12.01.2008 0

Politicians Prefer Picking Peoples’ Pockets to Political Privation

  • On: 12/09/2008 10:21:04
  • In: Taxes
  • By Isaac MacMillen

    Faced with what to them is the unenviable dilemma of cutting spending or raising taxes, a growing number of state and local governments are looking to force the taxpayers to dig even deeper into their already threadbare pockets.

    The problem is straightforward. The state/local governments need more money in order to continue funding their myriad of costly programs (road work, pensions, and “community development,” in the case of Minneapolis, MN, with its proposed 8 percent property tax increase). But, unlike the federal government, the state/local governments do not have the option of running up huge deficits. Nor can they simply gear up the printing presses. So, since they cannot produce wealth themselves, they cast their rapcious leer on those who actually create it: The taxpayer.

    When times are hard—such as America’s current economic recession—the very governments that failed to prevent the decline (or perhaps even caused it) increase the taxes on the population (which is earning less and suffering most) in order to avoid “deep cuts.” Astounding logic, isn’t it?

    Sadly, it is a trend that is increasing:

    • The soon-to-be governor of Arizona announced recently that, while she was committed to halting the state’s expansive spending, she refused to rule out raising taxes, stated that it was “of course, an option.”

    • New Orleans’ Jefferson County Parrish will debate whether or not to raise taxes in order to help fund police and jails.

    • New York City wants to increase its hotel tax—already at nearly 15 percent—by another 1 percent, in order to add $100 million to the city budget.

    • St. Charles, IL, is debating a tax hike to help pay for school building construction.

    • Even the 2100 residents of Riegelsville, a borough of Bucks County, PA, are being handed a property tax increase by their council members.

    And one is left to wonder what twisted logic these state and local governments are using. A recession is hurting taxpayers, causing the government’s income to decline. So government’s solution is to take more money from the very taxpayers who are hurt worst by the government’s recession. If these governments were businesses, they’d be filing for bankruptcy (or appealing to the Feds for a bailout)! In fact, if they were anything but a “government,” their actions would be nothing more than flat-out extortion.

    The services that are threatened are termed “essential” by their proponents, who also state that cuts would be “devastating” (as if tax hikes are not). But, of course, they blithely ignore the vicious cycle that is part and parcel of their own tax-and-spend policies. When the economy is up and a budget surplus exists, the government begins saddling the taxpayer with costly new social service programs willy-nilly, ad infinitum. Then, when an economic downturn shrinks the government’s income, “alarming cuts” to “vital services” are loudly bandied about – and the already bereft taxpayer is put in the crosshairs..

    The bottom line is that, during a recession, governments that cannot afford to continue operating at their present rate must make budget cuts. And, even while attempting to scare the people whose pockets they pick by threatening to close “essential” services, they will—when forced—choose those programs that both they and the public deem of less importance. More likely than not, those politicians who don’t make such tough choices are simply worried that the program they cut will headline their opponent’s mailer next election season.

    And if that is their driving force while in office, they should be “cut” from government the next time the people take to the polls. After all, the taxpayers shouldn’t be the only ones left with threadbare pockets by Big Government’s profligate excesses.

    Isaac MacMillen is a contributing editor of ALG News Bureau.


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