Joe Stacks suicide letter ...how long will it exist?

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Comments

  • edited February 2010
    Tim wrote:
    I actually thought that what he did was pretty cool, aside from 1-2 other people getting hurt. My only improvement would have been for him to fly a few laps around the IRS building to get their attention first, and then fly out, line up on it, and slam it. I wonder if he had extra cans of fuel inside the plane with him for a bigger BOOM, that fire seemed pretty big for a little airplane.

    So you think that acts of terrorism performed by people who hate our system of government but don't have the courage to do anything productive about it is pretty cool? I'm not trying to get this thread closed, but if he had done it because he felt his interpretation of his religious texts compelled him to, would you feel differently?
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Watch Slut, Mumble Hivemind Drone Austin, TX
    edited February 2010
    shwaip wrote:
    right here, thrax

    Thanks, Shwaip. <3
  • shwaipshwaip bluffin' with my muffin
    edited February 2010

    yeah, that basically says the exact same thing as your post.
  • SnarkasmSnarkasm Madison, WI
    edited February 2010
    tl;dr: If America was less concerned with money and having big guns and more concerned about getting everybody a better standard of life, people wouldn't want to crash planes into buildings - from within or from outside the country.
  • RWBRWB
    edited February 2010
    The tenure system also need to be reworked. In some places, schools have enough money to pay for good teachers, but they can't fire the teachers that they have currently in order to hire better ones.

    What I was trying to point out myself is that too much money is going into technology when we need better paid teachers as well as BETTER teachers. The things I see and hear from some teachers makes me weep for their students. Some teachers being more childish than the students themselves.

    Though the tech I install really does seem to help, as it gets the kids attention and allows them to physically interact with a teaching technique better than simply writing on a chalkboard. Many of the teachers I talk with later on love it and won't stop talking about it. It does so much it's ridiculous though the accessories are more money out of the tax payers wallet.

    As for military spending shwaip, it seems that many advancements in the civilian area have been coming from the absurd military budget. Medical, transportation, etc. These are things that end up benefiting the whole world. But then again how much money is really being spent on those things?

    Things obviously will never be perfect, but it seems things are getting out of control when it comes to corruption. heh there is simply too many things to keep track of. Kinda like what I think I recall that guy saying in that letter about the average person simply cannot know all the laws, thus cannot know when their breaking one. IE: HID's may be illegal in your state but you got them installed without knowing, drove around the state for years with no problem, then one day you get pulled over by a cop and given a ticket. Are we all expected to be lawyers, accountants, and whatever else we're expected to know everything about because "ignorance is no excuse"?
  • NiGHTSNiGHTS
    is surprised global warming still hasn't been brought forward ITT at this point
    San Diego
    edited February 2010
    is surprised global warming still hasn't been brought forward ITT at this point
  • PetraPetra Palmdale, CA USA
    edited February 2010
    RWB, I believe this would be the part you're referring to:
    How can any rational individual explain that white elephant conundrum in the middle of our tax system and, indeed, our entire legal system? Here we have a system that is, by far, too complicated for the brightest of the master scholars to understand. Yet, it mercilessly "holds accountable" its victims, claiming that they're responsible for fully complying with laws not even the experts understand. The law "requires" a signature on the bottom of a tax filing; yet no one can say truthfully that they understand what they are signing; if that's not "duress" than what is. If this is not the measure of a totalitarian regime, nothing is.
    Poorly written or not, this is a sentiment which resonates quite strongly with me--a government which scares its populace into submission by making them all criminals, in one way or another. Title 26 of the US Code of Federal Regulations (tax code), for example, is like 13458 pages in the form that the GPO distributes it and it's all legalese... you'd need tax lawyers just to decipher it ($$$$) and there would still be debate over the meaning of a large portion of the content. I downloaded portions of Title 26 last year, it's nuts, and, somehow, it's not absolutely absurd that we're all held accountable for every word that's in it? It's the same way for practically every other set of US laws (both State and Federal). There is absolutely no reason for this level of complication in law other than: 1) to maintain a submissive populace and 2) to retain and grow one's power. It vaguely reminds me of the antics of governments of yore (we'll write all of our laws in Latin, which is not a native language of the commoners, and those in power will tell the commoners whatever they want).

    As for this notion that we don't pay very much in taxes and that money begin given to any form of higher government in the US is a good thing because it benefits everyone... Let's look at it this way:

    As a "self-employed," unmarried individual, with no children, living in California, and a hypothetical taxable income of US$20k, one can expect:
    ~35% federal income tax (which is composed of a myriad of taxes, and higher than most "normal" people because you have to pay both "your share" of the tax and the share that your employer usually pays (yes, your employer gets to pay taxes for having you as an employee)).
    ~5% California State tax (which includes things like unemployment tax...which, by the way, the "self-employed" are not eligible to collect upon)
    ~9.25-9.75%+ county/state sales tax on purchases, including private party purchases of used goods (and, contrary to popular belief, you don't get out of this by purchasing stuff out of state because you're supposed declare those purchases to the state and pay a "use tax" at a rate equivalent to that of the sales tax you would have paid)
    -Property tax (I don't recall the current rate but the short-term ballooning of property values that CA experiences in cycles really destroys some people financially. Even at 1%, if you buy a property valued at $250k and it jumps up to $650k over the course of a few years (not unheard of in CA), you've gone from paying $2500/year to $6500/year in property tax)
    -Then add in all of the little taxes like: taxes on gasoline (state+federal), telecommunications taxes (local+state+federal on all phone lines, cellular or otherwise), taxes on utilities (electricity, water, natural gas), gift taxes, automotive license and registration fees (which happen to have shot up drastically in CA over the past year or so, simply because it was seen by the state as a revenue stream to exploit), etc., etc.

    The list goes on and on and I'm not even taking into account most of the crap that one has to deal with to run a small business.

    The way I see it, a fair portion of the problem is that the direction of tax revenue distribution is backwards--we're paying a huge chunk to the very top level of government, just to have them try to redistribute it and have the funds trickle down to local municipalities... but every level that it goes through to get there takes a cut (with the federal level likely being the least efficient of all). Those who look to the top level of government in this country to solve problems which could be dealt with on the state/county level are fools. Sure, the federal government could try to help but it's not their place to (not that they care anymore), it'll cost 10-100x more, and the result will be, maybe, 50% as effective. This country was not meant to be one of strong centralized powers, but that's exactly what's been happening and it's tugging very hard on the seams that hold things together (granted, this mentality of entitlement so many seem to have isn't helping things at all).

    Also, I don't like it when people try to compare the social programs of European countries to those of the US because, in many instances, you're dealing with different governmental mentalities. Take Norway, for example... yes, their taxes are nuts but a very large portion of that money actually goes towards directly benefiting the population as a whole AND they do it while maintaining a budget surplus. Meanwhile, most social programs in the US (federal and otherwise) are a joke and the federal debt is up to, what, US$12.4 trillion. Yes, Norway is a tiny country which also receives some of its revenue from oil drilling in the North Sea... but when you think that this country was meant to function as a group of mostly independent [small] states + a weak federal government charged with defense and dealing with interstate squabbles, it becomes a more relevant example.

    Okay, I seem to be ranting... see what happens when I'm left at home alone every day? lol

    With all of that said, I don't condone the actions of Mr. Stacks. There are still plenty of alternatives to violence available to the people of this country--we just have to use them if we really want to see change. Besides, if you think it's bad here, just think of what the people of Russia had to endure over the past several hundred years... we've got nothing on them :rolleyes2
  • shwaipshwaip bluffin' with my muffin
    edited February 2010
    20k income doesn't pay 35%, even with the self-employed tax.
  • PetraPetra Palmdale, CA USA
    edited February 2010
    shwaip wrote:
    20k income doesn't pay 35%, even with the self-employed tax.
    You may want to take that up with the three CPA's that we've tried over the years... but that's beside the point.
  • shwaipshwaip bluffin' with my muffin
    edited February 2010
    Self employment tax is 15.3% (up to 100k). The tax itself is deductible from your income, resulting in 14.13% tax rate.

    Federal tax rate on 20k (assuming you don't deduct your self employment tax, or anything at all that you consider a business expense) is 10% on 8375 + 15% on 11625 = 2596

    2596/20000 = 13%

    13%+14% = 27%, so...

    and you get at least a 5k deduction just for filing.

    edit:

    It turns out it's multiplicative (essentially), so I'm wrong with the math above. It's close to 35%.
    If you have complaints about the CA-specific portions of the taxes, there is a pretty simple solution to that :)
  • SnarkasmSnarkasm Madison, WI
    edited February 2010
    The purpose of comparing it to a European tax structure was not to do anything but to point out how other peoples can be taxed significantly higher without complaint because of the difference in how the money is used. If the ROI in the country went more towards improving the standard of education, funding useful social programs, paying for healthcare, I think there's a decent chance some people would be willing to pay it - but right now, there's a huge - HUGE - uproar over the possibility of being taxed for any new programs at all, including healthcare - the one thing nearly every other first-world country has gotten correct and proven works.
  • PetraPetra Palmdale, CA USA
    edited February 2010
    Snarkasm wrote:
    The purpose of comparing it to a European tax structure was not to do anything but to point out how other peoples can be taxed significantly higher without complaint because of the difference in how the money is used. If the ROI in the country went more towards improving the standard of education, funding useful social programs, paying for healthcare, I think there's a decent chance some people would be willing to pay it - but right now, there's a huge - HUGE - uproar over the possibility of being taxed for any new programs at all, including healthcare - the one thing nearly every other first-world country has gotten correct and proven works.
    See, but that's a huge "if" for the federal government. They've done nothing but demonstrate that ROI, at least on the federal level, will get worse as time goes on...not better. I'm not saying that you can't have an ROI which satisfies the populace, you just have to have the right governmental mentality to make it happen and that's not something which the US federal government has right now. You have an uproar over tax increases in this country as a result of new programs because the ROI is already horrible--nevermind that in the instance of health care there are also some constitutional issues (gross abuse of the interstate commerce clause comes to mind). They need to fix other things before piling more on.

    To draw a parallel, lets liken the EU to the US (a group of states united by a larger governing body). Things like government provided public health care work because they're devised, funded, and executed on the state level. If the governing body of the EU were to impose a tax on all individuals living within countries in the EU to pay for some massive universal health care system, my guess would be that it wouldn't go over too well... and this isn't as silly a parallel as one may think when you consider the GDP of the various states within the US (link). Health care can be a state issue within the US, like so many other things which should be... but only if the federal government decides to stop trampling on the constitution. After all, we're the United States of America, not the State of America. :rolleyes2
  • JasonJason PDX
    edited February 2010
    This is truly tragic.

    You read this letter and you see this impassioned man, a man that could have likely done anything he wanted to do, maybe even lead this necessary revolt for which he speaks, but thats all dashed because he just randomly runs a plane into the side of a building in an act of senseless violence.

    Trust me, everything this guy is saying has run through mind, things will eventually stand to get very ugly. The middle class has been living in fear, beaten down, discarded by a system that is designed against them. But I know that killing a few random people isn't going to change a single thing.

    The social change that is required is going to take a massive movement, and it needs a voice, it needs it leader. Its a shame our citizenship has become a group of scared little sheep. Afraid to stand up on the soap box, afraid to take an unpopular position for the fear of being labeled a crazy, a nut-job, whack-job, whatever. We all need that guy to peaceably lead the revolt, but who is it? Certainly not the type of person that concludes that you ram a plane into a side of a building to resolve a problem, we have a few too many of those as it is.

    Well said, Cliff. The only thing I'd take issue with is the idea that a mass movement of this sort needs a leader. If each one of us who felt this way were to take some sort of action — to voice our thoughts, to protest, to take the time to write our representatives, to run for office ourselves and try to make the changes we seek — instead of waiting for a leader to appear and take charge, it'd be done already. People just need to starting believing that social change is not only desirable but possible, and then do something about it.

    As for Mr. Stack, he sounded like a guy who really hated taxes and blamed the government for all of his problems.

    Committing suicide in order to make a strong statement (e.g., Thich Quang Duc) is one thing, and I don't really have a problem with it, but going out of your way to kill innocent people who are simply doing their job in the process is quite another. I think this just goes to show how self-absorbed and unstable he really was.

    I understand feeling frustrated and powerless and wanting to do something about it, but I simply can't understand setting your house on fire and then flying a fucking plane into a building because you blame corrupt politicians and the IRS for your depleted retirement savings and financial trouble. It just makes things worse for people like me, because whenever I start talking about the things I don't like about the system, people will wonder if I'm a potential nut-job.
  • JasonJason PDX
    edited February 2010
    The anti-tax mentality in the US is truly staggering.

    In MI, we're currently in a conundrum. We need to either raise taxes (bad) or cut services (also bad) to balance our budget.

    Anti-Tax groups: Well, you certainly can't raise taxes!
    Government: All right, then. We'll have to cut some services.
    Anti-Tax groups: No! You can't cut services!
    Government: Well, what would you have us do?
    Anti-Tax groups: Lower taxes!

    Apparently, anti-tax groups needed to go to consumer math classes in High School, because it's pretty well established that after a certain point (credit will only get you so far) you simply can't spend more money than you have coming in.

    Yeah, we had the same problem here in Oregon with Measures 66 and 67. The state legislature passed two new tax measures last year, which the governor signed in July, but the anti-tax crowd got enough signatures for a referendum and to sent them to a special election ballot measure this January. They both passed, however, which marks the first time Oregon voters have approved a statewide tax measure since 1931.
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