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07.01.2008 0

Calling John Marshall

  • On: 07/16/2008 15:39:21
  • In: Fiscal Responsibility
  • “The power to tax involves the power to destroy.” – Chief Justice John Marshall

    When faced with an economy in desperate need of more disposable income in the hands of businesses and consumers, which of the following would you recommend?

    • Cutting the child tax credit in half
    • Reimposing the marriage penalty
    • Allowing the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts to expire
    • Casting the ATM net around another 20 million Americans
    • Raising the 10% tax bracket to 15%
    • Increasing investing taxes
    • Reinstating the 55% death tax
    • Raising the taxes overall on the average American household
    • by a staggering $3,000 per year

    If you answered, “None of the above,” don’t expect to be welcomed into the Chambers of Congress anytime soon. Because the recently House-and-Senate-passed budget calls for all of the above … while not cutting a single government program … and while hiking discretionary spending by a whopping 8%!

    And the result could be devastating. Here’s how Brian Riedl explains it in his revealing article, “Congress’ $3,000 per Household Tax Increase”:

    “While there is never a good time to raise taxes, pledging $4 trillion in tax increases during a time of economic uncertainty is especially worrisome. Raising tax rates on every taxpayer and business would reduce incentives to work, save and invest, and therefore significantly reduce the economy’s capacity to grow and raise living standards.”

    In short, when faced with a choice between raising standards – or taxes – Congress, not surprisingly, chose the latter (“for the good of the people,” no doubt). Yet, believe it or not, it gets worse.

    While raising taxes and lowering standards, Congress also once again expanded its discretionary spending (the kind that buys votes) – this time by a full 8%. And that comes on top of its inflationary-adjusted 45% increase in discretionary spending since 2001.

    Now, lest you get the idea that – like you – the members of Congress understand that when you increase spending in one area, you have to cut it in another, disabuse yourself of that notion. It ain’t gonna happen.

    In fact, while Congress is bilking the taxpayer and milking the budget to buy more votes, Riedl points out that it is fastidiously resisting the slightest urge to eliminate even one wasteful federal program:

    • The $60 billion for corporate welfare – like the Advanced Technology Program, which spends $70 million budget subsidizing Fortune 500 companies – remains intact
    • The $123 billion for programs government auditors have found no record of success remains untouched
    • And the $55 billion in annual program overpayments have simply been ignored

    In 1819, Chief Justice John Marshall wrote, “The power to tax involves the power to destroy.” Apparently, in the nearly two centuries since, that profound wisdom has not found its way across First Street N.E. from the marbled halls of the Supreme Court to the paneled chambers of the United States Congress. And it’s time someone carried the message.

    ALG CTA:
    Type, tube, and web journalists alike need to urge their audiences to call upon President Bush to wield his veto pen like an avenging sword when this budget finally reaches his desk. The American people deserve better than to be forced by profligate politicians to live on less – while Congress spends more. The White House switchboard number is 202-456-1414; the Comments number is 202-456-1111; the fax number is 202-456-2461; and the email address is

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