Trying my hand at political commentary
|No Taxation to Prosperity
or It’s my money Uncle Sam so get your act together!
Taxes. It doesn’t matter if you agree, disagree or want to raise them or lower them, as Benjamin Franklin said, (remember Ben Franklin? Patriot, Founding Father and the most brilliant and famous American of his time?) “Only two things are certain in life: death and taxes.” It was true 300 years ago and it’s true today. The most popular campaign promise of every politician in the history of the world has been to lower taxes and the favorite scare tactic is that the other guy is going to raise them.
Whether or not you agree with taxation, think them too high, need to be higher or whatever your position, one thing is certain: taxes in all forms are here to stay.
A government needs taxes to pay for many things from national defense and administrative costs to entitlement programs and maintenance of national parks. Up until Woodrow Wilson pushed the income tax as a method to pay for the costs incurred in WWI government was funded by import duties and tariffs. Since the war, government has been funded by taxing the income of working people.
As the size of government has grown and become increasingly bloated, so has the rate of taxation grown. Today, the rate has grown to the point where it requires the average taxpayer four months of each and every year to meet the government’s demand for our money. So the remaining eight months, we’re working to pay the state income tax and any other government levy that’s required by the states in which we reside.
When a budget deficit occurs, the hue and cry goes up that taxes must be raised to meet budget shortfall; do it for the children; the poor will starve and freeze if we don’t raise taxes to provide for them.
To this I say simply: BALDERDASH!
If one thinks about it for more than half a millisecond, it’s easy to see that a government cannot tax its way into solvency. One cannot take more money from the working people and expect them to turn around and spend more money on goods and services. The opposite will happen; people will spend less (having less to spend) thereby causing a greater drag on the economy. If consumers buy less, less is then manufactured. If less is manufactured, then it follows that companies will need less employees in the factories and. If fewer workers are needed, then some workers will lose their jobs. With less people working, the fewer people there are working to support the government (and more being supported by the government) and deficits grow to meet the shortfalls.
One the other hand, reduced taxes means more disposable income. More goods are purchased, creating demand, meaning added shifts and workers at factories, thereby providing the government with more working people to pay their tax burden. More people paying taxes mean more government revenue.
The only issue is the politicians want to try to tax the government into prosperity. No government can levy a heavy tax burden on the working population without negative results over the long term. So the question arises: what can be done?
I’ll start the answer by saying the best economist I’ve ever met is my mother. If ever a nickel is found with Jefferson’s eyes popping out, odds are it has passed through my mother’s hand and was squeezed until she could get nothing more out of it.
Her example is exactly how to curb the over taxation and the deficit. This country has to have a balanced budget. If your income does not meet your expenditures, you must borrow money to make up the difference. All you succeed in doing is to further over extend yourself. Just as mama operated a household with a balanced budget (we had what we needed and some of what we wanted) that is what is required with our government. The principles are exactly the same.
The next step is to trim away all the fat: get rid of all we don’t need or that which doesn’t work. An example would be the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. Does the U.S. really need a military base in a country with whom we have no trade ties, little diplomatic discourse and to whom we pay rent for this facility? Close up the shop and move out. Eliminate government bureaucracies that do not work or are not needed. The federal government should not be funding projects such as medical research, artistic endeavors or possibly education. The states do a much better job of educating children; the private sector is infinitely more qualified and efficient in developing new medicines and part of artistic growth is the suffering for one’s art; the struggles and hardships, not living on the back of the taxpayer.
The third thing that needs to be done is grant the President the line-item veto. Until the Chief Executive can remove pork spending from otherwise good legislation, the legislature will continue to fund pet projects at the expense of the nation’s taxpayers. Presidents Bush (41) and Clinton both worked for the line-item veto; but the people who were needed to pass it and would be most affected by it, Congress, killed the effort.
American voters need to insist that Congress and President enact laws requiring a balanced budget. Just like my mother ran the house, they need to learn to live within their means (using borrowed money as a last resort requiring a super majority in both Houses of Congress). The President needs to be empowered to cut away the pork in legislation. We need to eliminate agencies and bureaucracies that are failures and stop wasting money on failed programs.
And if the lawyers and politicians can’t figure it out in Washington, they can call my mama. I guarantee she can line them out.
Copyright © 2008 Shawn R Thornton