Commentary: The more you make, the more they take

Monday, April 12, 2010 at 8:45pm
Bradley Harrington

When Karl Marx and Frederich Engels published The Communist Manifesto back in 1848, they considered the implementation of the philosophy of "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" to be so absolutely essential to the establishment of a socialist-communist state that it was given the No. 2 spot in the Ten Planks: "A heavy progressive or graduated income tax."

So essential, indeed, that only the first plank superseded it: "Abolition of private property and the application of all rents of land to public purposes."

As another April 15 passes us by, and the Internal Revenue Service proceeds to pillage a substantial fraction of the wealth created by the producers of the United States, I can't help but wonder just how many people truly grasp the collectivistic principles that underlie the income tax?

"A heavy progressive or graduated income tax" means: the more you make, the more the IRS takes. In 2007, for instance, the top 1 percent of all the producers in America, anyone making over $410,096 per year, paid 40.42 percent of all collected tax receipts.

The top 5 percent, anyone making over $160,041 yearly, paid 60.63 percent of all federal taxes; the top 10 percent, making over $113,018, paid 71.22 percent; the top 25 percent, making over $66,532, paid 86.59 percent; and the top 50 percent, anyone making over $32,879, paid fully 97.11 percent of all collected revenue.

Which means: in 2007, the other half of the country's population, making less than $32,879 yearly, paid: 2.89 percent. (All figures from the IRS.) Yet all of the nation's population reaps the (supposed) benefits of the federal government's existence. But that's what "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" means: that the producers will subsidize the parasites.

Such a method of funding government operations acts in complete antithesis to the principles of a free society, where all rightfully earned income, regardless of size, is the producer's to keep and do with as they see fit — and, indeed, for well over a century of America's history, we had no income tax.

The United States Constitution authorizes two types of taxes: "direct" and "indirect," with the difference being that the first is unavoidable ("Direct taxes bear upon persons, upon possessions, and enjoyment of rights," Knowlton v. Moore, 1900) while the second can be avoided by altering one's voluntary behavior (not importing 80 proof whiskey, for example).

Direct taxes, however, constitutionally, are to be "apportioned among the several states which may be included within this union" (Article I, Section 2, Clause 3), while indirect taxes ("duties, imposts and excises," are to "be uniform throughout the United States" (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1).

The income tax, in its present form and as legally permitted by the 16th (Income Tax) Amendment of 1913, is neither — and it is of more than passing historical interest that an earlier Supreme Court originally ruled such a tax as unconstitutional (Pollock v. Farmer's Loan and Trust Co., 1895).

But if there's anything on the planet that knows no bounds, it would be the ability of the United States federal government to arrogate to itself the "right" to do any damn thing it pleases to its citizens, regardless of any constitutional limitations that might exist — up to, and including, the establishment of a production-plundering, initiative-obliterating, capital-accumulation-corrupting and legalized-looting scheme like communism's graduated income tax.

And, as if this wasn't bad enough, it was decided by our erstwhile legislators, back in 1943 during World War II, to establish the "withholding tax," whereby your income was confiscated, right from its source, as you earned it, instead of being due, as normal, on April 15. This was touted as a "temporary" measure to help finance war-time expenditures — yet World War II ended in 1945, and we still have withholding on the books 65 years later. Never underestimate the ability of socialist-communist Uncle Sam to plunder your pocketbook!

Could you imagine the hue and cry we'd have today, if people were allowed to keep their income until it all came due on April 15? Then, instead of most of us getting a "refund," we'd be seriously considering hanging the politicians from the nation's lampposts and restoring our once-constitutional Republic to its original foundations.

Or, were you planning on just sitting around, like bumps on logs, while the rest of your freedoms get gobbled up?

Bradley Harrington is a former United States Marine and a free-lance writer who lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

29 Comments on this post:

By: idgaf on 4/13/10 at 2:33

Today more then ever we have to pay more attention to the abuse of power and power grabs that this administration is making.

Our very suvival as a free nation depends on it.

The housing "crises" was created inside the government (Fannie & Freddie) trying to impliment Marx/Communist Manifesto.

Remember the words of Margret Thatcher

Socialism works until they run out of other peoples money to spend , and we are reaching that point if we haven't already.

Hold the scoundals accountable at the voting booth.

By: martindkennedy on 4/13/10 at 5:12

An example not so much of lying with data but perhaps deceiving... maybe even the writer himself. True those making over $410,000 pay 40% of all taxes but they earn about 40% of all income. The top 25% of earners pay 60% but they earn roughly 50% of all income.
There are good reasons to favor a flat tax - each dollar taxed at the same rate - but how progressive the current tax code is depends on how you evaluate it.

By: richgoose on 4/13/10 at 6:37

I suppose that in a society where the fable "all men are created equal" is the doctrine that money will be stolen in the form of taxes from those that are "more equal"

By: govskeptic on 4/13/10 at 7:25

These numbers leave out all the "exceptions & exemptions" that are allowed to be deducted from the top line income of
the high earners. Yes, a few may pay those percentages but
the highest earners have enough lawyers-accountants to get
those numbers reduced substanially. The future appears to be
getting dim for risk taking in this country and that will be disastrous for free enterprise and the "American Experiment".

By: Brad Harrington on 4/13/10 at 7:39

@ martindkennedy: "True those making over $410,000 pay 40% of all taxes but they earn about 40% of all income. The top 25% of earners pay 60% but they earn roughly 50% of all income."

Irrelevant information. What's the point?

"There are good reasons to favor a flat tax - each dollar taxed at the same rate - but how progressive the current tax code is depends on how you evaluate it."

It is progressive PRECISELY BECAUSE of the fact that the more that is earned, the more that is taken. That is what the word "progressive" means in this context.

@ govskeptic:

"These numbers leave out all the 'exceptions & exemptions'" that are allowed to be deducted from the top line income of the high earners. Yes, a few may pay those percentages but the highest earners have enough lawyers-accountants to get those numbers reduced substanially."

Sorry, that is completely incorrect. My figures--direct from the IRS itself--stand, and they are figures that apply AFTER all the "exceptions and exemptions" are taken into account. Check it out for yourself...I did....

Semper Fi,
Brad Harrington

By: NonyaBidness on 4/13/10 at 8:07

According to Mr. Harrington, "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" = "the producers will subsidize the parasites." So he's calling all you individuals and families out there earning less than $32,879 parasites. I'm not agreeing with Marx here, but I believe there are quite a few parasites at the higher income end of the curve as well. Bernie Madoff and the the con-artists at Goldman Sachs come to mind.

This is the mindset of the "freedom loving" tea party movement. Underlying every sentiment is a deep disregard for the well being of their fellow citizens, or at least a belief that everyone in this country has an equal opportunity to better their lot in life, and it's no one else's responsibility to help them out. That is fantasy. Each and every one of us are products of luck, genetics, free will, etc. No one knows which factor is dominant, but I have no doubt that some are born into situations that I would not have pulled myself out of, so I don't begrudge all of the poor for their lot in life.

I have two points to make in favor of progressive income taxes. The first, is that contrary to general opinion, those who earn and own more generally receive MORE benefits from government services in return for their tax dollars than the poor. The poor may get subsidized food, housing, social security and medical care (which rich and poor alike receive through Medicare), but if you own property, then you benefit more from a legal system, national defense, police protection, public infrastructure etc. that protects your property rights. You also benefit from a stable commercial environment that provides for high paying employment and entrepreneurial opportunities. A stable government that is adequately funded is crucial for this to happen. If you are poor, then you rent, earn low or no wages, and unless you are uniquely qualified or ambitious (and as I said of above, if you do not believe that this is partly the luck of your circumstances, then you are wrong), you do not have access to entrepreneurial opportunities. In those cases, you might as well be living somewhere else in the third world with a similar standard of living. Without gov't social services, a much larger percentage of our population would be living in abject poverty, and our gov't would be much less stable. Hungry people don't care whose in charge, and they are likely to cause trouble for those who are.

The second argument in favor of progressive taxes goes back to the ideal of equal opportunity, or at least access to it, for all US citizens. If you believe that each individual is solely responsible for his or her own lot in life, regardless of the circumstances of their birth or upbringing, then this argument won't stick w/ you. But if you believe that there are diamonds in the rough in every city, town and neighborhood in this country, then you believe in providing good public schools, keeping our children fed and healthy, and providing other resources to help people better their odds in general is a good investment. Sure their are abuses of the social security and welfare systems (but they pale in comparison to the abuses carried out by big gov't military contractors and financial and agricultural firms), but when those diamonds in the rough succeed, they become taxpayers too.

Mr. Harrington believes our country is filled with hosts and parasites. I prefer to see a process of symbioses.

By: BenDover on 4/13/10 at 8:29

MartinD, do you have a source for your numbers? I've seen that example before but the numbers were signigicantly skewed i.e. ~ 25% of total earning vs. 40% of taxes. The examples I saw supported the commentary.

By: sidneyames on 4/13/10 at 8:39

Martin kennedy said "True those making over $410,000 pay 40% of all taxes but they earn about 40% of all income. The top 25% of earners pay 60% but they earn roughly 50% of all income."

And the people making $410, 000 are working their butts off. The top 25% who pay 60% and make 50% of all the income are ALSO DOING 50% OR MORE OF THE FREEKING WORK.

By: Dragon on 4/13/10 at 8:40

The IRS provides the data.

http://www.irs.gov/taxstats/indtaxstats/article/0,,id=129270,00.html#_pagi

Safe to say, we've just about hit the tipping point where less than 50% pay all the federal income taxes. When that happens, the majority will be free to "tax the rich" without any consequences to themselves.

By: vechester on 4/13/10 at 8:41

Excellent article! Factual, concise, and timely!

Noneya, if you want to look for parasites you need look no further than our current leaders in DC.

Unfortunately, years ago we allowed laws to be passed that gave the government the ability to reach into our paycheck before we even receive it - income tax withholdings! Most people just look at their take home pay, when they really need to look at their gross income, what they really earned. And YES, we earn our income not the government! Government doesn't produce anything - it only takes.

The current tax code is an abomination!

Semper Fi Bradley!

By: sidneyames on 4/13/10 at 8:43

Gov said "The future appears to be getting dim for risk taking in this country and that will be disastrous for free enterprise and the "American Experiment"."

Gov. my sis makes millions (gross) with her business. I'm an hourly wage worker and never will make it. BUT she works 18 hours a day. High school grad who applied herself and worked her butt off -- to get started and now that she's in the race and has a great ranking, she still works her butt off.

I'm sure obama thinks she's too rich. But I don't. A woman can ever be too rich, too pretty or too smart.

I think that hard work is no longer the American. It's crooked, dishonest and hate for the rich that seems to pay off more.

Well not for me, but for the obama-ites!

P.S. If someone reading this is poor, it's not a rich person's fault. It's your own fault.

By: idgaf on 4/13/10 at 8:54

How about those people that are actually making money on the tax system getting money back that they didn't pay in?

Kill the goose that lays the golden eggs and you have no more eggs.

By: Dragon on 4/13/10 at 10:13

EITC State Statistics at-a-Glance for Tax Year 2008
Nationwide last year, over 24 million people received nearly $50 billion in EITC.
http://www.eitc.irs.gov/central/eitcstats/

By: WickedTribe on 4/13/10 at 10:39

http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html

the top 1% own 42.7% of the wealth, the top 20% own 50.3%, etc. Tax comes out to an almost 1:1 ratio to wealth. The reason is because income tax is pretty much the only progressive tax we have. Most wealth at the top is gained through investment income which is almost always a flat tax. And sales tax and FICA are very regressive taxes.

A flat tax never makes any sense because the value of money is directly correlated to the cost of living. The less you make, the more valuable each penny is in real terms, so therefore a flat tax is regressive by default. It's also impractical for balancing a government budget. Republicans like Brad know this, but they also know how easy it is to convince the lower and middle classes to vote against their own interests and subsidize the wealthy.

By: WickedTribe on 4/13/10 at 10:48

Furthermore, the problem is bigger than just actual taxes. There are regressive expenses beyond taxes. For example, a rich man can buy a house flat out, whereas a poor man must finance it. So a poor man pays 3x the value of the house due to interest charges, whereas a rich man pays only a little bit (closing costs, taxes still) over the value, maybe an extra 20% instead of 200%.

And Tennessee has another good example in this state's car insurance laws. If you have $60,000 in cash assets (are rich), you are not legally required to buy insurance. So assuming no wrecks throughout their lives, a poor man will pay tens of thousands of dollars for car insurance while the rich man pays nothing.

By: Dragon on 4/13/10 at 12:25

In 2008, the government confiscated over $26 billion of wealth in the estate tax. This tax, designed to prevent concentration of wealth, has been around for over 90 years. I guess the government is good at collecting, but not so good at distribution.

"Dividing wealth does not create wealth."

By: richgoose on 4/13/10 at 3:53

The wealthy will find a way to offset these Obama administration taxes. It will not be pretty but it will be effective. Most of the people that I associate with are making provisions of some sort to make sure that somone or some other organization takes this hit. I

By: bucksnodgrass on 4/13/10 at 7:42

"Such a method of funding government operations acts in complete antithesis to the principles of a free society, where all rightfully earned income, regardless of size, is the producer's to keep and do with as they see fit — and, indeed, for well over a century of America's history, we had no income tax."

The fundamental flaw in this way of thinking is that each individual earns income autonomously from a societal and governmental structure that enables it. Sounds like a great "Ayn Rand" party line, but the the reality is that great wealth has been accumulated in this country because of government actions for the better good of our society. It is laughable to hear the "tea-partiers" and the "anti-marxist" factions spout off about all that they have apparently done totally on their own.

Would we have had an automotive industry of the proportions we have today without the Eisenhower (Republican) Interstate Highway System? Would Cracker Barrel ever have come into existence without the "motoring public", or Holiday Inns for that matter?

Westward expansion without the genocide by Federal troops and appropriation of Native American lands? But, somehow now those are all "homesteads" from big "risk takers"

Would the post-WWII expansion of the US economy have been possible without the GI Bill?

The military-industrial complex has created enormous wealth for individuals in our nation, often with obscene levels of profiteering at taxpayer expense.

The rhetoric around wealth redistribution is very misguided when in fact so much of our federal spending has been directed toward programs that have allowed our nation to become as great as it is, with really no parallel in world history in terms of economic might and military prowess. Personally, I enjoy having paved roads over dirt roads, having a unfied multi-branch military presence over local militias, having dragnet support for the less fortunate so that we do not endure a have/have not revolutionary movement of the nature that actually prompted the REAL Marxist revolutions.

Where I get edgy about wealth redistribution is spending over $1 trillion dollars of our tax dollars nation-building in a country with little or no consequence to our national interests. Thank you, George W. Bush (Republican and supposed small-government guy)! Are the poor people in Iraq somehow more deserving than our own?

What we need in this country is a little more "we" and a lot less "me". Collectively, many generations of citizens in our country have made sacrifices, investments, and hard decisions about the direction of our nation that have enabled the unparalleled wealth accumulation we enjoy. Appreciate it and honor it, but please don't act like you have done it on your own and owe no debt to the common good and longevity of our nation.

By: Dragon on 4/14/10 at 6:35

"The fundamental flaw in this way of thinking is that each individual earns income autonomously from a societal and governmental structure that enables it. ".

Dangerous to think that hard work and the resultant properity is only because the government is there. That is backwards thinking and an antithesis to our basic tenents. Government is derived by, of, and from the people, not the other way around. I would hate to think that the founding fathers created a government that they are perpetually subjected to.

By: martindkennedy on 4/14/10 at 7:45

@BradHarrington I would check into the negative income tax (aka gauranteed minimum income). These regimes are a kind of hybrid approach... every dollar is taxed at the same rate but there is some progressivity. Fair, simple, and addresses equity in society.
In short emphasizing progressivity as the main reason to oppose our current tax code is not the strongest argument. As mentioned if you compare tax burden with the percentage of income earned it doesn't look nearly so progressive.
Check into the negative income tax... and write something up.

By: stlgtr55@yahoo.com on 4/14/10 at 9:28

Producers vs. Expropriators: America’s Coming Civil War?
by Edward Hudgins

April 13, 2010 -- America is drifting toward civil war, albeit one that does not yet involve bloody battlefields.

This is not mere rhetoric. It describes a crack in the American community that since Barack Obama’s election as president has widened into a deep fissure and might split the nation apart. The divide is not based on regional, racial, or religious differences, factors that often set neighbors at one another’s throats. Rather, the conflict is between producers, those who work to earn their own way and prosper through their own efforts, and expropriators, those who survive by taking from others with governments as their agents.

In debt

What motivated hundreds of thousands of Americans to express their ire at government in Tea Party rallies coast to coast while others demonstrated at town hall meetings that saw members of Congress cowering before their angry constituents? What are the targets of outrage of those taking part in the 2010 Tax Day protests?

On top of 2008’s $700 billion bank bailout, there was the $800 billion stimulus package with a catalog of stupid and useless projects that could keep late-night comedians in jokes for years and that, by the way, did not stimulate the economy. There was the 2009 federal deficit of $1.4 trillion or 40% of the budget. There was the national debt, which was 50% of the GDP in 2008 and will approach 80% of the GDP in 2012.

And there was Obamacare, the new entitlements that will add at least $1 trillion, maybe $2 trillion—who can tell?—to the nation’s debt, with money borrowed from China to cover the overspending.

What’s new?

But governments have been redistributing wealth and spending wastefully big time since the New Deal. So what’s new today?

To begin with, the magnitude of the spending is unlike anything Americans have seen since a temporary spike during World War II. But today we don’t have a spike but, rather, a trajectory that is only going up. Americans know that such unconscionable irresponsibility will be taken out of their hides in higher taxes, higher inflation, and economic stagnation as governments squeeze more and more out of productive citizens and enterprises. The whole country economically will soon look like Greece or California.

Furthermore, Obamacare was rightly seen by productive Americans as a tipping point. The country really could go socialist. Obama brushes off the label, but it will soon be the case that government will openly and outright control over half of the economy.

In the past, statists justified redistribution programs as necessary to help those Americans who temporarily and perhaps through no fault of their own found themselves in dire economic straits. And too many productive Americans whose hearts throttled their brains actually bought this argument.

But with Obamacare statists simply asserted that everyone has a right to have health care paid for by their neighbors. (They don’t, by the way.) And everyone will be forced into the system and will obey the dictates of government apparatchiks or go to jail. And the corrupt and thuggish means by which Obamacare was passed gave productive Americans a vision of the government fist in store for their faces in the future.

With Obamacare many productive Americans made a psychological switch, seeing those on the other side of the issue not as opponents but as enemies.

Producer consciousness

What has morally outraged productive Americans—whether plumbers, store clerks, merchants, professions, or small-business owners—what galls them the most as they pay their taxes is the knowledge that the fruits of their efforts are bailing out those who purchased houses that they couldn’t afford and who made risky investments that didn’t pan out.

They’re outraged that as their jobs are threatened they must pay to prop up the salaries of auto workers who demand more for their services than the sales of the vehicles they make would cover. They’re outraged that their earnings pay the salaries of federal workers who now, for the most part, collect more than for similar work performed by private sector workers. And the feds are hiring thousands more IRS agents to squeeze everything they can out of productive Americans.

Their self-consciousness as producers is emerging. They see themselves as suckers and cash cows to be slaughtered by expropriators. They see themselves as the Atlases holding up a world of moochers and deadbeats. And they’re damned sick of it!

There is an even deeper divide between producers and expropriators. Most productive Americans not only take responsibility for their own lives and well-being, they also value their independence, their freedom to make their own lives as they see fit, not to make themselves subservient to politicians and government bureaucrats. Now they see their independence taken away from them in the name of those who allegedly can only survive as subjects of charity expropriated from them.

Beyond elections

The election of a Republican majority in the House and Senate might slow the growth of government, but it will not bridge the growing divide between producers and expropriators.

Some suggest that Americans will simply get used to the Euro-style socialism that Obama and his minions are imposing on them the way they eventually acquiesced in Medicare, Medicaid, and a long list of entitlements, with restrictions on freedom attached. And Europeans got used to it, in spite of adverse consequences like chronically high unemployment, low job creation, and high prices for pretty much everything.

This isn’t likely to happen in America. Too many Americans still have enough love for their own lives and liberty as well as pride in their achievements so that they will not acquiesce in their own servitude. The problem is that too many Americans also have swallowed the moral poison that their neighbors owe them medical care, an education, a job, a high salary—you name it. But this poison requires a self-blind lest they see just what moral midgets they’ve become. They blank out their brains with emotional screams that, because they can’t run their own lives, they should be allowed to destroy the lives of those who can.

And here is where the specter of a civil war comes in. Look at Greece, a European country where those who live through expropriation outnumber those who produce. That country is bankrupt, but it is the expropriators who take to the streets blindly defending the current system even as it leads all to destruction.

In the United States the producers, with minds wide open, should take to the streets, Tea Parties, town hall meetings, and ballot boxes to protect themselves and head off catastrophe. But they must fight a long-term battle for moral clarity, for the right of all to live by their own productive efforts for their own rational self-interest and against any claim that others have a right to take from them by government force. Only then will Americans live not as enemies poised for battle but, rather, with good will toward one another, dealing with one another as proud producers based on mutual consent.

----------

Hudgins directs advocacy and is a senior scholar at The Atlas Society, the center for Objectivism.

For further reading:

*Edward Hudgins, “Obama’s Grab-Bag Socialism.” April 4, 2009.

*Edward Hudgins, “Protest of the Producers.” September 20, 2009.

*Edward Hudgins, “Going Galt 2009 Tea Party Video.” April 15, 2009.

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Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 202-Ayn-Rand (202-296-7263)
Fax: 202-296-0771
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By: NonyaBidness on 4/14/10 at 10:53

Nonya Shrugged

By: Dragon on 4/14/10 at 1:06

“About 47 percent will pay no federal income taxes at all for 2009.
The bottom 40 percent, on average, make a profit from the federal income tax, meaning they get more money in tax credits than they would otherwise owe in taxes. For those people, the government sends them a payment.
The result is a tax system that exempts almost half the country from paying for programs that benefit everyone, including national defense, public safety, infrastructure and education.”
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100407/ap_on_bi_ge/us_no_taxes

Are you saying these people "owe no debt to the common good and longevity of our nation"?

By: idgaf on 4/14/10 at 4:49

Jelousy and class envey will kill this country.

By: WickedTribe on 4/14/10 at 9:36

"Jelousy and class envey will kill this country."

I know right? Who'd have ever thought someone could be jealous of the poorest people in this country paying no federal income tax.

By: Loner on 4/15/10 at 5:08

So, Brad, are you going to take up arms against the Constitution of the USA? You are one fired-up, secessionist-friendly ex-Marine....wow!

All this antipathy was building up all those years, but Brad quietly served his country then, when a black man assumed the Presidency, Brad went ballistic. Now, mad Brad sees armies of commies and socialists infiltrating the federal government...all is lost!

If there is one thing that I cannot stand, it's phony intellectuals and closet bigots like Brad Harrington stabbing Uncle Sam in the back...and Southern, right-wing papers like the NCP actually paying for such drivel..

Brad you are a regurgitational right-wing tool, a lightweight thinker, and a bitter loser surviving on the generosity of like-minded editors. Do the right thing, Brad, take a long walk off a short pier.

By: Dragon on 4/15/10 at 7:24

Loner,
There was no mention of the President or even the current administration in the letter. You did not debate any of the arguments but merely charged RACISM, where there was none. I expect that from most of the radical liberals but expected more from you.

By: sidneyames on 4/15/10 at 2:37

And Tennessee has another good example in this state's car insurance laws. If you have $60,000 in cash assets (are rich), you are not legally required to buy insurance. So assuming no wrecks throughout their lives, a poor man will pay tens of thousands of dollars for car insurance while the rich man pays nothing.
said by wicked tribe.

BUT wicked IF the car is financed, insurance is mandatory.

WickedTribe on 4/14/10 at 10:36
"Jelousy and class envey will kill this country." I know right? Who'd have ever thought someone could be jealous of the poorest people in this country paying no federal income tax.

Wicked, it's not the FACT that they don't pay. Did you also know that they file and get a REFUND. I think that is the unjust part. If you are too poor to pay and you're on annual social welfare programs, a TAX RETURN is inappropriate and unfair.

That's the inequity. I don't mind those family of 4 making under $60,000 NOT PAYING, but if you don't pay, where does the REFUND come from?

FROM ME and other hard working legal tax payers. Address that point please.

By: localboy on 4/28/10 at 8:37

An effective 16%-18% tax rate on up to $200k gross for access and use of the services provided? Not too bad. 9.25% sales tax - consumption based, use less pay less but still there's an effective floor since among other things I gotta eat...oh wait, some of it is exempt. Property tax rate? Who can ever figure out the effective rate, but the whole dollars are a tenth of the federal tax dollars actually paid Not living in a high tax state? Priceless.
It's all good.