I recognize that each state has its own rights to tax its citizens. Because of that, I can see a logical variation in taxes levied from state to state. For the purposes of this post, I am going to focus on federal taxes, which should apply equally to citizens regardless of which state they live in.
The way that I look at it, the government should treat all citizens equally. For things to be truly fair, every single adult citizen should pay the exact same amount in taxes. By this, I mean that a billionaire should pay the exact same amount in federal taxes as an unemployed citizen should. After all, each person only gets one vote. It’s not as if the billionaire gets more votes because he or she has paid far more in taxes to keep the federal government going.
But I know the reality is that the unemployed person will never pay more in taxes than the billionaire. In order to keep the government running, such an “equal amount” would be much higher than many people would be able to pay. Once I accept that unfortunate fact, I have to work within the parameters the there will be inherent unfairness in any tax policy that ever takes effect. The question is then to what degree we should tolerate unfairness.
As it is, we have a progressive tax system. The more you earn, the higher the percentage that is taken by the government in taxes from each additional dollar earned. Again, that seems to be inherently unfair. If we are to assume that the government somehow has a right to a portion of each dollar earned, it doesn’t make much sense that the government has a right to a larger portion of a greater dollar earned. The portion should be constant at any level of earned income. Again, this system of taxation is unfair because the person who earns more is paying more to support the federal government than the person who is earning less. But unlike the ideal equal amount of taxation that is not possible, the flat tax is possible. Also, this system if far more fair than the current progressive system of taxation. Thus, I currently support the idea of a flat tax.
But my ideas on tax policy go farther than that. In addition to fairness, I believe in simplicity. I believe that, in addition to switching to a flat tax, we should eliminate all tax deductions and tax credits. How a person chooses to live their life and how a person chooses to spend their money should have absolutely no bearing on how much they pay in federal taxes. Again, the government is either entitled to a portion of each dollar earned or not. In order to keep things fair and simple, there should be no exceptions. This means that people should not be eligible for tax deductions because they have children, because they are paying for a mortgage, because they are paying for college, because they are donating to charity, etc. If you choose to have kids, fine. If you choose to buy a house, great. If you choose to go to college, wonderful. And if you choose to donate to charity, awesome. But don’t expect to get any sort of tax breaks as a result of your choices. For you to get a tax break for doing such things makes it unfair for those who choose to not have kids, to those who choose to not buy a house, to those who choose to not go to college, and to those who choose to not donate to charity.
If we were to switch to a flat tax with no deductions or credits whatsoever, paying taxes could become fairer and incredibly simple.
On the heels of the recent ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that California’s Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage, is unconstitutional, I felt that this was a good time for me to explain my position on gay marriage.
Back in 2008, I voted Yes on Prop 8. If I had to do it over again, I would still vote Yes on Prop 8. I am by no means homophobic. I have a few gay friends, and I have a whole lot of bi-sexual female friends. I have seen many severely messed up heterosexual relationships, and I truly believe that homosexual people can be in loving and committed relationships or messed up relationships just as much as heterosexual people can be.
My support for a ban on gay marriage stems from the definition of “marriage”. I believe the traditional definition of marriage is a committed relationship between one man and one woman. I don’t believe that that definition should be changed. If something is an orange, I am going to have issues with a person who calls that orange a banana. It is what it is. But just because I don’t want to refer to a homosexual relationship as a “marriage” does not necessarily mean that it is something that should be diminished or considered inferior. In fact, I would consider a loving relationship between a homosexual couple to be superior to some of the severely screwed up heterosexual marriages that I have seen over the years. To me, it is the actual relationship between the individuals that is more important when evaluating a couple than simply whether the relationship is between a man and a woman.
But let me get to my real point here. Personally, I don’t think the government should even be in the business of recognizing marriages in the first place. Yes, I do think that marriage is a religious ceremony and lifestyle that people should be able to enter into if their particular religion is okay with their particular relationship. But as far as the government is concerned, I believe the government should treat everyone equally, no matter what. It should not matter whether you are married or not. Married couples should not be allowed to receive tax breaks that are not afforded to unmarried individuals because doing so is discriminatory against people who have either decided to not get married or who have yet to find that right person in their life. I believe that individuals should be allowed to designate one person in a reciprocal arrangement as each others' primary decision-maker in case they ever get sick and to who they can transfer property without financial penalties. For legal purposes, this person would be treated as a spouse is currently treated, with all the rights to visit their loved one in the hospital and make decisions for them in case of incapacitation.
Once we separate the morality of a religious marriage from the nuts and bolts of how a government should treat all citizens equally, then we can move past some of the ridiculous arguments and hang-ups that people are having over insignificant issues. Then it wouldn’t even matter whether your religion or personal beliefs caused you to look unfavorably upon the relationships of others. As Americans, we have the right to like or not like whatever we want. But at the same time, we should all acknowledge the fact that individuals should be able to join together in legally binding agreements designating who will be the one to make the important decisions for them if need be.
After a lot of thought, it is with sadness that I have decided to end my campaign for State Assembly in District 20.
There is still no doubt in my mind that I am the best person to represent Assembly District 20 in Sacramento. But at the same time, I believe the voters in the district are not ready to comprehend the fact that I am exactly the kind of person who they should be electing into office. For now, the majority of the voters in the area seem to be content electing unremarkable people into office.
I am also a rational business person at heart. I am a firm believer in allowing unviable entities to wither away die rather than artificially keeping them afloat longer than necessary. My campaign for State Assembly has been unable to draw enough attention or financial support to keep it going in a strong way. Because the “voter marketplace” does not seem to spending enough dollars to keep it going, I have concluded that it is not wise to continue with my campaign.
When I walk up to an average person in the district, asking them who their current Assemblymember is, and I receive a blank stare in return, there is clearly a problem. When I walk up to a resident who is currently being represented in the Assembly by Bob Wieckowski, asking them how they think he has done in Sacramento over the past year, and they can’t even begin to give me a response, there is clearly a problem. And when I walk up to a resident who is currently being represented in the Assembly by Mary Hayashi, asking how they feel about her recent arrest for shoplifting and claims that a brain tumor affected her decision-making abilities and behavior, and they have absolutely no idea what I am talking about, there is clearly a problem. With such ignorance among the electorate, it is no wonder that there is no overwhelming movement afoot asking forcHayashi to resign from office immediately. The vast majority of the people in this area have absolutely no idea what is going on with their elected officials. I condemn the ignorance and apathy on the part of these people, as well as their acceptance of mediocrity in their elected officials. Clearly, I am not the right person to represent these people at this time.
Over the course of my time as a candidate, I have learned that I am not a very good politician. I am much better at telling people what I really think than at sucking up to people and telling them what they want to hear just to get them to donate money to my campaign or to vote for me. And even if I were to have been elected into office, I would have refused to trade favors in order to hold onto my elected office. Unfortunately, that’s the dirty and dishonest way that things are done here in California. With our current way of conducting politics, my personality means that I am not cut out to serve in elected office in California.
Ever since I was a small child, I have believed in the American political system. I have always told people about how great it is, and I have voted in every election that I was eligible to vote in since I turned 18. But I have now witnessed the ugly reality of American politics. For the system to work properly, it requires an electorate that truly understands the issues and that is willing to vote for the best person based on each candidate’s positions on the issues and personality traits. But the stark reality in such a voting area as Assembly District 20 is that the Democrat candidate, no matter how bad of a person he or she may be, will always win over a Republican candidate. The deck is stacked so far in the favor of the Democrats that a Republican has no chance. Without an honest effort on the part of the electorate to get to know the candidates, they simply wind up voting for the person with all of the fancy glossy ads touting that they are a Democrat and that they will give you things for voting for them. It really is disgusting.
Moving forward, I will continue to support the American political system on general principle. But I am going to be highly skeptical of any district, liberal or conservative, that is so biased in their political leanings that true competition does not exist. A vote in such uncompetitive races becomes essentially meaningless. It is through fair competition that the best and the brightest emerge. But in our current highly biased system, with its uncompetitive districts and uninformed electorate, we will continue to get the same sort of bad elected officials that we already see in office.
From its inception, I have sat on the Board of Directors of the Responsible Citizens of California. And very soon after its inception, I took over the position of President of the organization. After almost two years with RCC, and against the wishes of its Board of Directors, effective immediately, I am stepping down as President. I had originally planned to stay on as a member of the Board of Directors, but I have also decided that, effective immediately, I am resigning from RCC’s Board of Directors as well.
Unfortunately, due to time constraints with my job, my personal relationships, and my campaign for State Assembly, I feel that I do not have enough time to adequately lead RCC on a day-to-day basis. The time has come for me to hand over control of operations to someone else. I believe this moment also provides me with a good opportunity to make a clean break and move in a slightly different direction with my life. I will continue to fight for Second Amendment rights in my own way. But from now on, I will be doing so as an individual, not as part of a formal organization.
I wish the Responsible Citizens of California the best of luck in their future endeavors, and I thank everyone for their support during my time at the helm of RCC.
December 2, 2011
The Responsible Citizens of California is disappointed with Governor Jerry Brown’s decision to sign AB 144, a bill to ban the Unloaded Open Carry of handguns, into law. Furthermore, we express very strong opposition to the passage of AB 809 (long gun registration) and SB 819 (misappropriation of DROS fees) into law.
The right to Open Carry has been legal in the State of California since its inception, and there has never been a single case of an Open Carry advocate ever committing a violent crime in the Golden State's entire 160-year history. Since no problem has ever existed that needs to be addressed or fixed, there was no reason for AB 144 in the first place.
The right to carry a firearm for personal protection is a basic, fundamental, and enumerated civil right that is guaranteed by the United States Constitution, confirmed by the US Supreme Court's twin landmark rulings in both Heller and McDonald, and Unloaded Open Carry was cited as an important right in California by two federal judges in recent court decisions. This decision on the part of Governor means that, as of January 1, 2012, the fundamental right to carry a handgun will be denied to the vast majority of law-abiding California residents. It is essential that law enforcement officers understand that Unloaded Open Carry will remain legal until January 1, 2012. Open Carry advocates should be treated with respect and in a manner that does not violate any of their basic, fundamental, and enumerated civil rights.
The Responsible Citizens of California will continue to work with other 2nd Amendment organizations to plot the best possible course of action moving forward. Also, it is worth noting that while AB 144 bans the practice of Unloaded Open Carry of handguns in California, this bill does absolutely nothing to limit the civil right to Open Carry long guns (rifles and shotguns). Since the State Legislature and the Governor have chosen to attack the right to carry handguns, law-abiding citizens who wish to be able to protect themselves from violent criminals have no choice but to Open Carry long guns instead.
Compared with the rest of the country, California is behind the times with regards to 2nd Amendment Rights. Most other States have been expanding the basic, fundamental, and enumerated civil right to self defense for their electorate. It is time for our elected officials in California to stop eroding every law-abiding citizen's 2nd Amendment Rights. Instead, our public servants should be working to firmly protect the basic, fundamental, and enumerated civil right to self defense and take deliberate action toward expanding these critical civil rights for all law-abiding Californians.
President, Responsible Citizens of California
While I am disappointed in the outcome, I am not surprised that the Legislature has passed AB 144, a bill to ban open carry in California. It is disheartening to know that a majority of our elected officials in Sacramento feel that it is okay to disarm law-abiding citizens and remove the only realistic means available for most people to be able to carry a firearm for personal protection in this state.
I would like to remind everyone that open carry is still legal in California. Governor Jerry Brown has yet to sign AB 144 into law. I urge the governor to veto this piece of legislation when it hits his desk.
And if Governor Brown does decide to sign AB 144, it is almost certain that the law will be challenged in court. There are constitutional issues that must addressed, as well as how this law relates to the recent court ruling that the highly discriminatory "may-issue" concealed weapons permitting process in California is legal partly because open carry is also available to residents as an alternate means of carry in this state.
The fight will continue.
President, Responsible Citizens of California
I am proud to announce that I, Adnan Shahab, am running for State Assembly in 2012.
After my defeat in the race for the Assembly District 20 seat last November, I thought long and hard about whether I should run again. I heard from many people throughout Assembly District 20, throughout California, and throughout the nation who urged me to keep fighting for what’s right, no matter what the odds. The reality is that the task remains unfinished. California is still in trouble, and I must try my best to help fix this state.
The reasons why I am running now are the same as when I ran in 2010. The people of California deserve a Legislature that is committed to promoting economic development and job growth through fewer restrictive regulations on business. We need to eliminate wasteful spending, cut the size of government, and get it off the backs of hard-working individuals via reduced taxes. We must maintain public safety and a commitment to an education system that truly works. And we must assure that the rights of law-abiding citizens are not infringed upon by a nanny government that thinks it is wise enough to tell people how to live their lives.
I do not consider this to be a new campaign for State Assembly. Instead, I consider this to be a continuation of the campaign I began back during the summer of 2009. Please join me. The road will be tough, and we have a lot of hard work ahead of us. But we have to keep on pushing for a better California.
Please visit my official campaign website at:
Below is the text of a Letter to the Editor that I just sent to a couple of my local newspapers. It will be interesting to see whether they actually print my letter.
I was born and raised in California, and I have absolutely no criminal or mental health history. I have undergone extensive firearms training, both in California and out of state. And I currently hold multiple concealed weapons permits, allowing me to legally carry a concealed firearm in 32 states.
Despite living in the City of Fremont virtually all of my life, Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern and Fremont Police Chief Craig Steckler do not believe my life is valuable enough to be issued a permit to carry a concealed firearms with which to protect myself in California.
The Second Amendment to the United State Constitution states “…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” My right, as well as the right of many others in California, to bear arms is being infringed upon by Sheriffs and Police Chiefs throughout the state. The people should be aware that our rights have already been stripped from us in an unfair and discriminatory way.
If any crime is perpetrated against me that could have been deterred or avoided had I been permitted to legally carry a firearm on my person, I am going to hold the Alameda County Sheriff and Fremont Police Chief accountable for leaving me defenseless.
With the introduction of Assembly Bill 144, a bill to ban open carry, the right of law-abiding citizens to be able to carry a firearm for personal protection is, once again, being threatened by the Legislature in Sacramento. I would like to take this opportunity to assure everybody that the Responsible Citizens of California is working diligently to defeat AB 144. As President of the Responsible Citizens of California, I am personally involved in the direction of the organization, including strategic decision-making and planning. While the defeat of AB 144 is RCC’s main short-term priority, we also have other long-range goals of defending the right of responsible citizens to be able to safely and conscientiously keep and bear arms.
President, Responsible Citizens of California
For information about the Responsible Citizens of California, please visit:
I, Adnan Shahab, publicly challenge Assemblymember Anthony Portantino, or any other member of the California Legislature who supports AB 144, to a debate on open carry and California's carry laws. My only stipulation is that the Legislator must post video of the debate, in its entirety, on the front page of his or her official website for the entire time period ranging from 72 hours after the end of the debate until 30 days after a final vote on AB 144 is taken in the Legislature.