Prepare, Sustain, Thrive and Survive Simply
A study was just released by the Microeconomic Studies Division of the Congressional Budget Office, about how the government might help low income people, like me, weather the financial impact of the carbon tax. Well, as you read on you will see it’s not exactly about people like me.
First of all, it is ironic that the government, whose policies consistently favor and support dependence on fossil fuels, including billions burned up in foreign wars to support the fossil fuel way of life, may burden everyone with a tax to mitigate the results of this Neanderthal practice. But the real culprits are the average mainstream sheeple of all economic strata who feed the unsustainable machine by blind acquiescence to the status quo.
The OMB analysis assumes that the poor have no choice but to perpetuate the status quo by consuming at customary levels and that they require government assistance to do so. This government assistance, if fully offset, would cost upward of 27 percent of the carbon tax collected. That doesn’t include administrative costs of redistributing the wealth. “An important consideration in using revenues to provide assistance to households is the amount of new administrative or compliance costs.”
Nevertheless, I would like to note how touching it is that somebody associated with the government is acknowledging the lowest of the low income people, and how we might be affected by this proposed policy. We are disproportionately inconvenienced by most policies — to the point of considering them Draconian — but nobody ever seems to care enough to back off.
I was amused to learn about the very existence of this federal Microeconomic Studies Division, since I live in the very throes of micro-economy day-by-day, and am now curious about what else these folks are up to. What is the story behind the commissioning of such reports, and what is their agenda?
It occurs to me that any attempt by an entitled entity (i.e. anybody who does not live and breathe the microeconomic dynamics of the lowest income quintile, as they call it) runs the risk of being paternalistic. I don’t see where any low quintile people were actually consulted here, which isn’t surprising because the assumption is that there is something mentally wrong with us.
Besides, isn’t it counter-productive for any entity that relies on the mainstream for its bread and butter to come up with the radical solutions actually required on the brink of TEOTWAWKI?
But, for the sake of discussion, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and assume for a moment, that somebody truly cares about how this carbon tax offset might impact quality of life in general, especially for low quintile folks. In that case, they should add the option of encouraging radical voluntary simplicity. This option improves the environment, empowers the poor, and preserves liberty.
One reason the poor seem committed to perpetuating their miserable state of affairs is that they are generally not aware that lifestyle alternatives promoted by the radical simplicity movement can dramatically improve quality of life. That’s because cultural creatives with alternative wisdom are constantly belittled and suppressed by all tentacles of the plutocracy.
This report completely skirts the issue that the fastest way to solve both environmental and economic problems is to re-ignite the liberty to experiment and improve ways of living simply and naturally on earth. Ways that are accessible to any income quintile.
The approach of promoting a fossil fuel culture, then charging a carbon tax and mitigating the economic trickle down with government welfare programs is counter-productive. Under a carbon tax scenario, producers would pay the government for using fossil fuels to provide goods. The producers would then recoup their costs, which would result in either higher prices, lower wages, or lower stock dividends.
The study says low-income households would be disproportionately affected by a carbon tax because they spend a larger portion of their incomes on necessities, which in our culture, are dependent on fossil fuels. They also spend a higher ratio of income on gas and electricity than do more affluent households. So, the humane thing to do is for the government to step in and help, by redistributing some of the money collected via the carbon tax.
Instead of promoting true solutions, this OMB report grapples with questions of how welfare payments that offset a carbon tax would affect poor peoples’ consumption practices, willingness to find work, and eventually invest — in what mutual funds?
People who already receive government assistance in the form of Social Security, SSI, or Supplemental Nutrition Action Payments — aka food stamps — would see an automatic increase, since those are tied to the consumer price index.
What about the rest of the of the people? The report compares two options. One would benefit households in all income brackets. The other focuses on the low quintiles.
Possibilities in Option One reduce income taxes or providie rebates on income or payroll taxes across the board. The government might also increase incentives for energy-saving investments.
The second option focuses on redirecting carbon tax money to the poor through a higher Earned Income Tax Credit, provide a cash payment to people on food stamps, or increase payments to households getting help through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
I am not very interested in any of these government programs. My only hope is to ask government to get out of the way. All things considered, the government should adopt a laissez faire option for people like me, who are interested in simply surviving and thriving on earth in a sustainable and respectful manner.
My goal is not to consume at customary levels, but to do just the opposite: to thrive with as little gas and electricity and consumer goods as possible. The government, if it is truly concerned about people in the lower economic strata, should back off and let us figure out how to accomplish that goal in peace. It is both possible and honorable.
Here are some things that need to happen: planning and zoning commissions in low density areas need to back off so the low quintile folks have opportunity to freely build alternative experimental dwellings and intentional communities where use of resources and energy are minimized.
Regulations that prohibit people from living where they work and working where they live need to be banned.
Health Departments need to leave householders alone when it comes to humanure and gray water systems, as long as best practices are followed.
People need to be free to grow agricultural products of all kinds and sell or barter them without government intrusion.
The right to earn a livelihood without the government taxing it as “income” needs to be re-instituted.
Efforts to create healthy autonomous small-scale living systems need to be off limits to government interference and intrusion. Trial Occupy Autonomy Zones should be set up in strategic areas of the country to test the efficacy of this approach. As long as we are spending our hard earned money to fund nationally orchestrated murder to preserve access to fossil fuels in the name of freedom, we the people can demand the liberty to simply survive on US soil. Anything less is unreasonable compromise.
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