Friday, June 09, 2006

More Tax Nonsense from Oneida County Whiner

For the last couple days, I've been writing about the issue of taxes as it applies to the 24th District congressional race, and all the nonsense political babbling that usually goes along with it. Lucky me, yesterday a reader decided to supply me with a perfect example.

The reader complained that he (or she - the reader was courageously anonymous) never buys anything big locally because the Oneida County sales tax rate is almost ten percent. The reader wrote, "I bought a TV online... I paid no sales tax and the same TV cost nearly $300 more locally. If my county government and local vendors don't want to compete, let em die. I'm sick of being ripped off. If they are going to tax me to death here and ignore the skewed cost of utilities and other gouging tactics going on, then I am going to recoup my disposible income elsewhere."

My head spun listening to this complaining. Without knowing it, this person was illustrating my basic point for me. Taxes aren't the problem. It's systemic issues that truly threaten our local economies.

The plain mathematical fact is that you can't blame a $300 difference in price on a ten percent sales tax... unless... you're paying $3,000 for a television set.

If you're paying $3,000 for a television set, you're not being taxed to death. You're spending yourself to death.

Let's say, to be generous, that this person was not spending an obscene amount of money on a television set, and that this $300 difference in price was really there for other reasons.

Why could an online warehouse have a $300 lower price on a television set? Fewer workers, and fewer locations to maintain... meaning less support for economy... meaning more people looking for work and lower wages.

Why buy locally? You buy locally if you care about your neighbors and your community. You buy locally because if nobody buys locally, there will be hardly any local businesses anymore, and America will become little more than a bedroom community for Amazon.com warehouses and eBay.

If you don't buy locally, and you sniff at local businesses and say "let them die", you're shooting yourself in the foot.

Lack of local economic infrastructure is hurting us far more than a tax hike of a few hundred dollars per year ever could. Our kids are moving away because they can't get work here, and our communities are getting more and more of that desperate look of places that have been left behind.

Ah, but the Wal-Mart stores still glow on the edge of town, and are happy to send our cash off to Arkansas. And that Paris Hilton Inheritance Tax Break? It's not keeping money in our district, but we'll all be paying for it later, with interest.

The emotional hype about the burden of taxation does not have any relation to mathematical reality. Before we complain about a $300 tax bill, we ought to be looking at that credit card slip we're signing for $3,000 to get a plasma TV to watch the same old lame programming... from that cable TV service we pay $100 per month for.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jon,

I don't think you understand the readers comment. What they are saying is in addition to saving the sales tax, the television was priced $300 cheaper than what it could be purchased for at a local store. Not to mention there is no need to leave your house to make the purchase.

Example:

Cost of TV at Local Store: $1,000
Cost of TV online: $700

Total savings = $300, plus not having to pay the sales tax.

It also seems that the real meaning of the statement is that the consumers of CNY are fed up with paying almost 10% for sales tax. While it might not seem like much when you are discussing one item, it does matter when you sum up the total of all your purchases over a year. Buy a $30,000 car and you will see a HUGE difference in the price between different counties due to sales tax rates.

Let's face it - government is nothing more than a bloated pig in NY. Your defending the status quo shows just how far from reality your opinions have become. People are fed up. You are ignoring the obvious. Let's see how many people respond to this post to defend your point of view (providing you post it).

24 Independent said...

No, anonymous reader, I talk about that possibility in the article.

You're missing the essential point. Someone who is buying a $30,000 car and a $700 to $1000 television set has lost perspective to complain about a ten percent sales tax.

Ten percent of a $1000 purchase is a hundred dollars.

You can buy new television sets for a hundred dollars, and then the sales tax would be only ten dollars.

Taxation, when compared to this kind of extravagant spending that you and the original commenter are describing, is miniscule.

Republicans talk fiscal responsibility, but only on the government side. Whatever happened to personal fiscal responsibility?

Whatever happened to community loyalty?

For a big screen plasma TV, this commenter is willing to betray his local community? That's shallow, and I don't have respect for that attitude.

If that opinion is out of the mainstream, it's a pretty sad commentary on the mainstream. But then, I don't form my opinions according to how well they conform to mainstream expectations. I try to form my opinions according to what makes sense.

Pandering makes for successful politicians, not for great leaders.

24 Independent said...

"Let's say, to be generous, that this person was not spending an obscene amount of money on a television set, and that this $300 difference in price was really there for other reasons.

Why could an online warehouse have a $300 lower price on a television set? Fewer workers, and fewer locations to maintain... meaning less support for economy... meaning more people looking for work and lower wages."


Did you read that part, anonymous, or were you just skimming for something to get angry about?

Anonymous said...

No, I did read that part, but you constantly referred to the "$300 tax bill".

By the way, a $30,000 auto is not considered extravagant to anyone in the middle class. That's the going price of a soccer moms SUV. A $1,000 television - yea maybe. Either way, it’s a personal choice and it is relative. If you work harder and make more money, than you are entitled to spend it as one sees fit. If you can't afford it, don't buy it. Get an education or a better job, but please don't expect a handout from me because you are less fortunate. I worked for my piece of the pie.

Like I said, lets see how many people come to your defense on this one. Add up all your purchases for one year and you will see just how badly the sales tax has affected your pocketbook. Especially in Oneida County.

... and why do you assume I am angry. Fed up maybe, but not angry.

Anonymous said...

Go to Best Buy Plasma web site and you will see that a $300 difference is not unusual. It's a huge warehouse. So screw you. You obviously have nothing to write about since you are out of just about every election loop. You have bragged about how well heeled you are a number of times on this site, as if everyone else is your peon, so excuse me if I could afford a large TV. I would call my savings a smart deal. Sorry you didn't get the deal. Sounds to me like you are the whiner.

Anonymous said...

8:55 and 10:04 are right on, this is probably a home theater television and it is true if you add it up in Oneida county it really costs big bucks to get screwed by the tax man and the stores that charge more than you have to pay in the next county or in syracuse. Jon's a progressive so he thinks if somebody earned the money to buy a 2k TV they should just give the money to somebody on welfare instead. But remind me never to give my opinion on this site because if jon doesnt like it he writes a whole piece aboutt it. Your a real dictator Jon, my way or the hiway.

24 Independent said...

Nonsense, 4:36. You know what point I'm trying to make, and you know that what you're writing is an intentional distortion designed to be emotionally provocative - kind of like the way the issue of taxes is played by politicians.

If people want to buy large screen plasma televisions, that's fine. Personally, I think they're a waste of money.

I just think that it's ridiculous for someone to spend over one thousand dollars on a television set and then complain that the government is bleeding them dry with sales tax.

I also think that anyone who intentionally goes out and avoids shopping locally in order to profit themselves personally, and then complains about how taxes are ruining small businesses in our area, is being selfishly dishonest.

Angry at me for not writing about something else related to this election? Don't blame me... take a look at our do-nothing Democratic candidate, who is sitting on his campaign contributions and doing... not much.

Even the fervently pro-Arcuri blogs are slowing down, because Arcuri just won't give them anything to write about.

24 Independent said...

5:21 - I'm a dictator, huh? I'm a dictator for saying what I think?

You're the one who's telling me what I think. That sounds more like the behavior of a dictator.

Someone who pays two thousand dollars for a television set and then complains that they're being bled dry by a sales tax that is a tiny bit higher than in other counties is a shameless whiner.

You know what's worse than advocating helping out working people who are down on their luck? Complaining that people who go out and spend thousands of dollars on television sets are somehow victims of economic persecution.

Get some perspective.

Anonymous said...

Speak the truth about taxes, and people do get pissed. I guess that's the big lesson here.

It's embarassing to see people get so defensive about TV sets.

Maybe they should turn off the tube for a second and learn how to think without moving pictures in front of their gaping, drooling mouths.

Anonymous said...

Anybody can squander their own money as they wish as long as they don't steal it. What somebody wants to spend their own money on is really nobody else's business. Nobody is required to give money to an elected thief beyond required taxes. Which brings us to money being stolen from pockets by greedy elected officials so that THEY can squander it by hiring their friends at exorbitant salaries. Anybody who shafts Joe Griffo is a hero in my book. He had a lot of nerve raising the sales tax to shark levels for no reason but to grab some more money to hire his friends and relatives. The thought of that guy as a senator makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck.

Anonymous said...

Hey 5:49, my kids and their friends like to watch movies and eat home made popcorn. I made the theater for them. What's more I paid for it with my own damned money not yours. At least I know where my kids are. You got a problem with that and think that's drooling? Shove it.

Anonymous said...

Jon. when you are on one of your trips out of town and buy something in another locality (and I've never been in another American locality with higher sales taxes than we have here, do you complain that they are undertaxing you?

Anonymous said...

What really bothers me is the apathetic attitudes of the American public. We see our sons dying everyday in a country where they shouln’t be in the first place. The commander in thief is setting up a monarchy and the price of gas is skyrocketing…..as long as they have a great big SUV and big screen t.v., little else matters……oh! except what Brittney Spears was wearing on the cover of People!

Anonymous said...

I never said nothing else mattered. What doesn't matter though, is what you think. My son is 12 years old what do you want me to do send him to Iraq? A big screen TV means something to a 12 year old. Beats worrying about whether he's hanging out with the wrong kids buying the latest drug on the street instead of staying home with his friends and watching Tolken. I didn't know Brittany was on the cover of People. I guess you read it and I don't. I don't intend to let my county executive tell me how to spend my money and I sure as hell aren't going to let you do it either.

Anonymous said...

The only alternative to sending your 12 year-old son to Iraq and having him end up with the wrong crowd is giving him a big screen television?

Give me a break!

Anonymous said...

Let's see now. We are not overtaxed even though we are the highest taxed in the country. Ok. You think we should pay as much tax as we can to help feed the hog. So if we find a way not to pay unnecessary tax, we are disloyal to the people who are shoving it up our noses and sticking their hands in our pockets. Now it is ok for them to squander our money and it is ok for people on entitlements to have our money and its ok for utilities to take more of our money than the law should allow. But it's NOT ok for us to do whatever we want with what is left of the money we work for. Should one of us buy something The Consumer Police don't think we should buy we get a good tongue lashing and a shame-shame for having the audacity to spend our own disposable income as we want. I get it now. Long live America wherever the hell it went. Render unto Caesar..simply everything.

24 Independent said...

"You think we should pay as much tax as we can to help feed the hog."

Oh, that's an EXCELLENT job of putting words in my mouth!

Of course, I said no such thing.

What I did say: "Someone who pays two thousand dollars for a television set and then complains that they're being bled dry by a sales tax that is a tiny bit higher than in other counties is a shameless whiner."

I stand by that statement.

This is what the Republican Party has descended to become? The political party that stands for fiscal waste?

Anonymous said...

"This is what the Republican Party has descended to become? The political party that stands for fiscal waste? "

I couldn't have said it better myself. Under Republican rule, this country now has the biggest government ever in terms of employees and expenditures. Wasteful spending is everywhere. From bridges to nowhere to prescription drug programs. Spend, spend, spend.

Here in NYS under the Republican leadership of Gov Pataki, NYS has also become the highest taxed state in the nation. We see wasteful handouts all over the place and increases in spending at triple the rate of inflation.

Here in Oneida County, under the leadership of Republican County Executive Joe Griffo, we have the highest sales tax in the country without any spending cuts of note.

It goes on and on and on ......

What worries me most is that some here (Jon) think we should not cut spending or taxes. Unreal.

Anonymous said...

Successful people don't become successful throwing their money away. That's REAL squandering. When you add up big ticket items like the TV mentioned, it comes to thousands of dollars a year a person saves by bypassing our piggy county. That means you give yourself a disposable income raise instead of giving some punk county employee who's related to the exec. a raise. As the commercial goes, what's in YOUR wallet?

24 Independent said...

It is simply AMAZING, 1:37, how you know exactly what I'm thinking. How did you learn to read minds? Correspondence course?

When did I say that we shouldn't cut spending? I can't remember that. It's a good thing you know what I'm thinking, or I'm sure I'd lose all track of my own opinions.

What else do I think, 1:37? I'm just dying to know.