By constantly playing on our fears, our president has coerced Congress (Democrats and Republicans) into spending whatever he asks for the war on terror. It used to be that a communist was hiding under every bed; now it’s Al-Qaeda. Somehow, this justifies invading a country that didn’t attack or threaten us in any way, shape or form. We are now trillions of dollars in debt and no safer than we were six years ago.
When George W. took office, there was no debt. In just seven years he has run up the national debt to $9.2 trillion, most of it related to the war in Iraq. Each and every American now owes some foreign country or bank $30,243. The debt is now increasing at the rate of $1.43 billion a day. Thanks a lot George.
But anyone who opposes military spending is considered un-American and unpatriotic. And anyone who proposes raising taxes (even on corporations and the elite rich) is accused of being out to destroy our economy. If we are truly being led by a conservative administration, then they have failed to conserve anything and instead have become radical spenders. It’s like a rich kid going on a shopping spree with his parent’s credit card. He just runs up the bill knowing that he will never have to pay for it. This is George W.’s philosophy. He’s been doing it all his life.
I recently heard a Republican Congressman state that we need to balance our budget in all areas except defense spending. What is he thinking? Defense money is free? We don’t have to pay it back? Not controlling defense spending is simply irresponsible. What happened to the fiscally responsible approach of earning the money first and then spending only what we earned? Taxes shouldn’t be going down, but up to correspond to the excessive level of spending by this administration.
So how do we get out of this mess? We need to generate more income and the only way the government can do that is through taxes. I am not saying tax the working class more. Corporate taxes are down to less than 5 percent of the national income from their high of almost 30 percent. The top 10 percent of the wealthiest people pay less in taxes now than they did 40 years ago. Warren Buffet, the third richest man in the world, stated that it is ridiculous that he was taxed at 17.7 percent last year and his receptionist was taxed at 30 percent.
This immense tax burden has shifted to the working class and it needs to be shifted back to corporate America. The oil companies are making record profits. Their CEOs make more in a week than most people do in a year. Those profits aren’t trickling down to the ordinary guy on the street but just the opposite. The working class is paying through the nose with inflated gas prices and higher tax rates than the extremely wealthy.
So tax and spend is a good concept. Tax those with tons of money and spend it on what is necessary. Unfortunately we now have to increase taxes just to get out of debt. We won’t see any benefit from having to do this and our children will ask us how we could have been so irresponsible to spend what we didn’t have.
Don’t be fooled by clichés. A “tax and spend” economy is fiscally responsible. Raising taxes isn’t bad as long as it applies to those who have most of the money.
Jeff Blanck is an attorney in private practice in Reno. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.