Yeah, we know. That’s why we can’t afford basic government services. Not news.

The SC Senate Republican Caucus is bragging on how terrific it is that people hardly have to pay any taxes to support state government in South Carolina. Great job they’re doin’ ain’t it?

The thing is, that’s not news to anyone except the out-of-touch people who go around complaining about how high taxes are in SC, based on nothing. (And really believe it, too.) Actually, last I heard we were the lowest, not second-lowest.

Here’s the best part — this was sent out as a fund-raiser. The email that brought it to my attention gave me a choice of two things to click on: “View full image,” or “Donate now.” Because, you know, I’m supposed to be so thrilled that state taxes are so low, so eager to donate to elect people to make my taxes even lower, that I might not even have the patience to go look at the full image before I write my check.

I will never understand the mentality that will cause someone to shell out money — sometimes millions, in the case of a guy like Howard Rich — in order to avoid paying the same money in taxes. I mean, if I were so in love with my money that I passionately hated paying taxes, I wouldn’t want to pay it to politicians, either. Why would anyone hate the idea of his money being spent on public services so much that he’d rather it go to enrich political consultants?

But that odd world view exists. No doubt about it. Which is why pitches like this work — against all logic.

31 thoughts on “Yeah, we know. That’s why we can’t afford basic government services. Not news.

  1. Sammy Clemens

    Many who espouse a political philosophy swallow it whole as a bass would a lure that happened to float by.

  2. Doug Ross


    Obviously Howard Rich is not looking for a personal return on investment for his spending. I know it’s hard to comprehend, but he’s willing to put HIS money where his mouth is to help all people pay less taxes into an inefficient system of government.

    That’s a whole lot more commitment than sitting on the sidelines expecting everyone else to pay more money in to meet all of your demands.

    And what basic services are we lacking? We spend more on education than most states with pitiful results.

    Where do you want to spend more of my money?

  3. Brad

    We’re never going to be able to agree, Doug, because of the strange way you relate to being a citizen.

    This idea you have that people who actually want to work together with their neighbors to accomplish things are somehow freeloaders wanting YOUR money… well, it precludes your being able to relate to anything said by someone who sees himself as a citizen rather than a consumer. To me, taxes are the thing that my neighbors and I decide to pay, through the process of representative democracy, in order to accomplish things of benefit to the community.

    But you don’t even see yourself as part of that. And I’ll never be able to relate to that degree of alienation.

    You seem to feel toward our system of self-government about the way I feel about football. It seems that everybody is REALLY into it, and that makes me feel alienated. As you see, I’m trying hard to imagine what it’s like to be you…

    “sitting on the sidelines expecting everyone else to pay more money in to meet all of your demands” — What? Whom are you describing. Who is doing that, and wanting that? It seems to me that you, who do not see this system of self-government as having anything to do with you — except as an alien entity that wants to TAKE from you — are the one who has put himself on the sidelines.

  4. Doug Ross


    The part you never will able to get either is that your definition of “working together” requires some people working and others not working and some people paying in a whole lot more while others pay less or none. That’s not “working together”.

    You tell me what stake the unemployed high school dropout with three children by different fathers has in “working together”.

    And your logic defies, well, logic… when you talk about representative democracy being our goal but not accepting when the votes clearly don’t go the way you want them to. Don’t we pay these supposed lower taxes as a result of the representative democracy we have? You keep trying to tell the majority that they should pay more taxes and the majority keeps responding with “no, thanks”. That’s people working together to achieve a common objective, right? You just don’t like being in the minority.

  5. `Kathryn Fenner

    @ Doug Ross–A lot of people are not able to work–infants, the disabled, the elderly, and hopefully not young children. What do we do about them?

    To repeat, you cannot collect “welfare” for more than two years without working or going to school.

  6. Steven Davis

    I don’t have a problem with the “working together” part either… with those willing to work. It’s the “working together” part with those who refuse to work and expect me to carry their load.

    We can fight Darwin all we want, but he always wins.

  7. Steven Davis

    @Kathryn –

    “infants and minors”, covered by their working parents.

    “elderly” – covered by Medicare and their supplemental insurance.

    “disabled” – covered by Medicare, disability insurance, or Medicaid.

    The people who I don’t want to support are able bodied people who can do “something” other sit on a front porch waiting for the mailman to deliver them their government check. If you can hold a broom, if you can pack a box, if you can answer a telephone… do it.

    Someone must be doing something wrong, because there are generations of families out there milking the welfare system. You may not be able to collect on certain programs for more than two years, but there must be programs out there to help those people who are no longer eligible. Because in a previous position, I met people who were in their 50’s and had no work experience at all… and they weren’t handicapped or disabled… just lazy.

  8. Doug Ross


    I thought we were talking about adults working together to create a better society. That would include taking care of the sick, the elderly, etc. Are you saying we don’t do that now? And if we don’t do enough, how much more money do you want to do it (factoring in all the waste, fraud, and abuse that exists in government run systems)?

  9. bud

    You seem to feel toward our system of self-government about the way I feel about football.

    Is that why there’s not post on the Capital One and Orange Bowls. All the other blogs have many posts on those intriguing games.

  10. `Kathryn Fenner

    I’m saying we don’t do nearly enough voluntarily to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves, and as Anne Walker, of the Alston-wlkes Society once reminded someone who was so proud that his church “adopted” a needy family and gave them a hundred bucks a month–“How about $1,000 a month, or more?” I know how hard it is to save for retirement and other personal goals when there are so many short term temptations and seemingly pressing needs–but we do not do enough for the needy, and neither you nor I can do it all!

  11. Doug Ross


    “and neither you nor I can do it all!”

    So how’s the system where the government takes care of it working out?

  12. Steven Davis

    Define “needy”.

    Once defined, are these people already not qualified for government programs?

    I don’t feel the need to pay the insurance bills for the 19 year old mother of three by three different fathers “needy”. I don’t find an 18 year old high-school drop out who refuses to work because he can’t find any jobs other than washing dishes or changing oil needy.

  13. `Kathryn Fenner

    Europeans and Canadians have a vastly superior quality of life, across many measures and with far less variance than Americans. That’s how that works out.

    @ Steven Davis–A 19 year old mother of 3 was, by definition, a child when she got pregnant, as was an 18 year old dropout when he quit school. I’m glad I had the kind of background that made those choices unthinkable, but all children are not so lucky–not by a long shot….and those 3 kids have made no choices–don’t they deserve medical care, shelter and food?

  14. Steven Davis

    @Kathryn – “don’t they deserve medical care, shelter and food?”

    It’s called “child support”.

  15. `Kathryn Fenner

    and if the parents cannot support them–we let them starve? These parents are usually themselves the children of very young, very poor people, etc.

    Poverty is a cycle. People start out way behind, and keep falling further and further back unless we all pitch in to lift as many up as possible.

  16. Steven Davis

    Not my problem. There’s always the State which can take the kids and raise them, your dear ol’ England used to do just that. The State takes kids for other reasons, being unable to raise them in a safe and healthy environment should be added to the list.

    I know poor people and I know people who used to be poor. The latter got up off their butts once they decided that wasn’t the life they wanted for themselves and their family. I’m sick and tired of giving and giving these same people handout after handout just to have them come back for more.

  17. Steve Fenner

    @Steven — You argue unconvincingly from your very limited experience–exactly how many “handouts” have you personally given out?

    I prefer to base my conclusions on broader data and analyses from people who have really taken the time to study the issue, rather than some “what’s mine is mine” place.

  18. Matt Bohn

    So we should go back to the idea of work houses for the poor? Children selling matches in the streets? Aren’t we better than that? I don’t mind some of my taxes going to help the poor and less fortunate. Check out the book “How the Other Half Lives” by Jacob Riis and tell me you want to revert to a country with no safety net.

  19. Steven Davis

    @Steve Fenner – How about we do this. You handout your money to those you wish to, I handout money to those I wish to. We don’t require either to put our monies in a common pool. Deal?

  20. Steven Davis

    Matt, I never said anything like that. What’s wrong with putting children in a safe healthy environment if their parent’s can’t provide for that. Would you rather see a child living in a dirty nasty home with little to eat, or a child in a “home” somewhere where they have a clean bed to sleep in and get a balanced meal three times a day.

  21. `Kathryn Fenner

    @ Steven (Actually, I was on my husband’s computer).

    No deal. I could give away everything I have and it wouldn’t scratch the surface. We all need to kick in, whether we like it or not.

  22. Silence

    @ Steven – The state shouldn’t have the right (or responsibility) to remove children from their parents, except in the most extreme situations. I would argue though that many people are poor, and many other people aren’t wealthy, due to making short-sighted decisions.
    The question is: How much freewill should people have, and how low or high should society place the safety net? With the freedom to succeed comes the freedom to fail, but it’s important to provide a level of insurance for the children, for instance, to offer them the opportunity to have a minimally adequate education.

  23. Steven Davis

    @Kathryn – “We all need to kick in, whether we like it or not.”

    Who says?

    What you’re wanting is everyone to be equally financially no matter how much effort they put into it. If I work 60 hours a week, should someone who is able to, but refuses to work be financially equal to me through government handouts?

    Children. It’s not my responsibility to support their little “lovefest” trophies (to put it in a Brad approved way). If I wasn’t a participant in the conception, I don’t know why I should be required to raise them. If people want to give their entire incomes to charities, that’s fine… but making it the responsibility of the taxpayer is completely 100% wrong.

  24. Steven Davis

    @Silence – “but it’s important to provide a level of insurance for the children, for instance, to offer them the opportunity to have a minimally adequate education.”

    Isn’t that already called “public education”?

  25. `Kathryn Fenner

    You can tell “who says” by looking in the upper left corner.

    And actually many many of the working poor, which is virtually all since welfare reform, work more than 60 hours a week. They just don’t get paid much for doing so. There are no people who are able to work but simply refuse to, for long, any more, so please stop positing these straw men!

  26. Silence

    There needs to be some way to encourage poor people to make better decisions though. The classic example, from back when I worked at Kroger’s was the folks who would come in with their WIC voucher or foodstamps (at the time) and then use their cash to buy beer and cigs. This wasn’t the exception, this was the norm.

    Nowadays I see people living in government assisted housing with nicer cell phones than me (I think there’s even a special cell phone program for folks on SNAP or WIC), or who are paying for broadband internet, cable or Dish Network. My question is, if the benefits were cut off, would they cut the cable TV, or would they simply not eat?

    Finally, I think that a lot of the so called “poor” or “working poor” participate heavily in the cash economy, either through legal work, or illegal means (drugs/theft and pawning/ etc.) I think that many of them aren’t as bad off as their reported income would look. That said, some are legitimately needy.

  27. Brad

    Ummm… I use my “cash” — that is to say, money I make from this blog as opposed to household accounts that the powers that be at my house control — to buy beer, too.

    Hey, it’s liquid bread…

  28. Steven Davis

    @Silence – Apparently most fast food joints now also take the FoodStamp Card. Nothing like getting your 2 year old a healthy Happy Meal from McDonalds, rather than actually have to buy ingredients to cook a healthy meal.

  29. Steven Davis

    @Silence – A good friend of mine is a Columbia fireman. He said he stopped counting at the number of houses he’s been in to install free smoke detectors that had a nicer television than the one he has in his house. They went in one, where the television was worth more than the house… but they got their two free smoke detectors, and barely took enough time away from playing XBox to thank them on their way out.

    Another coworker sponsored a family for Christmas (the WIS rent a family thing), they spent almost $500 on the family, and not one of the teenagers bothered to get up to help bring them in from the car. He, his wife and his 80 year old dad each made two trips. That was the last year he did that.

  30. Steven Davis

    @Silence, I told the same thing to a guy who opened up an E-Bay store. He laughed, then a couple years ago the IRS audited him and he got a little more than his fingers slapped for undeclared income. Apparently E-Bay has a direct line to the IRS that reports sellers names and addresses, sales, etc. Which makes me wonder why it’s so hard to collect sales tax through online vendors.

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