Monday, March 1, 2010

In Washington, Carts Pull Horses

I happened upon an article about America’s total debt burden on CCN’s website. And I found the following portion of it intriguing:

“Everybody loves tax breaks. And there's more than a trillion dollars of them to love.

That's the amount of money the Treasury foregoes in annual revenue as a result of the many breaks in the tax code. And that effectively increases the government's need to borrow.

But that trillion-plus isn't really up for consideration during annual budget discussions. "Tax expenditures are basically hidden," Burman said.

No one advocates abolishing tax breaks altogether. But Burman and others believe tax breaks should be treated as discretionary spending. The idea is to bring them into the open so lawmakers can make a conscious decision annually about what they spend on tax breaks and recognize the costs associated with that decision.”

The rest of the article I was on board with. But this portion stuck out like a sore thumb. Sadly, I think it’s rather indicative of the mindset of a great deal of policy-peddlers.

What particularly do I find so distressing? Well, at the risk of sounding a bit like a woman, it’s not what you said but it’s how you said it. It’s trying to call tax breaks discretionary spending. Since when does not taxing more = spending? It’s like me complaining my employer for my personal debt. “Well, it’s not my fault I have all this debt. I just have to spend this amount of money per month, and if my employer doesn’t pay me that much, it forces me pay for things on credit.” They have it completely backwards. If I give Uncle Sam a dollar, he better be damn grateful for it. Have you ever considered living within your means? If I’m running a little short, I eat Cheerios for dinner a few nights a week or I start taking the train to work. I certainly don’t complain to my boss’ face he’s not paying me enough to meet my predetermined lifestyle which I refuse to even consider amending.

Take a look at this line again:

“That's the amount of money the Treasury foregoes in annual revenue.”

Oh! How noble of Uncle to kindly "forgoe" what he's rightfully due from me. Every cent comes from him. He is my provider and I owe him everything. It is only by his good graces that I'm not required to give him more.

So the Feds are short by how much about a year you say CNN? About a trillion? Well, what a coincidence! That’s just about how much the upkeep of Uncle Sam’s overseas military adventures cost! May I humbly suggest you cut back the number of countries in which you have military installations from ~130 to maybe 5 or so strategic ones?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I once saw a chart about the historical spike in revenue to the treasury that coincided with periods of lower tax rates. I wish I knew where that was.