Monday, April 19, 2010

The Tax Rhetoric Trap

This is another article from my pastor, the Rev. Dr. Allen Church.

The Tax Rhetoric Trap
by the Rev. Dr. Allen Church

I still tell my kids to always watch their enemies and always, always, always watch their friends. Here is an example as to why.

My conservative TV friends are quickly walking into a political trap. Recently among the talking heads there has been much ranting and raving about how Americans who make $50,000 (with two children) or less do not have to pay income taxes. It is proposed that this leaves them without skin in the game and therefore they will continue to support big government spending programs.

Imagine how many of the liberals will play this: "You know, you conservative guys have finally hit on something. We do need a broader tax base! What a great idea! Let's do it! It is only fair, and besides it will help fund public policy! Its time to get tough. We can face the music together and ram the new income (and Value Added ?) tax applications right through the electorate. Who said bi-partisanship was dead?"

And so Big Gov liberals and Big Gov conservatives find the love, again.

Here is the rub folks. Citizens who receive $50,000 or less in government benefits or salary are rarely going to change their views about taxes just because they are made to pay income taxes. After all, their taxes make a round trip back to their own pockets. The taxes may irritate but they will not change political perspective.

The real issue is the number of people working for the government, getting government benefits, and the always growing government expenditures. More taxes, even in the effort to be "fair", only beget more taxes and more spending. If you live with a drunk you have to get the alcohol out of the house. If you buy it for him you are only fueling the problem. Big Gov is the drunk. Worse still, he is a very powerful, humorless, and often mean drunk. The word "moderation" is not in his vocabulary.

The income tax started as a winners and losers game. It was sold on the basis of taxing the income of the rich just a little. And you know the rest of the story. But the fact remains that everybody pays taxes, including the poor (at the very least through the inflation tax). Just not everyone pays income taxes. The fact that the income tax monster is missing some crumbs is not our most pressing challenge. And besides, the income tax is inherently unfair just by its existence. It is a slave tax. It cannot be made fair.

The real problem? Its the spending, baby. It's the spending! Solve that problem and getting rid of the income tax for the above 50K folks gets easier. Now we do need taxes to run our country, but we do not need taxes at a level that empowers our country to run us. Runaway taxation combined with runaway spending is a disaster cocktail fitting for an unrepentant drunk on a power trip. A wreck is bound to happen.

Simple message and changing the metaphor again: Beware of the fairness game when you are already in the cage with the tiger. Fairness to the tiger is when you refuse to scream and writhe while he eats you. Asking him to eat someone else as well will not solve your problem.

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