This blog started out as a companion piece to my book, Musings from the Christian Left (excerpts of which can be found in the July 2004 link) and to support a planned radio show. Now, its simply a long term writing project from a Christian Left Libertarian perspective (meaning I often argue for liberty within the (Catholic) Church, rather than liberty because the church takes care of a conservative view of morality.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Don't Do Me Any Favors, Senator Allen

The Washington Post, in preparation for tonight's debate, gives us a view of Senator George Allen's recent campaign ads.

Allen has begun focusing on taxes with an advertisement that accuses Webb of wanting to raise taxes by $2,000 for the average Virginia family. It also attempts to link Webb with liberal Democratic lawmakers who are perceived to be opposed to recent federal tax cuts.

"Webb would bring back the death tax, marriage penalty tax and cut the child tax credit from $1,000 to $500," the ad states.

First off, he is just plain wrong. As the campaign has already stated, Secretary Webb favors such items as marriage penalty relief and the child tax credit (which the Democrats forced on the GOP in order to allow enactment of the original Bush cuts). Ignoring the lying, I will address the Republican propensity for giving tax cuts to the wealthy and the upper middle class.

Don't do me any favors, Senator. Senator Allen, you obviously do not understand government finance (although anyone with a memory who lives in Virginia knows that, since your ineptitude sewed the seeds for the fiscally disasterous Gilmore administration). While the economy may be rebounding under the Bush tax cuts, it is doing so because of a very Keynsian debt. We are, in essence, borrowing money from the wealthy and the Chinese in order to finance current spending on the disasterous war in Iraq and the Pentagon's latest spending spree.

Now George, pay attention, you may learn something.

The taxpayers of the United States owe a lot of money to a lot of people - largely because of the War and the President's tax cuts. This indebtedness is possible because the debt is financed by the federal government's ability to tax higher income individuals and to seize the assets of those who refuse to pay - just ask Willie Nelson about this. The old canard about every man, woman and child owing a piece of the national debt is just that, a canard. In reality, any individual can figure their liability for the debt by taking their annual tax liability and multiplying it by 8.6. (The total debt/total income taxes). This will give each taxpayer an estimate of how much they owe the Chinese, the rich and the future retirees who will want payment from those bonds held by the Social Security Trust fund. Of course, it does get a bit worse. The IMF/World Bank is ultimately backed by the ability of the American Government to tax, so all that bad foreign debt is potentially on the American taxpayer too. Not a pretty sight.

Now, I am by no means wealthy, so the impact on my family of the debt is not very much. I was once a federal government employee (although I am not now since I will not work for George W. Bush as a civil servant - he is destoying much of the government through his ideological agenda - but that is another topic). When I do go back to work for the feds, hopefully some time in 2009, I will make a pretty penny and when I do my liability for the debt will vastly increase.

My main point is that cutting taxes hurts the wealthy in the long term.

When the Republicans cut taxes on the wealthy, they shifted the percentage of the federal debt burden more toward the middle class - although by throwing the budget out of balance they increased the total burden for everyone, especially the wealthy, since in a few short years the Bush tax cuts evaporate and any serious effort to balance the budget must include revenue from this economic strata - increasing anyone else's taxes will cut consumption enough to throw the economy into a tail spin.

The reason the tax cuts evaporate is another reason why the Republicans need to be thrown out. Instead of working out a deal that would be acceptable to the Democratic caucus to make permanent changes, the Republicans used reconciliation to enact temporary cuts. This unwillingness to play nice with the other side has lead to a large balloon payment in tax liability. This crowd would rather have their way than actually get something done that lasts and for that every last one of them deserves defeat, especially you, Senator Allen. It would be better for our wealthiest taxpayers to pay down the debt responsibly, including the debt held by Social Security. Then we can talk about permanent tax cuts. Thanks to you and your crowd, Senator, that day will not come anytime soon - although we can start the progress toward it in a bit over four weeks time with your defeat.


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