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Read My Lips! There Will Be New Taxes!

October 23rd, 2008 | by Omnipotent Poobah |

“Read my lips! No new taxes!”

That was Bush 41 following in the hallowed steps of St. Ronnie of Reagan, patron saint of the doDeath and Taxesn’t tax and spend crowd. Of course - lip reading not withstanding - there were tax increases. Bush the Elder wiggled by renaming many a tax as “fees”. St. Ronnie thought cutting taxes was the Republican holy grail. He did it by passing unfunded mandates to states where state taxes rose and federal taxes lowered based on the simple accounting principle of removing programs from the books. Forty-three does this on a grand scale with the war in Iraq. The Iraq war costs zip because it isn’t a recurring budget line item.

Fantasy suits the man.

A Chicken in Every Pot
“A chicken in every pot” is a politician’s best and worst issue. Both McCrankypants and the A-rabTM are locked into a death-grip tax spiral as old as prostitution. Mr. McEconoboob says Mr. O will raise taxes. Of course he will. Someone has to pay for the imaginary billions pissed away in Iraq or deeded to the financial crapweasels at the heart of the current financial meltdown. The O-man says McCain will give tax breaks to the wealthy while he’ll hand out the largess to the rapidly diminishing middle class. The truth is, both sides support programs that only raise the bill, not lower it - for everyone, rich and not so rich alike.

Although it would be political suicide, I’d like the candidates to be honest. The American people can’t continue to carp about funding programs they don’t like with money that doesn’t exist. They have to pay the freight, sacrifice something, or shut the hell up about it. The new battle cry shouldn’t be “read my lips”, it should be “There’s no such thing as a free lunch“.

I don’t see taxes as Bidenistically patriotic, but I do see them as a fair obligation to the greater society - an obligation to pay my fair share for all programs, not just the ones I use and support. Despite my personal disgust at taking on a corporation’s unfunded mandate, I realize that incenting a company via taxes can sometimes be a good thing. I also realize that giving Joe the Plumber a tax cut perfectly sized for dinner out at McDonalds doesn’t stimulate much of anything except McDonalds sales and campaign votes. Giving the breaks to those who need it least is equally bad. A European vacation on a private jet isn’t the kick start to a flood of money trickling down to the rest of us like costly rain drops. If there’s anything socialistic about this hard fact it’s this, “to each according to his needs, paid for by those who can most afford it”.

We Have No One to Blame But Ourselves
Nobody likes taxes, but everyone needs to pay them - poor, rich, and corporations alike. To not do so is an exercise in ducking responsibility for the infrastructure and programs we clamor for but want for free. Sure, there’s waste, fraud, and abuse, but not nearly enough to significantly decrease our tax burdens. Neither do politicians create programs and the tax allotments to fund them because it’s fun. They do it because that’s what voters pressure them to do. We have no one to blame but ourselves.

Yes, I’d like politicians to be honest, even painfully so. They need to tell voters politicians can’t take full responsibility for stopping them before they spend again. The electorate needs to understand they need to set priorities and behave appropriately. The Bridge to Nowhere and Obama’s infamous “overhead projector” are either necessary or not. Either way, somebody has to give up something. Politicians can’t take full responsibility for how we spend our national treasure, but they can lead by making saner compromises that benefit the many instead of the few. “Read my lips…” is no longer a valid battle cry. We need something else, something just as pithy but more honest.

I believe, “Read my lips, there will be increased taxes and spending,” is a fair enough place to start.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

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  1. One Response to “Read My Lips! There Will Be New Taxes!”

  2. By Chris Radulich on Oct 24, 2008 | Reply

    Having written to my representatives to have a 1% surcharge enacted to pay for the war, I could not agree with you more.Reagan biggest disservice to the nation was convincing us that there is a free lunch.

    There is NO FREE LUNCH.

    The housing market died because of too much borrowing.

    The consumer is dying because of too much credit card debt.

    Our nation will be destroyed if we do not get our revenue and spending in line. Remember that Social security and medicare have been in the black for decades. The problem, admit by one of Reagans people, is tax cuts and increased military spending. If we want our military we have to start paying for it. If you want more border patrol we must pay for it. If you want increased home land security we must pay for it.If you want the war to continue we must pay for it.

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