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We need to raise taxes

By
May 31, 2009

Yes, I really mean that those of us who have an income above subsistence level need to up the ante.  Most state governments, most notably my state of California, are facing record defecits and as a consequence cutting off assistance to those who need it most.  We do so because despite the myths, there is not nearly the "fat" in government conservatives so often bleat about.  The alternatives are cut aid to the poor and infirm or raise taxes.  The latter is the only moral route.

Lets get some of the myths out of the way first.  A recent study of California budgets over the past decade shows that instead of balooning they have very closely tracked population growth and inflation.  Governor Scharzenegger, having won on a promise of cutting waste from government, has since admitted there isn’t much to cut.

Another myth is that if we raise taxes we will depress a struggling economy.  This storyline goes that business would either depress its profit margin or pass the tax increase along to the consumer, thereby reducing the amount of goods sold and hence the economy.  There is, however, little empirical evidence of this effect. Those who are above subsistence level will buy and spend even with a small increase in cost.  We do it all the time, it is called inflation.

Lastly, as was admirably shown in the Los Angeles Times story I alluded to above , the myth that government has grown dramatically recently is false. 

So we are left with the stark choice of ending or sharply reducing the amount we spend for schools, local government functions such as police and fire, aid the the infirm, seniors and those down on their luck; or raising more income for government to meet those needs.  If I thought for a moment that we could meet those needs by private means I would say bravo! But that is not happening and has never happened on the scale we face today.

Early Americans may have helped each other when there was need through direct aid, their church or synogogue or other charitable means. But we are no longer that nation and have not been for a long time.  The last Great Depression made clear that private charity is insufficient for the need.  This one is confirming that conclusion.

California proposes to eliminate all funding for a program to help the poor with AIDS drugs, eliminate or sharply reduce programs for senior health care, child health care and a wide range of other programs that are proven effective, efficient and essential. To do so strikes at the heart of our selves as citizens.  It makes a mockery of the claim we are a Christian nation, and confirms the darkest approbriation that we are selfish, narcisstic and juvenile to the core as a people.

When your brother or sister comes up short, has an emergency, or just plain needs help, I hope you are there for them and cinch your belt a bit to make it possible for them to survive. Well, we are all part of a single family of humankind and some of us really need help. Some of us will die a horrible death without that help. 

Tell your representatives in the state house, Congress and your local government that you want them to raise taxes now so others do not suffer unfairly.

 

9 Responses to We need to raise taxes

  1. woody188

    May 31, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    Couldn’t we just scale back military spending by 10% and end the regional war in the Middle East?

    That would free up some $50 billion or so odd dollars. How much are you looking for?

    How about we end the war on drugs and tax drugs like we do alcohol and cigarrettes?

    That would make the drug “problem” pay for itself and lots of other things like school funding and senior health care.

    I’m going to stop before I run out of uncommon common sense.

  2. Phil Hoskins

    May 31, 2009 at 11:55 pm

    Those suggestions I applaud,  but they do little or nothing to solve local and state budget problems. Those governments cannot create money as the federal government can.

    So the problems I refer to remain and call for some of your "uncommon sense."

    Phil Hoskins

  3. woody188

    June 2, 2009 at 1:46 am

    We could boost employment immediately by sending the VISA workers home. But there must be a real plan for continued growth.

    Investment into a new de-centralized power grid should be made where most generation occurs at the home or sub-division level. This power sharing co-operative would lower everyone’s power bills, freeing up discretionary cash. And as a by product, our power will be less susceptible to outages and be more planet friendly for the next generation.

    There should also be a program for replacing fossil fuels with renewable alternatives. I believe fuel made from hemp is a possibility. And we don’t eat it so it shouldn’t change food prices like some other alternatives.

    Hemp should immediately replace trees in paper. Should reduce costs saving business money. Maybe they will hire someone or maybe give out raises and bonuses.

    State and local governments are going to have to either raise revenue, ie taxes, fines, permit fees, etc. or cut services to balance their budgets.

    And some older folks might have to go live with family, any family that would take them. My older relatives all know my door is open any time. We’ll keep them 4 to a bed like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory if we have to and we’d be happy to do it.

    Hey, it’s a depression. Not officially, but you and I know it. There are going to be some hard choices and tough times.

  4. jbaspen

    June 1, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    Old David Cay Johnson, the bear-like former Editor of the NY Times, is a great read when it comes to taxes. In his critique of the American Tax “System”: “Perfectly Legal”, Johnson asserts that the richest Americans (not the upper middle class that uses W-2s) pay little or no tax. Their weapons of choice include off-shoring/secret accounts, abusive tax shelters and Partnership “K-1″ returns, where $$$ is moved around between so-called “charitable” and “for-profit” returns.
    A huge problem is tha the IRS is greatly underfunded, and doesn’t have the expertise, manpower or technology to pursue these crooks!

  5. Phil Hoskins

    June 9, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    I have deleted a post for content that was racist.

    It will not be tolerated.

    Phil Hoskins

  6. almandine

    June 18, 2009 at 10:37 pm

    Hey Phil –

    Write something new already…

  7. Janice

    June 21, 2009 at 9:25 am

    There is waste in government. Our local ‘conservative’ leaders purchase new equipment every three years or so .. and I know folks who buy the used castoffs for a fraction of their cost. They are like new, and have years of use left in them. These vehicles are expensive, and would save a lot of jobs if they ran them until they wore out. We also built a ‘bike trail’ round the lake in town – big expense with no returns. The population was aginst it, they cut down dozens of mature trees, and now we have more property tax increases. Our local government is run but a hand full of locals who use it to pad their own pockets and push their own agenda. I’m sure this is repeasted in almost every community in the country. It’s the small things that add up.

    I agree that we need to end the wars – bring our troops home and save billions. But, there are also so many problems that need to be addressed to save money that it’s overwhelming. Once we address the corruption in government and clean it up, then we will still have to raise taxes to pay for our spending sprees of the last decade. Hard reality. But I say we need to start at the top of the money chain, not at the bottom. These folks are obscenely rich because of living in America – let them start paying for the benefits from society that they have received – enough of the free ride.

  8. GovtFlu

    June 21, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    Insane idea. Has raising taxes ever kept the incompetent 2-party losers from chucking it into a giant rat hole of waste, or blatant unwise spending?

    No.

    ..but lets do it again, this time our broken & dying form of govt will spend it right, no..really, they will. “..doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.– Albert Einstein defining insanity.

    Ending the war on marijuana will cut millions, if not billions, in wasteful insanity… legalizing it will generate billions in taxes. Problem solved.

    Then you take all the free police resources to fight a war on car theft, shoplifters and burglars. Then watch as home owner & car insurance companies, as well as retail corporations, save additional millions, if not billions.. that just might be passed on to us in lower premiums & prices.

    Its not that hard to find creative new ways to raise & save money.. raising taxes is the lazy way, besides being a failed way.