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Are we at the end of the Goodfellas Era
of the American Century?

But now Paulie could do anything. Like run up bills on the joint's credit.

And why not? Nobody will pay for it anyway.

Take deliveries at the front door and sell it out the back at a discount.

Take a two-hundred dollar case of booze and sell it out for a hundred dollars.

It doesn't matter. It's all profit.

Then finally, when there's nothing left...

...when you can't borrow another buck from the bank... bust the joint out.

You light a match.

ONE MORE. Explain this:

For years we have clucked at the Chinese for establishing an economy on the backs of working people who labor under sweatshop conditions at slave wages. We don't want that kind of an economy. We want to send all our citizens to college and teach them to earn a living with their brains not their brawn.

My question: why are those poor ignorant bastards the only folks with any savings and the only nation on the face of the earth with solvent banks?
Assertion: Every American adult should pay Federal Income Taxes.

(1) At present we have a severe disconnection between what we demand from the Federal Government, and any sense that such demands will cost us anything. Paying Federal income tax reminds us that nothing is free.

(2) At present, it is too easy for the majority of Americans, who pay little or no Federal taxes, to demand increased services because someone else will be paying for them. This places politicians in the position of promising more and more to the masses in order to gain votes ("Promising to rob Peter to pay Paul usually will gain the vote of Paul") while threatening to destroy the producers of wealth (see "The Goose Who Laid the Golden Egg"). Such practice could eventually mean the end of Democracy through demagoguery (see Plato, The Republic).

(3) The present system described above works against virtues such as industry and prudence, and encourages vices such as imprudence and sloth (turning "The Ant and the Grasshopper" upside down).

(4) At present too few people pay attention to decisions made by the Federal government. Most adult Americans know more about their favorite sports team, than about their Congressional delegation. Paying Federal income taxes would give every American adult a vested interest in knowing what the Federal government is doing.

Assertion: Except during declared emergencies such as war, Federal spending and Federal taxes should be yoked together such that the percentage increase, or decrease, in Federal spending is matched by the same percentage increase or decrease in the amount of Federal taxes paid by each individual.

(1) Such a linkage would reinforce Reasons (1) and (2) above.
(2) Americans would be motivated to demand less spending by the Federal government in order that taxes would decrease.

Assertion: this plan still would work with a progressive system of income taxation.

(1) An increase in spending leading to a corresponding increase in taxes, for example 3%, is noticable whether that means the individual's tax increases $30,000 per year, or $30.