Our President wants to raise taxes, says it is only “fair” to do so, and, after all, he only wants to raise taxes on “millionaires and billionaires” which, it turns out, is every single person who makes two hundred grand a year or more.
As a percentage of GDP, the historic cost of government has been about 19%. Under President Bush the percentage rose above 20%. Under President Obama it is near 24% and rising. The principle difference between the positions of the Right and Left can be boiled down to this: the Right wishes to decreases overall government spending closer to historic levels and the Left wants to raise taxes to keep spending at the currently inflated levels.
Demographics tell the whole story about the wisdom of raising taxes: there are ever fewer wage earners to tax and an ever expanding population of government dependents to support. Of the diminishing number of wage earners, fewer pay any taxes at all (Only 51% of wage earners pay any taxes.) Fewer and fewer people simply cannot pay for more and more government largess. (If you think that taxing corporations will do it consider this: our corporations already pay highest corporate tax rates in the world and bear the burden of the most costly government regulations in the world. And this: corporations do not pay taxes in any event. Corporations add the additional cost of taxes and regulation to the price of their products and you and I pay them.)
Our President and his parrots make the argument that our economic problems would vanish if only the Right, and in particular the Tea Party, would ’compromise’ with them by agreeing to immediate tax increases traded for future promised spending cuts. The term ‘compromise’ has become what ‘change’ was to the Obama campaign: an end in itself, an empty, meaningless vessel into which the Left can pour its anger, a slogan implying moral superiority more suitable for tee shirts and bumper stickers than thoughtful problem-solving.
The truth is that our disastrous financial condition is the result of innumerable compromises between the left and right that permitted each to get most of what they wanted. Now as bankruptcy looms there is no further room for compromise. It is time, as adults, to conclude that we cannot have the government we want. We can only have the government we can afford.
Politicians need not worry. There will still be trillions of deflated dollars to fight over.