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Taxes make the world go round

I remember listening to a speech by Senator John McCain a couple of weeks ago where he said if you wanted to pay more taxes, vote for Obama. It’s an ironic quip in light of the projected national debt.

As much as Republicans like to paint Democrats as big-spenders, the latest numbers from the Bush Administration tell a different story. Sure, the wealthiest Americans may pay less taxes, but the $482 billion budget deficit isn’t what I’d call low government spending. Democrats will raise taxes. Someone has to.

I may not be an economist, but even little-old-English-major-me can see that as long we spend more money than we raise (ie taxes), we will be in debt. Say what you will about Clinton, but Bush inherited a budget surplus of $128 billion and turned it into the biggest deficit we have ever seen. Granted, the population of the US has increased, and inflation has also taken a toll so percentage-wise it’s not as large as the raw dollars may seem. Nonetheless, our spending is out of control. The $150 million stimulus package, a mere drop in the bucket, makes a nice scapegoat, but it is far from the real problem.

Ross Perot has a great presentation on this subject with more charts and graphs than you can shake a stick at. The bottom line? Our healthcare and social security spending is increasing at a rate that we can’t maintain while fighting two wars and providing tax cuts for the super-rich. Not only do we need to reform healthcare and retirement benefits, we need to spend more wisely in Iraq and Afghanistan and let the Bush tax cuts expire.

No one likes to pay taxes, but our government has overspent its budget nearly 500 billion times. Someone has to take responsibility. When Obama takes office in November, and has to deal with this mess, remember it was the Republicans that got us into it, but it will take a Democrat to get us out.

2 thoughts on “Taxes make the world go round”

  1. It warrants mentioning that the ultimate power to decide the Federal budget falls upon Congress. Sure the President exerts pressure, but responsibility lies with the Senate and House. I cut out a newspaper article quoting Nancy Pelosi after the Dems took control of Congress. She promised that they’d restore fiscal sanity to the budget. Not so much.

    Also, the only reason Clinton wasn’t taking full advantage of the extra money was that there was a Republican Congress in power one emphasizing fiscal restraint as opposed to the current lot of profligate spenders (i’m talking about the Republicans just as much as the Democrats in this regard). When the same party controls the White House and Congress, don’t expect budget restraint to be the soup du jour.

    I’d also like to point out that the percent of total taxes paid by the top 1% of earners has increased over the past 8 years, despite the tax cuts. I can’t say whether they should be paying even more, other than I hope that one day I can be one of those rich types and in anticipation of that must be consistent in my opposition to higher taxes on the rich. What I fear is that the super-rich, most of whom are I presume are rich for good reason (i.e. not inheritance or lottery winners etc.), will take their skills to a friendlier jurisdiction.

    Finally, the stimulus package is just a symptom and symbol of wasteful spending and redistribution like the “bridge to nowhere” or “indoor rain forest” were symptoms of pork-barrel addictions. While inconsequential in themselves, it points to systemic ills.

  2. True, congress does technically have fiscal responsibility, but Bush's repeated vetos of legislation to reduce spending in Iraq negate this fact. The stimulus package cost pales in comparison to our ever-expanding defense budget.

    Also, democrats have only controlled congress since Nov 2007. They can hardly be blamed for the sum of Bush's deficit.

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