The taxes we
love to hate
Hating taxes is so ingrained in the
national psyche that to find someone who admits he likes to pay taxes would
trigger a "Man Bites Dog" headline in newspapers nationwide.
Consequently, the nation is full of vote-seeking
politicians who call for tax cuts as reflexively as they kiss babies and mug for
President Bush is one of them.
While calling on the nation to sustain a long-term
war on terrorism in the middle of a deep recession, Bush is pushing for $59
billion in tax cuts, particularly on upper incomes. With other tax credits, the
cuts could total $98 billion annually
Instead of turning on the president and alleging
that he is out of his mind, Democrats are pushing a "me too" plan of smaller,
more equitable tax cuts.
Reasons for the cuts are sprouting like dandelions
in the spring. Like dandelions, they look beautiful, but may be bitter when
The proposed cuts ignore the facts. Spending in the
wake of the attack on the World Trade Center has already gobbled up surpluses,
and the nation is beginning to rack up deficits.
Tax cuts are being offered up on the altar of the
economy in hopes that Americans will take the money, spend it and get the
country out of the recession.
This would be great if it worked, but the theorists
who insist it will work donít like to talk about a major hitch: Americans could
just as easily stuff the extra money in their mattresses or simply pay off their
big credit card balances.
Tax cuts today are nonsensical pandering to a
nation that loves to hate taxes and complain about "big government."
Complaining is fun, but the nation needs a little
dose of reality.
Americans should contemplate paying no taxes at
Aside from the obvious risk of having no military,
other negative impacts of eradicating taxes would be huge.
If companies wanted to get products to market, they
would first have to finance roads and airports.
Neighborhoods would have to hold bake sales to get
snow plowed from their roads.
Portapotties could become a growth industry if
private donations didnít keep the sewer plants running.
A drink of water could become very expensive and
getting one could require days of effort.
People who couldnít afford private security guards
would have to become vigilantes.
Paying no taxes is obvious nonsense, but so are tax
cuts in the face of enormous new threats to national security and the economy.
Letís quit complaining and pay up. We can argue
about fairness, equity and where the money is spent all day long. But woe to us
if we ever get rid of the taxes we love to hate.