Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

The Year of Translucency

tax code, power, politicians, transparency, illustration

Barack Obama promised transparency in government. He didn’t deliver.

But others stepped up to the plate.

It’s now possible to see through a lot of political, elitist, and bureaucratic bunk courtesy of fugitives like Snowden, convicts like Manning, and citizens using FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) procedures.

And we are learning more about Hillary Clinton with each info dump from Julian Assange’s Wikileaks and every court-ordered disclosure thanks to lawsuits to enforce FOIA by organizations like Judicial Watch.

Some folks demand that Donald Trump release his tax returns. On the one hand, hooray for public demands for more information about candidates. But on the other hand, the richer you are, the longer and stranger your tax returns become. One shifts income around to avoid taxes — indeed, you take every “loophole” the law allows. As Justice Brandeis advised. Some folks may be shocked by Trump’s creative-but-legal accounting.

To avoid future confusion, we should demand simple tax returns from the rich. That would require jettisoning most of the tax code, simplifying the system. But ask your congressional representative why he or she will not support such a reform.

The reason we have an opaque and complicated tax code is . . . well, transparent. Under a simple tax system, there would be fewer favors to “trade” . . . and thus less power to accumulate, less oomph to parlay into pomp and splendor.

Which is why politicians rarely provide much transparency, and why it must often be wrested from them.

Merely by being merchants of opacity, our pols reveal, if inadvertently, the nature of our Too Big Government.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

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tax code, power, politicians, transparency, illustration


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  1. Lynn Atherton Bloxham says:

    Great points, but Please think of another term than “Convict” That word connotes someone who did something terrible and was justly tired. Not the case at all for Manning. There are heroes among us. I want to at least cause guilt among Americans too fearful to even protest the whistle blowers unjust punishment. I ask that all who value truth to ‘Rise up in protest for whistle blowers who go where we the timid would fear to go’. Of all people it seems as if Diane Feinstein was finally aghast at some over reach of The State.She protested the CIA spying on the Senate, who was investigating the overreach of the CIA. In this situation, Obama who had promised transparency had backed off considerably from his earlier transparency commitment. . Of course the sensible and ethical answer is shut down the CIA!

  2. Not So Free says:

    There is one thing that is transparent about Obama.
    It is the corruption.

  3. Paul Jacob says:

    Lynn — Being a convict myself, as you know, having been “convicted” of refusing to register for the draft some 35 or so years ago (by a jury receiving government subsidies), I appreciate your comment about labeling someone a “convict.” But I defend that word choice, which was very deliberate. It was a way to say that the information we are getting comes from people being hunted and imprisoned for doing their mostly good deeds. The term was not meant to smear Manning but the system, and to force us to confront that ugly reality.

    I also wanted to juxtapose the harsh treatment of whistle-blowers with the avenue open to us: the Freedom of Information Act. Again, however, the government doesn’t abide by the FOIA law and has to be sued to obtain reluctant compliance. If that.

    • Lynn Atherton Bloxham says:

      Paul: You are so right I had an emotional response to the word.YOu can calim superior knowledge. the only time I was ever arrested it wasfor jewelry jelelry theft and prostitution ! (Really!, 50+ years old and in bussiness suit)but I was only held for 23 hour and 45 minutes.. What a joke. I had a difficult time not laughing hysterically. After a few seconds with cuffs on, the”Nice cop” said “you are very calm, must have been arrested before”. “No, just memorizing all this to write about it”.I did catch a funny look between them. But the . The punishment of people for these so called crimes like Manning and Snowden when the behavior of the CIA etc. would never had been uncovered,,,well maybe a century down the road, disturbs me greatly. Injustice gets the”‘wee bit of Scotch- Irish blood in me a’ boiling”. Of topic

      I have a “missing name” you might remember.A man who fought the draft from Missouri, St. area I am pretty sure, who was in political office and fought against the draft and wrote a book on it. I rode to St.. Louis with some libertarians for an honorary luncheon and for the life of me I cannot think of his name or tiitle of his little book.. One thing I do remember well is that about 6 carloads of young mostly libertarians attended the luncheon and not one invited Democrat or Republican came.. One of the St. Louis libertarians had sent out a large mailing lisit and then followed up with calls. I remember also that tho the gas and lunch were reasonable, we all chipped in as we did not meet our quota for number of “plates” sold. So in stead of the large crowd there were just the libertarians. People forget how the anti draft people were treated as traitors to the Nation and god mother and apple pie. People who were not up for the draft even were vilified if they spoke out against it., Of course now anyone still alive tells you they were against the draft. Soon it will be the War on Drugs people will want to claim they protested all along. Already claims about not approving of Iraq and a few dribbling in against rendition. It seems over and over it has been the libertarians Using that to include all the flavors but those who are at least aware, who have protested injustice and often our allies on these were the non politically aligned. Funny how this works..So think on what the man’s name was and see if you can pull it up; he does not deserve to be forgotten.

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