we welcome Senators Obama and McCain.

(APPLAUSE)

Let me begin with something General Eisenhower said in his 1952 presidential campaign. Quote, “We must achieve both security and solvency. In fact, the foundation of military strength is economic strength,” end quote.

With that in mind, the first lead question.

Read the rest of this entry »

“Forget Jason” Money Bomb on 10/1

In Activism, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Local Politics, Media, Politics, Press Release, Thomas L. Knapp on September 16, 2008 at 11:28 am

The following was written by the Committee To Elect Jason Gatties.

St. Joseph, Mi- The Committee To Elect Jason Gatties would like to announce a fund raising effort for the month of October. The only catch is, it isn’t for Jason. On October 1st, the campaign will launch a “Forget Jason” money bomb. A dedicated page will list several top libertarian candidates, with a direct link to their donation page. Some of the libertarian candidates to be listed include: Scotty Boman, Allen Buckley, Michael Munger, Thomas Knapp, Daniel Grow, Eric Schansberg, Tyler Nixon, William Parker, Wes Upchurch, Andy Horning, Rex Bell, Bill Hall, Eric Larson, Charles Jay, Chris Cole & Susan Hogarth.

“It is important that libertarian activists show their support for candidates who are the front lines of the freedom battle. I want to do my part to help these fine people succeed in November.”- Jason Gatties

The fund raising drive will last through out the month of October via http://www.VoteGatties.org. If you have a candidate you would like to see listed, please contact the campaign at VoteGatties@yahoo.com.

Boston Tea Party completes Tennessee ballot drive

In Boston Tea Party, Charles Jay, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Press Release, Thomas L. Knapp on August 23, 2008 at 12:23 am

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
08/21/08
POC Thomas L. Knapp
media@bostontea. us
314-750-6993

BOSTON TEA PARTY COMPLETES TENNESSEE BALLOT DRIVE

Nashville, TN – America’s new libertarian alternative wrapped up its first-ever ballot access petition drive today as Boston Tea Party representatives turned in petition signatures and other paperwork to state election officials.

Once the signatures are certified by Tennessee’s Secretary of State, presidential candidate Charles Jay and vice-presidential candidate Thomas L. Knapp will be set to appear on Tennessee ballots in November. The petitioners turned in more than 400 signatures just before today’s deadline. Tennessee law requires 275 valid signatures.

“Our ambition is to give freedom-lovers in the Volunteer State a libertarian alternative to John McCain and Barack Obama,” said Jay, 47, of Hollywood Florida. “Our petitioners, the voters who stepped forward to put us on the ballot, and the electors who agreed to cast their Electoral College votes for us should we carry the state made that possible today, and they have my heartfelt thanks.”

Jay and Knapp were nominated in June by the party’s national membership, which conducts its operations entirely online. The party was founded in 2006 and campaigns on a single-sentence platform: “The Boston Tea Party supports reducing the size, scope and power of government at all levels and on all issues, and opposes increasing the size, scope and power of government at any level, for any purpose.” In addition to Tennessee, the party’s presidential slate will appear on the ballot in Colorado, Florida and Louisiana. A volunteer petition drive is ongoing in Alabama and the party may seek ballot access in other states as well.

Boston Tea Party web site:
http://www.bostontea.us