Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
May 14, 2003
POLITICS: . . . and Liberal Craziness
Part of the goal of kicking off the Conservative Truths series was as a way to distinguish the sane and reasonable types of people on the left from the bitter-enders who refuse to concede an inch to reality. There are Liberal Truths as well, and perhaps I'll post some if I can't get someone to bite on running an opposing series that has some sense to it.
The first response I got was revealing of the kind of attitude that conservatives often make fun of, usually to the response from liberal commentators that "nobody really thinks that." But here it is in print, and I swear I'm quoting this guy directly:
Liberal Truth #1: Tax cuts are government spending just like the military and welfare are government spending. It takes government revenue and spends in on a certain program. In this case, the money is spent every year on certain income earners in order to (supposedly) get them to reinvest the money in businesses and production. Tax cuts allot a certain portion of government revenue to supplanting taxed income, leaving the government with less money than it had before - in other words, the government's money is spent on tax cuts.
Wow. Cutting taxes lets you keep "government revenue." Your income, or the return on your investments, is "the government's money." Only out of the goodness of the government's heart does it let you keep any of it at all.
Sanity check: who is it that works for the money? And, come to think of it, whose government is it anyway? If I quit my job, can the government come after me next year and say I still owe the same amount of taxes? This ain't child-support we're talking about; I don't owe the government any obligation, and there's no Platonic ideal of 37% or 50% or 75% marginal tax rates that's being defiled by rate cuts. It's my money, and while society has a right to ask me to chip a portion of it in to pay for various necessities, that doesn't mean that the government has a claim on howsoever much it wants.
Now, when you move away from tax rates to some of the more complicated deductions ("do this and you can keep X that we otherwise would have taxed"), I'm more sympathetic to the argument that you've really got a spending program in disguise as a tax cut. But the basic idea that cutting taxes gives away "the government's money" -- well, that's a sign of a complete loss of perspective on which of us exists for the other's benefit. It's our money, and it's our government.