Monday, February 12, 2001

Week of 02/12/2001

Cutting Through The Political Tax Bull
- by David Matthews 2

"Taxes are not levied for the benefit of the taxed." - Robert Heinlein

With the arrival of the annual W2 reports in mailboxes all across America, it is time to once again talk about the money that goes to pay Uncle Sam and his fifty spoiled kids.

This time around, however, there’s something new to the mix. After eight years of listening to Bill Clinton try to hem and haw his way into convincing us we as Americans are too stupid to be trusted with our own money, we’ve got someone new in the White House. And borrowing a few lines from Ronald Reagan, President George W. Bush feels that a tax cut has been long overdue.

Well it’s about time someone in the White House felt that way! It gets to be a little difficult for the federal government to constantly try to explain how we could have record budget surpluses and yet need to either keep taxes the same or raise them. Either they’re lying about the surpluses, or they’re absolutely lousy at math.

And after taking a look at the tax plan offered by President Bush, this commentator has to like what he sees. Tax rates that are simplified that much more. Tax rates that are set slightly lower for all income brackets. The so-called "marriage penalty" being erased.

Hey, that’s great! A tax cut for ALL Americans, not just a select and chosen few.

And a REAL tax cut to boot! None of the usual prolonged and convoluted "bait-and-switch" games whereby a select groups of Americans would be getting an IOU they call a "tax credit", while continuing to bilk the rest of the American public. And best of all, there’s no Al Gore around to whine about it being some "risky tax scheme."

The only bad part about this idea? That it wouldn’t take effect until 2006. You would think that a president, ANY president, who would be concerned about how they are viewed by the public would be wanting those changes to take effect as soon as possible. It’s not like Bush can’t undo the arrogance that was Clinton’s budget planning. Besides, if we really need this tax reform.. and we do… it would behoove the White House to request these changes be made now, not five years from now.

But even with the five-year "waiting period", there are still plenty of people in Washington who think this plan is a bad one.

Who are these people? Well let’s get brutally honest here.. they are the same group of people who have continually been denouncing any idea of a tax cut! We’re talking liberals, we’re talking Democrats, we’re talking about career politicians who have made their living off of the income redistribution that comes through taxes (namely, from our pockets into theirs).

These people constantly whine that any tax cut would "benefit the rich." Oh, you mean like the members of Congress? You guys aren’t exactly poor, you know. Cripes, every time I see Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts on TV, he looks more and more like Jabba the Hut! None of these politicians are going to go home to thatch huts, nor will you be seeing them sling burgers at your local McDonald’s when they leave Washington. These guys are going to go home with retirement accounts fatter than Dom DeLouise.

Nor is their mantra of "it would benefit the rich" any help to their cause. These sad, pathetic whiners love to play the class warfare game in front of the cameras, but let’s face it.. they’re just as beholden to "the rich" as any other politician. After all, how many poor people are going to show up at their $1000-per-plate fundraisers, huh?

Get a better excuse line, guys. This one is more stale than used bread!

How about their other old line? "Protecting Social Security." So let’s see if I get this straight.. even though the government is taking money out of our paychecks to pay for Social Security, and our employers are being forced to send an equal amount of money to the government to pay for Social Security, we’re supposed to send additional tax money to "protect" Social Security?

Come on people! The Social Security program is a Ponzi scheme, and all we’re doing is pumping more money to keep the current recipients with their meager payments. You know it, I know it, just about every generation knows it! The only people who seem to be clueless are the silver-hared special interest groups, who think that the money has been socked away like it was some sort of savings plan. Believe me, if it were, these people would be getting back a lot more money than they are right now!

Here’s the real reason why certain politicians are against tax cuts.. because it deprives THEM of your money! These spendaholics operate on the belief that any money they can get their hands on is theirs to spend as they collectively desire.

And mind you, I said "theirs to spend". They don’t see themselves as caretakers or trustees of that tax money. They see it as theirs to do with. That’s why they’re wolfing down on the so-called "budget surplus" like pigs at the trough. They know that if there’s money left over, they might feel obligated to give some of it back.. and they absolutely DO NOT want to do that!

Politicians love their political pork. They love to pad spending bills with their own little pet projects and pet programs because it means they can go back home and tell the voters of all the "good" things they’ve done. Well, they can no longer do that if they’re told that they don’t have the money to pay for it! We supposedly just took care of the spending deficit, so who would want to be the one who puts us back into debt?

And we do need a tax cut now more than ever. Despite the claims of the former president, our economy’s lengthy prosperity did NOT come from government.. it came in spite of government. Unfortunately, the steam went out of that drive about a year ago (of course you won’t hear that from the media), and businesses started planning layoffs to offset the rise in taxes and the overburdening regulations that have been imposed by that government. Only now are people waking up and realizing that the good times are over.

If those in government really want to do something to help the people during these economic hard times, they would start by cutting taxes. But the operative word is "start". Tax cuts are not a cure-all, nor should they be treated as such. There are other things that need to be cut from Uncle Sam and his fifty spoiled brats. Their spending ways need to be cut first and foremost. Government cannot spend their way into prosperity any more than you or I.

We know government can be mean, but now they have to be lean as well. Part of the problem with our government has been in its largesse, and it’s not enough to simply cut the pork. Yes, Uncle Sam needs to be handing out pink slips too, but hopefully after the economy has stopped its downward slide so there would be jobs available. But in the meantime, Uncle Sam needs to start trimming some of the excess rules and regulations that have led to it being so large and overbearing. If government wants to help out the economy, it can ease up on the private sector somewhat. Give them an incentive to grow and expand and they will.

Cutting taxes are a good start, but we need to cut the political bull that’s out there too. The people who constantly advocate for more taxes always seem eager to enact taxes on everyone except themselves. They forget that at some point those taxes come back to affect everyone; not just "the rich", but "the poor" as well. Maybe these spendaholic politicians wouldn’t be so flippant about raising taxes if they themselves were the first ones forced to pay them. Maybe then they would have a better appreciation of what’s going on with those of us in the real world.

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