The Art of Personal Graft
A civic lesson in the tax, fee, and fine system that supports our government and the rich
Frankie Firme ~ Contributing Editor
Thanks to my old friend Quentin, now long retired and free from fear of reprisal from his public sector job bosses, I recently got a renewed lesson on the art of graft called GOVERNMENT.
Published on LatinoLA: August 5, 2009
FUNK & WAGNALL's Dictionary defines graft as: "The act of getting personal advantage or profit by dishonest or unfair means, especially through one's political or official connections"‘«™pretty much sounds like certain parts of our Government lately, no ?
The Government has turned into one of the biggest gangs and "good old boys" club in the Country, and many of us are broke and mad as hell because of their blatant lack of discretion and shame as they rip us off everyday.
Many people entering and promoting themselves nowadays in public service on a managerial or administrative "leadership" or elective office role are pretty much assured a comfortable life they can share with non-deserving incompetent friends and family members, complete with money, connections, and privileges that put the "Compadre" system to shame, and that have inspired gangsters & drug dealers to emulate them. Here's just a brief civics lesson‘«™.education, remember?
You work‘«™you AND your employer pay income and payroll taxes.
You go to work in your own car‘«™which you paid sales taxes on, you pay a yearly tax for your registration (which includes taxes for road maintenance), you pay tax on every gallon of gas and every can of oil you use, and more & more places charge a fee (i.e. tax) for parking - in L.A., parking meters are up to $3.00 an hour (another tax), with meter maids circling like vultures
You have to eat‘«™more sales taxes. More people to feed, more taxes to pay.
Your kids go to school‘«™MOST of us pay school taxes to the state and county.
You want to start a business‘«™you have to pay a tax to get a business license, you have to pay a tax to get inspected and approved, and depending on where you live, you have to pay a tax for approval from some regulatory agency, and you pay taxes on utilities, insurance, and all supplies you need for your business, including phones, postage, etc.
Once your business gets going‘«™you have to pay sales and income taxes again, this time, from the other side‘«™called "business tax"‘«™
You forget to pay any of your taxes, and you get re-taxed again, but with interest.
With the over 10 million people living in the Los Angeles area, with all the businesses that exist‘«™can you just imagine how much tax is collected by a bureaucratic local, county, and state government that just sits on its ass waiting for tax $$ to come in?
‘«™.and‘«™you can't challenge them, question them, or argue with them, and in most cases you have to go through a long waiting line of bureaucratic levels to even come into contact with them. In all or most cases, they're so high in power and comfort, they have lost touch with the average citizen, and have to refer downwards to their staff to address your concern‘«™another long wait‘«™and you're still paying taxes in the meantime.
You get a traffic ticket, especially at the end of the month (quota crunch time), you pay a penalty or fine‘«™another tax. You have to take time out from work to go to court‘«™you lose out on your day's salary, basically taxing yourself‘«™and now besides losing out on a day's pay, and having to pay the inevitable fine (tax), now you have to pay high parking charges (another tax)‘«™or get a parking ticket that is‘«™
Yep! You guessed it, yet ANOTHER tax !
Traffic Cops and "Meter Maids" have quotas to support their existence, and although they deny it openly, cops have arrest and traffic ticket quotas themselves if they ever expect to get promoted up the ranks‘«™and THIS keeps jails & prisons in business, so politicians can look good by locking up criminals‘«™and criminals expand and improve their criminal enterprises with the contacts and skills they aquire behind bars‘«™and the more successful (i.e. rich) survivors become enmeshed with the elite because they can now afford to, and are no longer considered criminals anymore‘«™what a country, huh?
ALL tax-supported endeavors, and taxes are endless and beyond reproach.
Taxes are needed to afford to pay the military-police-courts-enforcement complex, which keeps the population in check, and keep it from rebelling in favor of the oppressed.
Now‘«™every politician running for elective office gets to raise "campaign funds" that can reach into the millions of dollars‘«™TAX FREE!!!!
Nobody ever expects them to explain WHAT they did with the money, even if they lose the election‘«™but do you notice none of them ever rent a home or apartment, or drive a used car ?
Did you know that Congressmen and Senators DON'T pay into the Social Security system, yet are assured of FULL pay as retirement after they leave office, even if it's just one term?...still more taxes, baby!
You know how many ex-politicos are living large off me and you?? No wonder some people want to run for political office‘«™it's a guaranteed retirement plan with perks.
And that's just the LEGAL feria floating around in their circles. Everyday, you hear of high level politicos getting popped for something illegal that scored them more bucks behind backs until they got popped (greedy buzzards, huh?)‘«™.what they had been getting before they got busted, and where it goes even after light jail sentences (like sharks not eating lawyers, they get a "professional courtesy")‘«™is open to conjecture, but in the case of somebody like say Barry Madoff and the billions he ripped off‘«™it may never get recouped.
Now, the gangsters:
- you want to deal drugs or manage prostitutes in a neighborhood‘«™you have to pay taxes to the local gang
- you have a family or business you don't want hurt or bothered‘«™you have to pay taxes to the gang.
- GOD forbid you or a family member goes to jail‘«™more than a few people know there's a tax (either to the gangsters or prison guards) to be paid to be left alone
- What they do with the money ( like buy cops, property, or make political contributions) is left up to your imagination‘«™but NOTHING is impossible or non-negotiable.
And MONEY is the biggest and easiest inter-county, interstate, and international passport there is‘«™make NO mistake about it‘«™it's not just in the movies.
So‘«™where does that leave the rest of us?
Well, according to my man Quentin, maybe letting the state and local governments go broke might be a good solution after all. Everybody cutting down on consumption will have a trickle up effect on the well to do, who's livelihood depends on feeding off the masses and the public trough, and the incompetent will be recalled or driven from office along with all their cronies.
Like sharks, hyenas, rats, and roaches during a food shortage, the rich politicians and their friends will begin to feed on each other as they lose monetary fat during famine ‘«™knocking each other off their pedestals till there aren't anymore for their crowd‘«™peeling back layers of protection for the unearned rich and other gangsters‘«™
... maybe honest (for the moment) political leaders will rise, as the poisoned generation before them slips back into the gutters of animosity from whence they came‘«™and our lot may improve for the benefit of many.
‘«™sounds like a dream‘«™but then this Country and everything great it stands for was built on a dream.
‘«™thanks again, Quentin! Say hello to Dirk for us !
Frankie Firme ~ Contributing Editor:
Frankie Firme is a regular contributor to this fine web magazine
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