Joe Boyles – Guest Columnist
On Monday, our annual federal tax return was due to the Internal Revenue Service. I suppose the IRS will process something like 80 million returns this year. I read somewhere recently that our official “tax date” was April 12 – for the first 102 days of the year, we’ve been working for the government. Everything we’ve earned collectively through April 12 will fulfill our obligation to the government. For the remainder of the year, we’re working for ourselves. Isn’t that comforting!
I coined a saying many years ago that’s sort of a takeoff on something Will Rogers used to say: “I’ve never met a tax I liked.” I’ll admit that some taxes are better than others, but there is so much waste; so much duplication of effort; so much inefficiency, that I stand by my statement. We’d be a lot better off if we just destroyed the 50 plus thousand page tax code and started anew.
Just when we thought the “tax the rich” scheme was laid to rest for the next two years, the president floated the idea last week as a way to reduce the burgeoning public debt. First, the House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan offered a plan (Path to Prosperity) to reduce the debt by $4 trillion over the next ten years by spending cuts and implementing several bold healthcare reforms. Then Obama plays “Johnny come lately” by introducing his idea to reduce the debt by the same $4 trillion (but over 12 years) which includes raising taxes on the “millionaires and billionaires.”
Man, I hate this class warfare rhetoric. Think about this contrast for a moment: one party (Republicans) says “we don’t want to raise taxes on anyone,” while the other party (Democrats) says “we want to raise taxes on some of you.” Obviously, I prefer the first position but why would anyone get a thrill out of raising taxes on anyone? I’m not a target (yet) of Obama’s tax hikes, but why would I get some kind of a charge out of seeing my neighbors taxes go up?
When politicians begin talking about tax hikes, self-preservation kicks in – how will this proposal effect me? If I’m not the target of the new tax, I breathe a little easier, but I don’t feel warm all over when I think how this proposal will negatively affect someone else. And I really feel rotten when I consider that higher taxes will have a depressive effect on the economy.
Here’s how I see government and taxes. Government produces nothing of value that can be sold on the market for a profit. Instead, to operate government, money has to be extracted from the earners in society by taxation. The more money that is taxed from the private sector, the less money is available to hire, to invest, to save, etc. I want to see as much money left in the private sector as possible so that our economy may grow and prosper. That will not happen if we take too much out in the form of higher taxes and waste it on frivolous, non-productive expenditures which is a hallmark of government.
When I think of terms like the economy and productivity, I think of private sector business. I do not think of the government in those terms. If you do, I would suggest that you’re barking up the wrong tree.
Let me give you another anti-tax analogy. Money equals freedom. The more money I have, the more freedom I have to spend it the way I want to on the things that are important to me. The less money I have to spend because it is taxed away, the less freedom I have. So, I am always going to err on the side of lower taxes because I value my freedom … and yours.
In Washington today, there are some serious politicians who want to reduce our $14 trillion debt because they fear the twin evils of a weak dollar and inflation. Joint Chief’s chairman Admiral Mike Mullen has said that our gravest national security concern is the size of our public debt.
Without question, the lion’s share of debt reduction has to come in the form of spending reductions including entitlement reform of Social Security and Medicare. But there are also possibilities to increase revenues in the form of economic growth and tax reform. I don’t advocate raising tax rates; in fact, I’d like to see a reduction in corporate taxes to encourage the growth (and hiring) of business. The type of reform I’d like to see is removing tax loopholes that allow businesses and individuals to dodge taxes.
As the debt limit and future budget battles begin on Capitol Hill, Standard and Poor’s has downgraded our future economic prospects from stable to negative. Can our bond rating be too far behind? This is a warning, just as alarming as Paul Revere’s famous ride
The modern TEA party takes its name from the acronym suggesting we are “taxed enough already.” It is a positive theme and as old as our nation itself. Our founding fathers felt that we were taxed too much and that theme has caught on since Californians revolted against high property taxes more than thirty years ago. Editor’s note: “Stray Vectors” is the author’s byline for random thoughts on the passing scene.
Consumer Reports says that the batteries in these new electric cars (Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf) really lose power in cold weather and limit the range of the vehicle. Doesn’t make much sense in those highly populated New England cities, does it?
Liberals are leaning into the wind of a “perfect storm.” They want to grow government which requires money. Not only are governments out of money, no one in their right mind condones taking any more money out of the economy under the current conditions.
The Civil War began 150 years ago with the shelling of Charleston’s Fort Sumter. Here’s my “what if” question: What if those hot-headed South Carolinians hadn’t opened fire? Could Lincoln have drafted and mobilized an army to invade the South without preemption? I’d like to hear some historians address this.
Public sector employees in Wisconsin appear to be pretty well compensated for their “labors.” For example, Badger State teachers are paid an average of $75K per year. Things might be tough in Madison, WI but they look pretty rosy in Madison.
The deficit for February was a record single monthly total of $223 billion. Four years ago, the deficit for all fiscal year 2007 was $161 billion. Makes you wish for the good old days of GW, doesn’t it? Folks, we can’t go on living like this.
Speaking of global warming, California liberal Henry Waxman says that the GOP is the party of “science deniers.” If that is true (personally, I reject the assertion), then the Democrats are the party of economic deniers.
What’s with democrat lawmakers from Wisconsin and Indiana bailing out and going to neighboring Illinois to avoid voting on controversial anti-union legislation? Has Illinois become a sanctuary state for liberals? Are they seeking political asylum?
With the unveiling of the new electric cars (Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf), you’d think I’d write something about the subject. However, I write for my audience and frankly, I don’t think there is much reason to waste your time reading about something that will have very little appeal to the citizens of our community. It’s too expensive; the range is too limited; and the payload is too small. Nuff said.
“Every cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and degenerates into a racket.” Eric Hoffer. How true!
Leadership tip: Ever hear of “management by exception?” That’s where someone can do nine things right, but the only time they hear anything is on the tenth time when things go wrong. It is a terrible leadership technique. Don’t ignore failure, but look for opportunities to praise.
Need any more Census lessons? The eight states with no income tax grew at 18 percent over the last 10 years while the states with an income tax grew at 8 percent. The 22 states with right-to-work laws grew at 15 percent while the other 28 grew at 6 percent. The 16 states which restrict collective bargaining for public employee unions grew at 15 percent while the other states grew at 7 percent. Can the lessons here be any clearer?
Ever since its inception in the waning days of the Bush Administration, the Troubled Asset Relief Program or TARP has been a political piñata. But is the criticism justified? Robert Samuelson suggests that it’s not. Instead, TARP prevented the meltdown of the global economic system, restored confidence, came in well under budget, and repaid nearly all of its loans. Name another government program with this kind of track record!
The first budget battle of the year is over; two more loom: the debt extension and the 2012 budget. Expect a knock-down, drag-out. The debate has shifted from “how much can we spend to how much can we save.” The (Paul) Ryan budget or Path to Prosperity has set the bar. Now let’s see what the President proposes tonight. The fight is on!
Seventy years ago was 1941, a momentous year for America. The bookends are significant. It began with the Four Freedoms speech by President Roosevelt to Congress on January 6. Eleven months later, the year closed with the attack on Pearl Harbor followed shortly by Colin Kelly’s final mission. Both events are symbolized by the famous monument in our central park. Seventy years ago …