Uncle Sam as Evel Knievel

Tim Bean

12/5/2012

 

Below is another letter from former Libertarian Party Presidential candidate, Gov. Gary Johnson, sharing more of his thoughts on the continued stalemate in Washington DC over the impending “financial cliff,” that we are told will certainly spell utter doom for our country:

Friends,

Have you been watching the insanity in Washington about the so-called Fiscal Cliff?

If so, you are seeing the same thing I am:  It is all a concoction by the status quo politicians to distract us from the REAL cliff we are headed for.

To listen to the politicians in both parties, you would believe this is all about taxes.  Somehow, the nation is approaching financial calamity because the government isn’t getting enough of our money.  And the two “sides” have managed to create the illusion that the debate is over how to best increase “revenues”.  (In Washington, of course, increasing revenue means turning more of our dollars into THEIR dollars.)

Here is how the charade is playing out:  President Obama is demanding that the so-called Bush tax cuts be allowed to expire for what he calls the wealthy to produce $800 billion in more “revenue” for the government.  In what only a politician could call a negotiation, the Republican Speaker of the House has countered with an offer to – you guessed it – raise revenues (taxes) by $800 billion.

If this wasn’t so serious, it would be laughable.

The only difference between the two “sides” is what they want to call their plan for the government to suck almost another trillion dollars out of the private economy to finance their wars, their take-over of our health care, and the never-ending erosions of our freedom.

Obama wants to call this money-grab a “rate increase” for the wealthy.  Speaker Boehner wants to call it “closing loopholes”.  I’m not seeing the difference.  The money all ends up coming from the same place.  Ask a school teacher or a construction worker how many “loopholes” they used last year to reduce their tax bill.

So why are the grown men and women in Washington playing this ridiculous parlor game?  It’s simple. They don’t want to talk about the real problem: Government is too big and does too much – and therefore spends too much.  And they certainly don’t want to talk about REAL tax reform, such as scrapping the income tax altogether and replacing it with a consumption tax.  Without their spending and their loopholes and complex rates, the politicians would lose the opportunity to pass out favors to their friends – and that is not something they want to give up, even at the cost of destroying the economy.

Right now, we need to be demanding that the politicians stop the games and deal with the real issues:  Deficit spending as far as the eye can see and a debt that is already more than $16 trillion.  The claim by Obama – and bought into by the Republicans – that we can’t balance the federal budget without raising taxes is nonsense.  Stop the wars, have a serious debate about Medicare and other entitlements,  stop sending borrowed dollars to other countries, and spending can absolutely be brought into line with revenues – without raising taxes on anybody, rich or poor.

Restoring Liberty as a cornerstone of America starts with making government smaller.  And making government smaller starts with drawing a line and stopping the politicians from taking more of our money.  More money for them means more government imposed on us.

There is a lot of sense in Gov. Johnson’s words; unfortunately though pretty much all of our friends in the media are telling us that somehow there is a major difference between both the GOP plan and the Dem’s plan.  Sure, sure, there are differences, but as Johnson’s letter alludes to, the differences lay in how the government can get more money through taxes, and what parts of the federal budget (BTW we haven’t had one in four years; which is the reason this “cliff” is looming) sees spending cuts (if any).

Apparently both sides agree that $800 billion in new revenue (taxes, aka, YOUR money) is the magic number; however when you look at the projected size of 2013 federal expenditures of 6.4 trillion dollars, that $800 billion really doesn’t amount to much now does it?

This isn’t to say that there shouldn’t be some sort of discussion on taxes; particularly tax reform; in this country.  The 2012 U.S. tax code is a complete and total convoluted mess, comprising of 73,608 pages.  Let that number sink in for a minute, and then consider that the longest novel is the 7 volume tome, entitled “In Search of Lost Time,” by Marcel Proust, has “only” 4,211 pages; The 1985 edition of Encyclopedia Britannica had roughly 17,000 pages; Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary has 2,662 pages; and the first three volumes of Edward Gibbon’s seminal classic, “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” has 3,475 pages, and there are another three volumes to Mr. Gibbon’s study of the decline of an entire civilization!  So, yes, the U.S. tax code could use some sort of reform; if not being scrapped altogether in favor of something simpler, such as the Fair Tax.  Sadly though government rarely, if ever, does anything simple.

As Gov. Johnson again alludes to in the above letter, our government doesn’t so much have a revenue problem, as it has a spending problem.  The problem is that our illustrious elected aristocracy cannot seem to do the simple math required of equating income with expenses.  Hey, I get it, I’m no math wiz myself, but I do know that if I receive two dollars, I cannot then subsequently spend three dollars.  The biggest elephants (and donkeys) in the room though are the things that neither the GOP nor the Dems care to touch, for fear of getting absolutely blasted by supporters and detractors alike.  Those things are Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Federal Employee Pensions, Veteran’s Administration programs, Defense Spending, The Federal Department of Education, Unemployment Compensation, Food Stamps, agricultural assistance, and so on and so forth.  Granted, maybe not all of the above listed sacred federal cows absolutely, positively need reforms or spending cuts now; but some of them do.

When you consider though that Medicare is on track to go broke as soon as 2016 (as late as 2024 under some plans), Social Security is expected to be broke by 2037, and that both of those account for roughly 25% of federal spending, it is no wonder why people my age group and younger have little to no hope of ever receiving ANY of the monies (taxes) they have paid into these programs throughout their working lives.  Yet, despite this very public knowledge that these sacred cows are doomed, our brilliant minds in Washington DC are scared to death to actually do anything that either saves, or ends these programs (because it will cost them their cushy seats of power).

The fiscal cliff will not spell certain doom for our country.  If some sort of a compromise on who to tax, and how much to continue spending (above and beyond tax receipts) isn’t reached will our economy falter; and slip back into recession?  Perhaps, though it could be argued that we never really came out of recession to begin with.  I think the better question is, if a compromise is reached on who to tax, and how much to spend above and beyond tax receipts is reached; can we expect the economy to take off like a scolded dog?  Um, no, I really don’t think so; because such a compromise does nothing to address the bigger issues of deficit spending, and cascading debt.  A compromise simply continues business as usual in our government.  Should we simply do nothing then?  Well, if doing “something” solves nothing, then was it worth it?  I honestly think all of the consternation over the fiscal cliff is almost laughable, when it is compared to the bigger picture of our country going/being broke.  It is laughable to hear these politicians saying the only way to save the economy is to basically continue spending more, but to compensate for that, to then take more money from the people – yes an income tax is taking, because I can promise you that you didn’t just give it to the government, they took it, before you could get your grubby little hands on the fruits of your labors.

No, we actually do need to shrink the size and scope of government, if we actually wish it to remain prosperous, and solvent.  Sadly though I really don’t believe that will ever happen, because (1) the nature of bureaucracies is to ever expand, like a cancerous tumor; (2) because to shrink the government would mean curtailing spending on the sacred cows, which would literally piss a lot of people off; and (3) too few people out there actually seem to care about it.  So, yay us!  I suggest we all clench hands like Thelma and Louise and enjoy the ride as Uncle Sam dons his Evel Knievel cape; jump’s the fiscal cliff, only to plunge us into the fiscal Snake RiverCanyon.

 

Deficits mean future tax increases, pure and simple. Deficit spending should be viewed as a tax on future generations, and politicians who create deficits should be exposed as tax hikers.
(Ron Paul)

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