Thursday, December 09, 2010

Tax Cuts!

I recently posted an article in which I announced my epiphany regarding the great recession. You can check it out here if you like. Since that day of revelation, I have been doing more pondering on the state of the American economy, and what it might mean to me and my family and friends.

First, we must take note that we are currently operating at around a $13 trillion dollar deficit. That, my friends, is a chunk of change. It's a fairy tale chunk of change, really. If you were buried under 13 trillion dollars, and you freed yourself at the rate of a million dollars a day it would take you ten million days to be free. That's around 27,400 years to freedom. Katy bar the door!

So now all the hype in politics is the suggested tax cuts that are about to be voted on. I admit to being undecided on the issue, as I have strong feeling both ways. I will go with the "tax the rich guys!" impulse first, and then work my way back to rational thought from there.

First, I admit that the selfish, fleshly, knee-jerk reaction to tax cuts for rich people is for me to cry, "NO!!!! Stick it to the man!" But alas, emotive jealousy will not serve in the place of proper argument except in Ford vs. Chevy discussions. So, my only real argument for higher taxes on the rich is that, well, they can afford it. And secondly, to those whom much is given, much is required. I am also not very persuaded that a tax cut on the rich necessarily means that they will re-invest that savings back into the economy. That might sit on it, especially if they see financial Armageddon on the horizon in the form of a 13 trillion dollar debt.

I know that there might be other reasons to disproportionally gouge the rich more than the poor, but none of them overcome this other selfish, fleshly, knee-jerk reaction: I hate taxes. I don't hate them like George Washington hated them. This guy went beserk and shot people over a three cent stamp tax. I hate them in a "Hey, get your own money, dude!" type of hate. I understand taxing me for roads, armies, bridges, and even a very limited welfare. However, keeping folks on perpetual unemployment seems to be an abuse of the working man. I am not about wealth redistribution, especially when it is my wealth that is being redistributed.

Also, I abhor estate taxes. I nearly hate them as bad as George Washington hated stamp taxes or like Ben Franklin hated tea taxes. Unless I am wrong, majorly and happily wrong, no one is going to leave me anywhere near the $5 million dollar allowable before tax. (Dad, you can correct me if I'm wrong, gloriously and shockingly wrong.) But it gripes me to think that a guy works hard, pays his rich guy tax bracket, amasses a tidy fortune, only to have it get ravaged to the tune of 45% upon his death. That's like spitting on a grave, if you ask me. Plus, when that wealth is applied to land, it really gets ugly. Some farmers might be land rich but money poor. That means that they have to sell the farm to pay the inheritance tax. Ben Franklin, where are you now?

But let me attempt to shine a small ray of hope into all this deficit talk and tax bracket wrangling. The deficit is actually an estimate, right? The government can only guess how much the American people will make this year and how much tax revenue there will be. So here's what we do: Let's all make an extra $120,000 this year in gross income and pay off Uncle Sam's debt that greedy bankers and home owners saddled us with. Or maybe, we could find another 100 guys as rich as Bill Gates and just steal all their money. Of course, that would ulitmately mean that everyone who worked at Microsoft multiplied by 100 would suddenly be unemployed. *sigh* This thing is more complicated than it looks.


Mike Cook said...

Just as a note, the greedy bankers and homeowners didn't saddle us with the debt. That would be the politicians on both sides.

Defense : Iraq (R), Afghanistan (R), Unneeded Projects (I)
Entitlements : Medicare (I), Prescription Drug Benefit (R), Unemployment (D), Stimulus (D)

The bank bailout (R) actually ended up making money.

Brad Williams said...

Your comment is full of interesting things to me, Mike.

I have never read where giving Fanny and Freddie a few billion has made money. Where can I read up on that?

I do not blame the Republicans for Afghanistan, I blame Afghanistan for that one. I also think its disingenuous to blame them for Iraq, seeing that a Democratically controlled Congress gave the declaration for war. The President does not have the authority to do that. Unless we're going to pretend that President Bush cleverly tricked all the Democrats, in which case I give them the culpability for being stupid.

Mike Cook said...

I'll agree with you on the Afghanistan, I was more assigning R and D based on who was in charge when they started than specific responsibility.

And for the bailouts :

And I do think that Iraq was based on lies that the Democrats (and Republicans) either believed or were too intimidated to dispute.