Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A "Balanced" Approach

"Balanced," according to whom.  With federal and state marginal rates in excess of 50 percent in many locales, how is more taxation "balanced?" 

Most Americans do not pay any federal income tax at all.  Many Americans, off-the-books Americans, not only don't pay income taxes, they don't pay payroll taxes either, much less medicare taxes.

So raising federal income tax rates targets the dwindling minority of Americans who pay taxes.  So this is balanced?

Instead of trying to develop government programs that help the truly needy, America has developed entitlement programs that make no distinction between Warren Buffett and his yardman.  They both get social security and they both get medicare.  I guess that is balance.

Over time Americans have grown accustomed to the idea that they need not pay for their retirements, health care, education, food -- frankly, much of anything.  So, it is no surprise that American spending habits are incredibly reckless.  Why not?

So, what exactly is balance.  Balance is pretending that there is some political fix to the unfixable.  Social security and medicare and Medicaid cannot be fixed.  They can only be ended -- either because the money simply runs out or because they are ended voluntarily. 

Snuffing out economic growth by raising tax rates (on the "wealthy," defined mostly as Americans with incomes less than $ 1 million and greater than $ 250,000) is not balance.  It is foolish and cruel and will lead to a generation of economic stagnation.

The very people that the President professes to want to help will be the victims of this "balanced" program.  Job prospects for folks on the way up are dismal in a no-growth economy.  If this is balance, who needs balance.

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