Friday, April 15, 2011

Spending Reductions In The Tax Code

Is there anyone within the reach of these words who thinks the President is at all concerned with budget deficits? Seriously. Last year the President empanelled a “blue ribbon”, bipartisan debt commission to try to come up with ways to reduce the national debt. They presented their findings and suggestions in December and almost without comment the President promptly shelved them. In his State of The Union address, again no specific cuts although he did volunteer to freeze discretionary spending at levels that are already 20% higher than when he took office. A month later his $3.73 Trillion 2012 budget was pretty widely panned as a “punt” which doesn’t touch the entitlement programs that his own commission recognizes as the drivers of our national debt. Three swings, three misses. Whiffs, airballs, fumbles, faults, false starts. Pick a sport. Pick a failure mode.

So now Paul Ryan has introduced a proposed 2012 budget that addresses deficit spending, the $14 Trillion national debt, and the long term fiscal viability or our social “safety net” programs and of the United States itself. Why has he done that? Well, he’s done that because we’re on the threshold of a catastrophe and financially responsible people see it and are demanding that the congress do something and do something pretty quickly. You might think it would be the President’s job to lead the nation in a responsible direction, but you might find some pushback on that at 1600. But a lot of people out here in the weeds seem to think it, so the President has chosen to play along. And so in his speech the other night he proposed not a budget, but an “outline”, not of a budget, but of a plan. It’s the outline of a plan that abandons the budget that he already put forward, but it’s his “me too” entry into the fiscal responsibility sweepstakes.

I listened intently to the speech. The President said: we’re going to make spending cuts here, and we’re going to make spending cuts over there, and more spending cuts over here (and then he said it) “The fourth step in our approach is to reduce spending in the tax code.” I literally made that Tim Allen sound from Home Improvement. You know the one, the cave man question mark sound. ????? So lets us just take a look at this statement shall we?

It’s a fact that the IRS exists for one purpose and one purpose only, and that is to collect taxes. Money flows from us to the government. It flows in one direction. (Of course, that’s total BS because 47% of all tax filers pay no federal tax at all and receive “refunds” of taxes that they didn’t pay in the first place, but that’s not what I’m getting at right here, so let’s just pretend that everyone pays their fare share.) The “tax code” does not spend. The “tax code” was designed to take, and take it does. So what can this phrase mean then: to “reduce spending in the tax code”? I’ll tell you what it means, it means to raise taxes, the President (Mr. Charisma) doesn’t have the (insert male body part or parts here) large enough to say it. “My plan is to raise taxes”. Specifically, he plans to raise taxes on the top 2% of earners who already shoulder nearly 50% of the tax burden as it is.

It’s interesting that the President chose to present his outline of a plan to an audience at George Washington University, GW being the single most expensive university in the US at $56k/year. That means that all of the people in attendance (excluding Paul Ryan who was invited for the express purpose of public insult and Vice President Biden who apparently needed some downtime) were children of privilege who will now have to explain the outline of the plan to their parents who will (if the President has his way) shoulder even more of the tax load than they already do.

Our President is now engaged in a class “kinetic action” (that’s war for those of you who haven’t been following the action in North Africa) against the most successful among us, trying to obscure the fact that the top 2% of earners already pay nearly 50% of the federal income tax booked. He is also trying to conceal the fact that the bottom 75% of tax payers only pay 14% of all income taxes paid. And on top of all of that, like a cherry on a mound of ice cream, there is his Orwellian description of a tax increase as a “spending cut in the tax code”. This man raises “doublespeak” to a new level.

But that’s just what an average guy thinks.

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