The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC


December 26, 2012

A goldilocks tax rate

TARBORO — Maybe what we need is a Goldilocks tax rate.  Let's remember the story of Goldilocks.  Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Goldilocks.

She went for a walk in the woods and came upon a house.  She knocked on the door, but there was no answer.  The door was not locked so Goldilocks walked on in.

At a table in the kitchen, she found there were three bowls of porridge.

Being very hungry Goldilocks tasted the porridge from the first bowl.

"This porridge is too hot!" she exclaimed.

So she tasted the porridge from the second bowl.

"This porridge is too cold," she said.

Then she tasted the porridge from the last bowl of porridge.

"Ahhh, this porridge is just right," she said happily and she ate it all up.

After Goldilocks had eaten the three bears' breakfast she decided she was feeling a little tired. So, she walked into the living room where she saw three chairs.  Goldilocks sat in the first chair to rest her feet.

"This chair is too big!" she exclaimed.

So she sat in the second chair.

"This chair is too big, too!" she whined.

So she tried the last and smallest chair.

"Ahhh, this chair is just right." She sighed.  But just as she settled down into the chair to rest, it broke into pieces!

Point is can we really have a tax rate that will suit everyone. We can't have a rate that would please the Democrats, the Republicans, and the people and still keep our economy from going under.  Some people seem the think that there's no limit to how much we should tax the rich.  Then we have to define the "rich.” What is rich and what is not.

Actually, by most measures, if we taxed the rich out of existence it would only run the government but for a few months.  The amount of funds needed to run our government calls for the middle class to bear the brunt of the burden.  It has always been that way, and always will.

Often we have to illustrate a point by going to extremes.   For example; suppose we said, "Let's tax everyone, on their income at a rate of 40 percent."

"Are you nuts," would come the reply.  "A rate that high would bring on a depression worse than the one in the 1930's.  And, of course, that would be the case.  Alright, let's tax everyone at a rate of 5%.  That certainly wouldn't work. A five percent tax rate wouldn't run the government for five days, even if we did away with the military all together, along with just about every other government program.

Perhaps the best thing to do is to look back at history to see what has worked in the past and what hasn't worked.  I mean looking at the economic history of our nation and that of other nations, too.

Back during the Great Depression in the 1930's, when this nation was suffering greatly with unemployment in double digits and citizens lining up in soup lines to get a bite to eat, President Franklin Roosevelt blamed the rich for our problems and decided taxing the rich could bring us out of the Depression.

Of course, the rich weren't as rich as they had been and there were not enough of them, with enough money, to accomplish anything like this.  Plus, the funds that came from such taxes had to be pulled out of the private sector, thereby causing unemployment to increase.  In fact the depression became worse.

FDR still blamed the wealthy for our economic predicament, so he virtually declared war on business and what few wealthy people we had were heavily taxed until the idea of private investing in building a stronger economy was impossible.  We reached the point where we had the highest tax rate in the world.  Actually we didn't emerge from the Great Depression until the country started mobilizing for World War II.

So, is the tax rate porridge too hot (too high), too cold (too low) or just right?  I doubt that our tax rate has ever been, or will ever be, just right.  How do you tell when that level is reached?  Obama has been for raising taxes on small business owners who would have to cut back on employees in order to pay these taxes.

It does look like we may be getting closer to an agreement between Obama and the Republicans that will have enough logic in it to avoid the Fiscal Cliff and move the nation's economy, in 2013, on a smoother course.  Let's hope so.

Finally, I would like to wish that all the readers have had a wonderful Christmas, remembering the true meaning of Christmas, and what occurred over 2,000 years ago that made this holiday so special.  Also, I certainly hope that 2013 will be a prosperous and a safe year for this country and all her citizens.

(Bob Harper is a Tarboro resident who writes a column of general interest.)

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    To the Editor:
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    Concerning the Tarboro High 2013 Vikings football team: They have heart and desire. That was shown Friday night versus Washington. Just like last year’s state championship game, we got behind against a very good team. The Vikings didn’t quit even though they had several injuries throughout the game.  Right up to the last minute we had a chance  but, things didn’t go our way.

    September 5, 2013


    To the Editor:
    It appears Mr. (Garland) Shepheard is shaking up things in our fair city according to a recent Daily Southerner article. Hurrah for him. This citizen, for one, believes the status quo needs a little shake up.
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    September 4, 2013


    To the Editor:
    Having just recently read the front page article in The Daily Southerner regarding Councilman Shepheard’s issues with the Tarboro town manager, I was left with more questions than answers.
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    September 2, 2013


    To the Editor:
    So who are you Mr. Allen Dennie Jr.? I have never heard of you. I have tried to find your voter registration on the North Carolina State Board of Elections website and I can't find it.
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    August 18, 2013


    To the Editor:
    I am glad that opinions are being expressed regarding my actions at the Town Council meetings,  both by Mr. Walker and Mr. Wooten.
    It is my intention to expose the concerns expressed to me by the taxpayers of Tarboro, and when I find something that causes Tarboro not to be the Town we can all be proud of, I will speak up. I was told by people in Ward 8 when I ran for this office not to be like the rest of the Council and I expressed that to the members. The problems that exist in Tarboro should not have to be aired in public or at the Town Council Meetings and there should not be any discord.

    August 18, 2013


    To the Editor:
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    Greg Higgs,

    August 15, 2013


    To the Editor:
    Monday night at the Town Council meeting (Aug. 12, 2013), I witnessed some the most disruptive,vitriolic and asinine behavior that I’ve ever seen, in the person of (Ward 8) councilman Garland Shepheard.  For several months, his behavior has grown progressively worse and it seems to embolden him to waste my time, the time of the other council members and the time of other citizens who care enough about Tarboro to attend council meetings.

    August 15, 2013

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