Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Enough is enough

Ok, I've just about had it.
The quantity of intellectual dishonesty coming from Washington (from both sides of the aisle) and their stooges in the media (on both sides of the ideological spectrum) is pretty pathetic.

Increasing taxes on the last $100 million that a person makes will not damage the economy.

Tax cuts are not expenses and do not "cost" the federal government anything.

Tax cuts did not cause the $1.5 trillion budget deficit we have now.

Modest tax increases alone will not solve the budget deficit problem we have now.

First things first...
When a person gets paid, they either subconsciously or consciously go through a process of prioritizing their expenses.  Food, shelter, transportation and other basics come first, then come the "luxuries".  Sometimes people get their priorities screwed up and pay phone bills or more destructive bills (drugs or other addictions) before food, shelter, and transportation, and that's when problems start.  But that's another discussion entirely.  But for the most part, the first dollars in the door go to basics for survival, the last dollars in the door go to luxuries.  The current income tax is graduated so that the first dollars in the door are taxed the least, while the last dollars in the door are taxed the most.  Raising taxes on incomes above $100,000 or $250,000 will not raise taxes on the income used to buy diapers, milk, rent, rice, beans, bread, or gas.  Why?  Because the first $25k or so is used to buy that stuff.  The income over $100k is used for the premium gas, or the fancy bread, or the dinners out, or the nanny to change the diapers.  Does that mean the last dollars should be confiscated by the feds because it's only used for luxuries?  No.  And that's stupid.  But it brings us to the second point...

Income tax revenues are not the possession of the federal government.  Income tax revenues are monies earned by the individual citizens (and corporations) that the federal government has a constitutionally protected right to make a claim on within the limits of the law.  But UNTIL that law is passed and signed, the funds DO NOT belong to the federal government.  Therefore, cutting taxes doesn't cost the federal government anything.  The only entity that bears a cost with regards to taxes are the taxpayers.  Taxes either increase THEIR cost, or reduce THEIR cost, but reducing taxes never, ever costs the federal government anything.  To say as much is completely dishonest.
Now, granted, taxes affect the revenue level and funding of the federal government.  And cutting taxes, or refusing to raise taxes, does either reduce (in the short term) or prevents the increasing of revenues.  But that is a very, very different thing from "costing" the federal government money.  The inability to collect taxes that have been rightfully levied costs the federal government money.  The expense involved in collecting taxes costs the federal government money.  But allowing me to keep the money I rightfully earned doesn't cost the federal government anything, unless the attitude is taken that those funds BELONG to the federal government.  The fact is that the money does not belong to the feds, and therefore not increasing taxes, or cutting them entirely, does not cost the feds anything.

Much has been said about the fiscal irresponsibility of cutting taxes and how they caused the current deficit.  Well, they didn't.  The best estimates I've read are that the tax cuts way back when reduced revenues by about $300 billion.  The current deficit is $1.5 trillion, or $1,500 billion.  $300 is a long ways from $1,500.  What did cause the $1.5 trillion deficit?  The federal budget went from $2.0 trillion in expenditures for the budget submitted in 2001 to $3.1 trillion for the budget submitted in 2008.  The budget submitted in 2009?  $3.6 trillion.  That's a pretty big jump in just one year, with no expected increase in revenue.  Hey, come to think of it, I think I just found a way to trim a half trillion from our deficit.  But that won't solve the whole problem.

What will?

Well, there was the bank bailout of $700 billion on top of a deficit that was already about $400 billion (caused by unfunded wars, at least partially by refusal to cut spending in line with reduction in revenues caused by tax cuts, and mostly by a reduction in revenues from a big, honkin' recession) back in 2008 (2008-2009 fiscal year).  Then in 2009-2010 there was a stimulus of $800 billion with a $600 billion "place holder" for health care reform (remember that?) that didn't buy us anything except for a larger deficit and a permanent inflation of the budget.  Actually, I think I just balanced the budget without a tax increase.  See, it's not that hard.  But then again, I'm not a fucking moron who managed to get elected to office so that we can treat the tax payers like the idiots we apparently are for electing these fucking morons to office in the first place.

Here's an idea:  balance the budget by cutting spending, then reform the tax code to put more of the revenue burden on the people you REALLY represent--that is the lobbyists, corporations, and financiers of your campaign troughs--and stay the hell out of my life.

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