Texas, Or: Taxes
I’ve heard many people criticize the Bush tax cuts as recklessness, or only favoring the top 1% while giving nothing to the poor. I find it interesting that while the very idea of a federal government levying a tax was very much a controversial issue up until the 20th century, the federal government assumes a certain portion of what you earn belongs to them. And they collect it in several ways.
The primary way is to tax your income. For most people in the middle to upper middle class, it represents about 40% of your income. For the very wealthy, it’s over half. That means that, for the middle class, two days out of your five day work week is just work for the federal government. Then you add in state tax, sales tax, property taxes, and you usually end up with less than half of the money you earned, all for the right to live in a free country.
From each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs. I believe that. I don’t believe in Communism though, and I don’t believe taxes should be used as some kind of correction to our capitalist system, and whether capitalism has succeeded or failed is a debate for another day. It is the responsibility of every American citizen to contribute to the welfare of the nation, and that includes taking care of our most vulnerable, the sick, those unable to do for themselves, the children and the elderly.
So I wouldn’t propose eliminating taxes. But I would propose reducing the tax burden on everyone, rich and middle class. I leave out the poor because, at least as far as I know, their tax burden is minimal. How could we accomplish this, you ask?
First, revive the McCain-Feingold bill, and give it teeth. Our politicians should have to run on their policies, not on their ability to make promises to buddies at the expense of tax dollars. Eliminate pork-spending altogether. I realize that sounds insane, but I really beleive we’d be better off without any of it, and that would represent a huge chunk being removed from our annual federal budget. Then there would have to be some kind of cleaning house in most federal branches, and that would be a lot harder and sounds much easier on paper than it would prove to be in practice.
Second, go after our biggest black-hole: defense spending. I’m not suggesting Clintonesque stripping of our military. I’m suggesting finding out why we spend $4000 on a screw for an F-22 but can’t provide a decent dental plan for our soldiers and their families.
I believe America can operate just as well, if not better, on a greatly reduced budget, if the federal government is bitch-slapped into realizing that they were never meant to have so much power. There needs to be a national review of just how many powers a federal government needs to provide for the common welfare and defense. And if that doesn’t work, I’ll take my mom’s advice: Move to Montana and buy a gun, and greet the tax man with the business end of a 12-gauge.