05 June 2009

Fingers in the Dam

Well, it looks like our only option is to raise taxes.

Sure, we can implement a tax cut, but how are we going to pay for it?

These are common rationalizations that come out of Washington. Rarely do we hear anything that makes good fiscal sense come of discussions of government income/revenue and subsequent expenditures and outlays.

Here in Baton Rouge, the local suburb of Baker first raised teacher salaries, and then their school board suggested the only way they are going to be able to fund education is to max out property taxes, and now they're holding a job fair for all those teachers they raised the pay for. Is there ANY careful planning or thought going on around there? Sadly, this happens all across the country.

Right now, the US spends more per pupil and gets some of the worst results. Thanks NEA! But how do you dare vote against funding education? Demanding accountability from education is the new racism. If you vote against it, then you are against children getting a good education (never mind the disparate impact on minorities). But, no... What I’m against is funding a broken system that rewards unqualified teachers and unaccountable school boards all of whom are coddled by the unions who shakedown the governments – all the while our children STILL get a substandard public school education. Did I mention we spend more money per student and get some of the worst results?

Meanwhile, Louisiana is putting the weight of its budget woes on the backs of graduate students. Graduate students are often young professionals who are sacrificing current experience in pursuit of future rewards. By no means are they wealthy - otherwise, they wouldn't be going back to school. But with this tuition increase, it is reverse Robin Hood as well as a sure-fire way to discourage people from wanting to better their lot in life through advanced education. It will also force a continued brain-drain at that level on Louisiana. Just what this state needs...

Meanwhile, outside of education, the administration and Congress tells us that the Federal Highway Trust Fund will be insolvent in by August unless taxpayers pony up another $7 Billion. Really? Who knew? I’m shocked that this is JUST NOW being addressed a month and a half away. How did this get left out of the $787 Billion stimulus bill? Wasn't that for "shovel-ready" projects? (Side note: There's clearly enough that's shovel ready in DC...)

From what I can tell, all that decreased driving we were told to do is now having a negative impact on federal gas tax revenues. So, now they are talking about raising the federal gas tax anywhere from 15 to 40 cents PER GALLON. But once again, they expect us to pay for their mismanagement of our dollars. Oh, and we’re also being punished for trying to help out by driving less, you know, like they asked us to. (It’s for the environment…)

Now, the encephalitic Ben Bernanke comes along and says we need to start planning now for the increased revenues that will be needed to pay for all the spending that has been legislated by the bloated beast in DC. Wasn’t it just a few years ago that the Democrats were screaming about “unfunded mandates”? Well, now it’s apparently en vogue and they’re talking about more taxes, specifically the Euro-popular VAT, to cover new spending. If you don’t know what a VAT tax is, I suggest you read this, and this, think of the term “national sales tax” (in addition to your state and local) and gird your loins for sticker shock on just about anything that requires an exchange of money for goods or services. ANYTHING.

But so many of our trusted elected career cowards just go lazily along with palms facing upward and their “but what can we do?” attitude? Then they have the audacity to ask us to send them back to DC so they can work hard to fix the problems that THEY created. Insanity. But in the interim…

First, to look fiscally responsible, Obama instructed cabinet departments to cut $100 million. Insulting. WH Spokesman Robert Gibbs attempts to play up that $100 Million is a lot of money to the American people. Yes, especially when the proposal includes buying office supplies in bulk and government employees having to share printers. But let’s be certain to slash missile defense while North Korea continues its fireworks show for terrorists. Obama & Gibbs are magnanimously throwing out numbers that SOUND big, but in the scale of DC, are minuscule. The budget proposed is $3.67 Trillion… That’s a lot more zeroes – at least four more to be exact.

Next to build on these massive cuts, Obama & Democrats put forth another $17 billion in cuts, likely to confuse (or amuse) people. Whatever. Window dressing at best. In the same breath as these cuts, he offered up billions more in spending. Well, so long as he gets the media coverage for cutting spending, all the other stuff is meaningless. However, once again, both Obama and Gibbs tout that $17 billion is a lot of money to Americans. Hey guys, it’s less than half a percent of the monstrosity you want to spend. Get real.

Not to lose the mantle of fiscal responsibility, now the GOP offers its own menial cuts. Many of these cuts are from programs that are actually very good, but easy targets. Still a drop in the bucket. They’re just as lazy and guilty.

There is no serious interest in cutting bloated spending. None. This is why when a tax cut is actually proposed, politicians ask “How are we going to pay for it?” Remember that from earlier? That is just politi-speak for, “We can’t give money back to the tax payers or take less of their money unless we cut spending from some other program.” And given the fact that the government does not like to cut spending, they hide behind this “pay for it” semantic. Sickening, and yet, the voters buy it without even understanding or questioning it.

By stark contrast, you are expected to cut your spending because they need more of your money to pay for their lack of doing the same. Politicians think you are stupid. And by the looks of it, at least half of the country doesn’t mind that. But then again, only half of us pay any taxes anyways. That’s no way to sustain a country and certainly isn’t any way to expect a society and an economy to grow and flourish. As Churchill so wisely stated and is often quoted, “We contend that for a nation to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.

Washington is reckless and more out of control than ever. The only solution is to end the circus and send the clowns back to their trailers. They are out of touch and only want to be well-positioned with the media as opposed to truly standing on principle. As Sean Hannity put forth this week, whether you agree with his politics or not, all politicians in DC have no backbone to stand up and do what’s right for America. They only value their political careers and focus on how to get re-elected instead of how to best serve the country.

We need to start a national movement for voter-enforced term limits. We will never get critical mass to amend the Constitution, but it is the best solution to the problems that plague our nation’s capital. To paraphrase Mitt Romney from the 2008 debates, “How can you expect to send the same people back to Washington just to sit in different chairs and expect different results?

Well America?


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