Get a Life
Submitted By Todd on January 1st at 1:37pm
New York Daily News.
Americans have not always hated taxes. The marginal tax rate was approximately 90% for the wealthiest Americans during World War II, but 85% to 90% of the public still described their tax rate as fair.The total tax revenues for the federal government in 1943 were less than $8 billion, so it was pretty easy for those who didn't pay the 90% tax rate to think the 90% rate was just fine.
In the mid-20th century, new payroll taxes were enacted to help pay for Social Security and Medicare, while federal taxes helped fund the Interstate Highway System, strengthened research and education at America's premier public universities and built the world's most powerful military.That's true - Americans stupidly went along with the construction of a greatly expanded social "safety net" during the Johnson years that President Obama now says will bankrupt the nation if we don't dramatically increase the threat of that ticking time bomb with socialized medicine. How much is it costing us to go broke? The Hoover Institute reports:
According to data released by the IRS in 2007, the average American household paid $22,100 in federal taxes–a dramatic increase from 1965, when the average household’s tax burden was $10,800 (inflation adjusted).So we pay twice as much as we did a generation ago to run the federal government, which isn't enough to ward off bankruptcy, and that somehow leaves the presumably well-informed Dallek (he is a visiting scholar at the Bipartisan Policy Center and acting director of the University of California Davis' Washington program) baffled as to why Americans don't love taxes as much as they used to.
The decades-long tax revolt undermined the nation's aging transit systems and public school facilities, and ever since Californians enacted Proposition 13 in 1978 as a cap on people's property taxes, an unyielding anti-tax consensus has taken hold. The politics are hard to miss.The tax revolt is ruining the country, Dallek argues, but he doesn't notice that the revolt was caused by much higher taxes and corrupt, ineffective government.
It's a shame. The nation's problems are sufficiently complicated that the country will find it harder and harder to make real progress if tax hikes - broad ones that include some pain for the middle class - are removed from the menu of policy options.And there are so many ways to raise taxes that haven't even been used!
Raising the federal gasoline tax would improve America's air, reduce dependence on foreign oil and provide revenues for making necessary transportation investments. Yet not a single elected official of national significance is fighting for the idea.Imagine?
Imposing a modest tax on soda and junk food might reduce the obesity rate and result in lower health care costs, while Obama's pledge to raise taxes on Americans making more than $250,000 a year could help rein in the federal budget deficit. Yet even these reasonable and targeted tax hikes meet heavy resistance.Did you notice his argument for sugar taxes - they might have good results! The guaranteed results would be that those tax increases would become a permanent part of a bigger government, even if they failed to achieve their intended purpose.
The United States has historically been a low-tax country and until the turn of the 20th Century, tax rates rarely exceeded 10%. With the Great Depression and World War II pressing the American economy, effective tax rates rocketed from around 10% to 25% by 1945. Since that time, tax rates have not dipped below 20%, but instead have climbed to above 30%.He also doesn't bother to consider that Americans just might not be interested in his agenda. The majority are opposed to the war in Afghanistan as well as the ObamaCare government expansion plans.
Taxes are no magic solution to all that ails America. But if the United States is going to eliminate record red ink, expand health care coverage to millions, rebuild aging airports and roads, fight in Afghanistan and invest in scientific and medical research, then we must all be willing to pay more.Finally, in his last sentence, Dallek says something everyone can agree with.
The status quo, comforting though it may seem to some, is a road map to an economically feebler America.Yes - the status quo is unsustainable. Not because we don't pay enough, but because they squander too much.
Numerous sources cite the enormous length and complexity of the tax code. According to one source, the current tax code and its associated regulations “contain almost 5.6 million words--seven times as many words as the Bible.” One website that provides access to the tax code and its related documents notes that the complete tax code is 24 megabytes in size and, if printed 60 lines to the page, would fill more than 7,500 letter-size pages.We must realign ourselves with our constitution, work for smaller, more efficient government, improve education by breaking the hold of unions over the Democrats, get rid of the millions of public workers and their bloated pay rates and unaffordable retirement benefits that are crushing state and local governments, and we must have a federal government that spends our money with care instead of viewing tax dollars as their personal permanent employment funds. After doing all that, Americans might develop enough faith in our governments that we can respect requests for new revenue streams. In the meantime, get a life.