On taxes

Yesterday, the President told Kansas: "if you vote Democrat, you're voting for a tax increase."

In fact, the exact opposite is true. Were this a Woody Allen movie, I'd pull Marshall McLuhan Milton Friedman from behind a movie poster to explain for me. It is not, so I'll pull out Max Sawicky:

There are no tax cuts. Banish that phrase from your mind. You haven't seen any.

Republican control of the White House and Congress has yielded trillions in tax increases since January of 2001. How can this be? Simple. When you spend more, and when you pass laws that commit the government to spending more in the future, you increase taxes, sooner or later. Spending not financed by current taxes will be financed by future taxes. A debt increase is the present value of future increased taxes. If taxpayers merely pay interest on the debt incurred, forever, the present value of the interest payments is the initial increase in debt.

Suppose you raise future spending on X but later you cut spending on Y? You have still raised taxes. If you had cut spending on Y and foregone the spending on X, taxes would be lower. To spend is to tax. There are no tax cuts. There are only tax shifts.

And Brad Delong:

In no meaningful sense has George W. Bush reduced the tax burden. In no meaningful sense has he kept any promise. George W. Bush has kept his promise to cut taxes in the same way that a spouse who decides to "save money" by making only the minimum required payment on the VISA bill has kept a promise to reduce household spending.

As Milton Friedman puts it, to spend is to tax. Bush's spending increases--defense, Iraq, the Republican porkfest, the Medicare drug benefit--are still there, just as things you have charged to your VISA don't go away if you make only the minimum monthly payment.

What George W. Bush has done has been to shift taxes from the present to the future--and also made future taxes uncertain, random, and thus extra-costly from a standard public finance view.

Rep. Moore likes to talk about the debt tax, the cost of interest on our debt that just gets rolled into the cost that future generations will have to pay because George Bush lacked the political courage to say "no" to a single expense, nor to a single revenue cut. He, like his lackeys in Congress, have no interest in actually reducing the tax burden on America; if they did, they would cut spending to match cuts in taxes.

This is not complicated math. 2+2 will never come out to 3, no matter how many supply-side fundamentalists you can get to say otherwise.

Representative Ryun sits on the Budget committee. He could have worked to cut the deficit, but instead he chose to let the President's requests for money sail through without any plan for paying those debts.

Maybe your 1.5 kids got $750 more in child tax credits. But those kids will owe a lot more on the debts that we've run up with China. A vote for a Republican is a vote for irresponsible spending and an impoverished future.

More like this

The New York Times reports: Congress Votes to Spare Millions From Alternative Tax: By 352 to 64, the House voted to shield about 21 million Americans from being hit by the alternative minimum tax. No, they didn't. But it takes until the 8th paragraph to find that out: House Democrats angrily…
The head of the GAO, David Walker, is now saying what I have been saying for years: our government - our nation - is headed toward a major fiscal crisis. We are a nation living vastly beyond our means in almost every possible way, both personal and governmental. We are running up hundreds of…
Kevin Drum (formerly CalPundit) of the Washington Monthly, is usually a pretty reliable source, but in this post I think he misses the point almost entirely. He is arguing that the "Social Security Trust Fund" is not an IOU even though Congress steals it to make the deficit appear smaller, and the…
Obama's recent tax/unemployment deal with Republicans is a lot less demoralizing once one recognizes that Obama is a Republican, albeit not a completely batshit lunatic one. So I wasn't really going to comment on the most recent Obama capitulation. But several readers asked me for my thoughts on…

Last time we had a balanced budget in this country was in the last Democratic administration. Last time we paid down the debt at all was under Bill Clinton.

We are now borrowing BILLIONs of dollars a DAY from the likes of China and Saudi Arabia to support Bush's tax cuts for rich people. What kind of sense does THAT make, to have our grandchildren pay that back with mega-interest?

Time to vote some big changes, and Boyda would be a great and good change for Kansas.

"Maybe your 1.5 kids got $750 more in child tax credits."
You have just illuminated one of the key differences between the parties bases. When Bush was at the rally in Topeka he asked for applause from everyone with four kids ( to loud applause ). One has to assume that anyone at a Bush rally in Dick Cheney's America is a Republican. I'm not saying Democrats can not have four kids just that fewer of them do. $2000 more from a $40000 salary is little more impressive. Impressive enough for people not to ask how this money fell from the sky. Google the fertily gap for more.