The debate is raging in Washington and around the country as to what to do about taxes next year. Allow the largest tax increase in our history? Leave taxes as they are? Or something in between?
First, some context. I am one that President Obama would call “rich”, though I assure you I do not feel that way, and I like many resent being thrown in with billionaires when President Obama makes his case for tax increases. I am not looking to pay zero taxes, or to cheat our country or our government, or to hoard my earnings. Instead it is my motivation to be a good citizen, pay my fair share (or even a bit more!), and to ensure our tax system is fair for all.
In this context I listen to the debate about tax increases. I hear mostly Democrats talk about how, in essence, the government needs more money to function, and the source of that money should be the “rich”. I hear this not just from those in government, but from friends, neighbors, and commentators. Some Republicans say it too.
I’m willing to have my taxes increased if necessary. But first, just as any one of us (even Democrats) would do in our own households, can we make sure our money is being spent reasonably? If I knew my additional taxes would help solve the deficit problem, or provide needed services, or help people who truly needed help, I’d write my check with a smile. But think about this if you would. If it is Winter time, and your windows are open in your house, and your heating bills are going up, what would you do? Get a second job to pay your oil bills? Ask for a raise from your boss so you could pay them? Borrow from friends?
No, you wouldn’t do that. You would close your windows first. But our government doesn’t operate this way, and Democrats in particular don’t think this way. They talk about needing more money, yet politicians in both parties waste billions of dollars on earmark projects, pet projects in their district, political favors for their heavily contributing constituents, huge salaries with gold-plated benefits, and ill-advised programs. $100’s of billions. The worst example of this was the stimulus which was a reasonable idea gone bad. Instead of $850 billion in stimulus, we got $350 billion in stimulus and $500 billion in political favors to mostly Democratic political organizations and supporters.
How in the world while this is happening does one rationalize spending their time on convincing people like me to pay more taxes, rather than spending their time on getting these politicians to shut the windows first? It is completely irrational.
We need to bring our government under control. We need to remember 24×7 that every time someone talks about the “government” spending money, they aren’t talking about some esoteric entity spending money—they are talking about us! The taxpayers. The government is US, their spending is OUR money.
As an aside, the next time you hear a Democratic politician say “I didn’t need a tax cut” as Bill Clinton used to say, ask them this question: “So Mr. Clinton, does this mean that you wrote a check to the IRS for more than you owed? The IRS accepts additional payments, so did you go ahead and calculate what you feel obliged to pay and pay that amount, or just what the IRS formulas said you owed?” It would be fun to see how even the silver-tongued Bill Clinton handles that one.
Let’s get our house in order before we increase taxes. Let’s vote out those who waste our money, vote in those we trust won’t, demand better of our political leaders in Washington, Albany, and our other state capitals. Let’s let them know we work hard for our money and that we expect them to use every dollar wisely. If they spent our money this way, in all likelihood this would result in a huge tax reduction for all of us.