So, the Senate refused to pass the House’s bill that only extended the Bush tax cuts for the middle class (why is class defined by income, by the way?), meaning that we’re all going to pay more unless they do something else. One of the things that makes me mad about the whole tax debate is that so many people of all political persuasions forget a very important part of the whole conversation: not a single dime the government spends is its own money.
I don’t care if someone makes a dollar or a zillion dollars a year, the government did not earn a dime of what it takes from the dollar earner or the zillion dollar earner. Now, as a nation, we have made the judgment that the government can collect some of what people earn in order to fund the activities of the government, but it was never the government’s money to begin with.
I know that some people sincerely believe that people who make more than a certain amount should pay more than people who make less than than amount, but frankly the progressive tax has never made sense to me because it penalizes success. How raising taxes on people who succeed better is fair, especially since the top 25 percent of income earners already pay 70 percent of the taxes anyway, is beyond me. If people making more than a certain amount are somehow gaining that income dishonestly, there are far better ways to prevent that from happening than taxing them more.
So, now, because the tax rate debate has been about whether or not some people should pay more instead of about the fact that its our money to begin with, we’re all going to have to pay more. Don’t believe me? If the Bush era tax cuts expire, the rates will return to their pre-2002 levels, which will increase the taxes on your first $27,050 of earned income by 50 percent and on the rest for most people by 10 percent. Check it out (by the way, since the Senate has not yet passed a bill making the 10 percent tax bracket permanent, it does not exist as of 1 January 2011 unless they do):
1992 1993 –
2001 2002 2003 –
15% 15% 15% 10% 10% 10% 15% 15% 15% 28% 28% 27.5% 27% 25% 25% 31% 31% 30.5% 30% 28% 28% 36% 35.5% 35% 33% 36% 39.6% 39.1% 38.6% 35% 39.6%
So, my question to all of you “the rich are getting a tax break under Bush’s cuts” types out there is why do you want the government to have the money at all? What do you think the government is going to do with it that is so much better than what you could do with it?
And, before I get all the bullshit answers, the federal government does not provide local law enforcement, does not fix bridges or roads (yes, the states do that, although they usually have to beg the feds for money), does not provide actual health care, and does not provide food, clothing or shelter for people in need. No, what they do instead is take your money from you then give it back to you with a dictate of how you’re allowed to use it.
So, why do you want the government to have the money at all?