By Sam Foster
Anyone that believes tax increases is the solution to our fiscal problems has no credibility whatsoever!
In general, the conservative blog Outside the Beltway is not my cup of tea. They are essentially a poor man’s Powerline; a legal blog-team that recreates a large majority of what I read on most other conservative lawyer's blog. That’s not to say that there aren’t great points raised on the site. Indeed, that’s why the site does well. But, many of the writers there try and supplant their lack of rigorous economic thought with regurgitating what they think is intelligent and reasonable sounding.
…Professing themselves to be wise, they become fools…
For example, Alex Knapp’s post today on budget solutions that I found over at memeorandum:
“Personally, I don’t think that any politician who voted to extend the Bush tax cuts has any credibility on the deficit whatsoever…
…Cut the defense budget. Cut business subsidies. De-cartelize the health care industry. Raise taxes. Means test entitlements. End the FICA income cap. This is how you balance the budget.”
Now in Alex’s defense, I’ve cut out a lot of important and salient points that expose a great deal of Republican hypocrisy. And while I believe there are a number of “conservative” bloggers that like to throw out the “let’s raise taxes” line as a way to be provocative and spark descent by going against the conventional conservative grain, It’s been too much of a longstanding trend at OTB to be insincere.
Below is OTB writer Doug Mataconis from back in November:
“If we lived in a country with adult political parties, the release of the Commission’s report would serve as the beginning of a long overdue national conversation about how to get our fiscal house in order. Liberals would recognize that social spending would have to be cut, and conservatives would recognize that defense spending cuts and tax increases would have to be on the table.”
(Emphasis Doug Mataconis’)
But allow me to use Doug Mataconis to rebut Alex Knapp. A country with “adult political parties” would not be considering tax increases, NOT A SINGLE ONE. A serious person would look at the budget and see that our future fiscal problems are not incumbent in a tax revenue problem, but a social entitlement spending problem. Responsibly taking care of the issues we face means addressing spending, period.
If my wife had a spending addiction, I don’t take away most of the credit cards and get a second job to support the few I’ve left her with, I demand that she goes into spending rehab.
Knapp suggests higher taxes, a more progressive entitlement system, defense cuts, and subsidy reform? What is interesting is that Knapp’s “credible” list of solutions, minus subsidy cuts, would probably be identical to the Democratic platform for the next two years if Dems had retained control of the House.
One more thing, a tax cut is not a cost to government. Anyone who makes an argument to the contrary has no credibility whatsoever. The government levies taxes against an organization or individual’s productivity and/or consumption. Taxes are a cost to the taxed! It does not work in reverse. You look foolish when you begin arguing that people keeping more of their money is a cost to government. To make such an argument demands the belief that we operate under communism. That’s where one’s entire income belongs and comes from government and therefore every penny a private citizen’s holds is a cost to the provider. We are headed towards communism, but we’re not there yet.
Again, I’m laying into a single detail of a much greater point, but since OTB seems adamant that tax increases are smart, responsible and credible. I think it’s important to point out that instead, it’s probably more of a calculated political prediction, fabricated by the likely machinery of political compromise. But, when did political calculations become smart, responsible and credible when compared to people in government actually trying to impose the rational on the irrational? I live in the real world and when I wish my government lived in the real world too, I don't tell the real world to stand on its head so that it fits within the dysfunctional habits of government. Anyone who argues in this way like OTB …you guessed it… has no credibility whatsoever.