Let’s start with the need. Over recent decades this country — largely under conservative principles — has managed to under-fund government even as it raised costs (wars, medicare benefits, tax cuts).
Grover Norquist is the news quite a bit recently for his simple-minded anti-tax pledge. We need to be aware of this. In the church of small government, Norquist is pope and too many conservatives bend down to kiss his papal ring.
All these so-called independent and intelligent conservatives cower before Norquist. Impressive. And it is important to be aware of the pledge, but the goal of the pledge is the real concern.
Lower taxes are not necessarily bad, in fact everyone would agree that lower taxes would be a good thing, if the tax rate were fiscally responsible. However Grover Norquist’s goal is smaller government for the sake of smaller government. Conservatives don’t cut government programs because it is a necessary and unfortunate evil, they cut government because less government is their long term goal.
Why, for example, do Republicans propose raising the age of Medicare benefits qualification? Because they want less Medicare, if they must have it at all. (Curious coming from a party that ran against Obama just two months ago warning that Obama would eliminate Medicare! Truth and facts mean nothing to the misleading political right. It’s disgraceful.)
So why reduce the taxes? The argument goes that it will create jobs and growth. Republicans will tell you that jobs and growth are their long term goal. If we have growth, tax revenues will increase, and we will be able to pay down our deficit and maintain our government programs.
Republicans are funny. The anti-intellectual party claims to rely on common sense. Even here they seem unable to set things straight, however. Common sense would tell you that the anti-tax, less-is-more approach to economic growth hasn’t worked all that well.
We have the tax cuts which the GOP is fighting to save — we have them RIGHT NOW — and we have had them for years. Nevertheless we managed to fall into our recession, have struggled to recover from the recession, and job growth remains sluggish. Ask your favorite GOPer: If these tax cuts work , if more money for “job creators” creates jobs…well, where the hell are the jobs?
Republicans either know nothing about market demand, the labor market, and the global economy or they are dismal liars. Sadly, I think the party of the right is both. They are misleading the public, and in doing so leading us right over the cliff to achieve their anti-government goals.
If you are, in fact, worried about the future for your children and grand children — a politician’s favorite trope — don’t vote for anti-future Republicans.
Let’s apply common sense to the tax cut argument. First, we see that the tax cuts don’t work, not for the fiscal and economic problem we have now. Look at what we have with cuts. Second, look at what higher tax rates did to economic growth in the past. It didn’t seem to hurt it. Our most robust years coincide with higher tax rates. How does that square with GOP rhetoric?
We need to close loopholes, raise some taxes, and find some savings, but all of this alone will not erase our deficit and eliminate our debt. It won’t alone save the economy. The numbers don’t add up. We need growth. If the economy regains its once-upon-a-time growth, the deficit and debt problems we face will go away rather easily.
Currently the private sector is not supporting the economic growth we need. Demand for what the private sector can supply is low. Money needs to circulate again in the consumer markets.
We do, however, need investments in infrastructure, research, education, and other public sector projects that will support future economic growth. This is government’s role — i.e., our role as the people — to invest in these projects. It is the derided Keynsian approach to economic stewardship and most economists argue it will have long-term benefit.
So why don’t we do it? Well, once you get through the misinformation from conservative politicians, it all comes down to what you want government to be. The right wants less of a government that serves the people. Government for them is the problem, remember? It is a problem because they don’t like it. God, knows why, but I have ideas on this…it is an ideological one, primarily a bastardized theological one, leading with SBC corruption, but that’s another story. The lemmings are about to go over the cliff, regardless of the ideological influences steer them.
Raise some taxes, but focus on stimulus spending, and we’ll save the future and can even save the misguided.
- Conservative Leaders Urge Tough Line on Fiscal Cliff (cnsnews.com)
- Do Tax Cuts Lead to Economic Growth? (nytimes.com)
- Starve The Beast: Fiscal calamity is the GOP’s plan to shrink government (post-gazette.com)
- Grover Norquist Makes a Fool Out of Himself By Demanding Reagan Era Tax Rates (politicususa.com)
- The Top 4 Whoppers Norquist Tells To Keep Republicans From Defecting (kaystreet.wordpress.com)
- Republicans speak loudly about standing up to Grover Norquist’s pledge, but carry a little stick (dailykos.com)
- Grover Norquist: Beware of a second tea party wave (washingtonpost.com)