Over the last couple of years, the debate here at SUFA, and realistically across the entire country, has been over federal government spending and the ways to pay for said madness. There are all kinds of statements that get thrown around in this arena. We have the folks on the left, who espouse raising the income tax rate on the top earners in America as a way to increase revenue and help us “get out of the hole we are in.” We have the folks on the right who espouse lowering the tax on top earners as they are the job creators and thus will be the ones to get us out of the hole. And that has been the basic framework of the debate in American politics today. But both sides are equally flawed. And true to the American political spectrum, both sides falsely vilify the other, while neither side wants to admit that it is the drunken Uncle Sam feeling up your cousin that is the real villain…
I didn’t vote for Barack Obama (I know that shocks so many of you), despite his saying exactly what I wanted to hear. “Change We Can Believe In,” was the mantra. He promised to fundamentally change the way that Washington operates. Is there anyone who could honestly say they don’t want a change in the way that Washington operates? Of course our versions of preferred change is drastically different from one person to the next. But I didn’t vote for him because I believed one of two things: He was either full of crap or his version of fundamental change was going to be VERY different from what I would desire. I had read his books after all, and I recognized far left when I saw it.
Turns out I was right on both counts. He is full of crap (as I said I think he is perhaps the most proficient liar of any President thus far, and that is quite an accomplishment given his predecessors). Further, his vision of fundamental change is a far cry from the fundamental change that I would want in Washington DC. His fundamental change was dramatic increases in spending and in the size and scope of government. I would posit that his version of fundamental change was not in line with a vast majority of average American’s hopes.
As a very quick side note, allow me to say that I have grown weary of the claims that his spending and government growth are a necessary result of the state that Bush left this country in. On the contrary, I believe that he hasn’t spent as much as he would have liked or grown government as much as he would have preferred. The reality is the opposite of those claims, in my opinion. He came in wanting to spend and grow, and the state of the USA after Bush was a perfect opportunity to do so while claiming he had no choice. It was all to “save” us. I say bull. He would have tried to spend and grow no matter what. He just wasn’t going to waste a crisis.
Back to my article…
I have made no bones about stating that I do not support increased taxes. I don’t support them on the upper income earners. I don’t support them on the middle class. I don’t support them on the lower income earners. And it is an easy argument for me to make based on the principles and values that I personally believe, that increasing the level of punishment you heap on those who succeed is not going to foster an environment that breeds success. Further, increasing the burden on the middle and lower class certainly isn’t going to be acceptable. I will address those issues more in the future with more targeted articles on different subjects. That is not the point of today’s article.
No today’s article is completely based around a single prevalent belief among those who gravitate towards the left side of the spectrum. That belief is the concept of shared pain to fix what ails America. We hear it in many ways espoused. President Obama loves to throw around the term “shared sacrifice,” while most of those on the left cannot stop themselves from uttering the mantra, “the rich need to pay their fair share,” despite the fact that the wealthy in American pay an overwhelming majority of the taxes. That isn’t enough, claims the left. The wealthy should be willing to sacrifice more because they can afford to sacrifice more.
As an answer, I am going to say precisely how I feel about the concept of raising taxes on me, USWeapon, in today’s environment. Mrs. Weapon and I are not poor. We certainly aren’t anywhere near “wealthy,” either. We both make good money and we operate within a budget that is in line with our income. When you ask me to sacrifice more so that things can be better for all Americans, I am not the heartless bastard that so many think I am (despite the fact that I do, in fact, support the concept of social Darwinism).
I know that most of you are good people. If they really needed it, I have no doubt that many of you would allow someone to borrow your car if they needed to. What if that friend in need had a list of moving violations as long as your arm? What if the reason that they don’t have a car is because they have had 22 accidents in the last 10 years. They have shown that they are incapable of driving a car responsibly. Would you still lend them your car? I wouldn’t.
Suppose you own a small business. You have an acquaintance that is really, really in need of a job. The reason they cannot get a job is because they have been fired from every job they have held in the last ten years. They habitually don’t show up for work, do a poor job when they do decide to attend, take advantage of every offer of good faith help. In short they are a nightmare employee. Would you offer them a position in your ten person business that is barely able to meet its expenses versus revenue? Me either.
Perhaps you send your child off to college. You give them $2000 in a bank account and tell them that is all their spending money for the entire year. At the end of the first year they have spent $4000. You have a talk with them. They tell you all about their necessary costs and you explain to them the importance of operating within a budget and making tough choices about what is important. You compromise and give them $3000 for the next year. At the end of the year they have spent $6000. How many years do you continue to increase the amount of money you take out of your retirement account to fund their reckless spending and lack of fiscal discipline?
You are right, that last one can really hit home, can’t it? The federal government is that wayward college student. Every year they bring in more revenue. And every year they find a way to spend 40-50% more than they bring in. After showing us nothing but fiscal recklessness for decades, they have the audacity to come to us and tell us that the American people have to share in the sacrifice of getting America to fiscal solvency again. They won’t promise to operate within their budget, but they will give us their word that, “this time I will try to limit the amount of money that I plan to spend above what I am allocated.” Why should I be willing to help a group of people that has no interest in doing the right thing, but instead promises to do a “slightly less wrong” thing?
And there is the crux of the problem with where we are today. Despite the fact that so many in the world of political dialogue seem to have no issue with allocating a greater burden to “other people”, (as long as it isn’t them that pays more), I cannot sign on to forcing anyone to pay more to help a federal government that simply isn’t willing to alter the systemic fiscal problems that put us here in the first place.
To be honest, I would not have an issue with raising taxes for a short term, say 5 years or ten years, if I really believed that it would make a significant difference in the future for all Americans. I personally am willing to sacrifice some in order to get things turned around. But that isn’t the reality of what we are being asked to do, is it? No, of course it isn’t.
What we are being asked to do is contribute more, or to sanction others to contribute more, to an entity that will, no matter how much the American people sacrifice, continue to increase their spending and grow. What do you think will really happen if the government suddenly found that it brought in $3 Trillion a year in revenue from Income taxes instead of the current $2 Trillion? Do you believe that they would apply it towards paying off our debt? If you believe that you are naive, at best. They would simply find new things to spend money on, as they have always done. More pet projects to fund. More aid to give to countries that hate us. More new weapons to develop. More cabinet positions to fill. More entitlement programs intent on making Americans dependent on government. More bullshit.
Because the government doesn’t care about you. They care about the “worker” only so far as necessary to secure the voting endorsement of the union. They care about the immigrant only so far as to secure the immigrant vote in the next election. They care about unborn children only so far as to secure the vote of the Christian right. They care about the poor only so far as necessary to ensure that the ever-increasing ranks are kept satiated enough to prevent a revolution. The government only cares about the government.
That is what government does. And for those who self-righteously attempt to lecture me about how other people should be willing to sacrifice more for the betterment of the country, I tell you that everyone, from the top earner to the bottom earner has already sacrificed more than enough for this government. In return, we are the laughing stock of the Congressional watering holes. They sit around laughing as they decide how they can next manipulate us into supporting their next great expansion of power and spending.
The President of the United States wrote a book called The Audacity of Hope. That is quite a fitting name. Audacity is an apt word for a man who had the gall to stand before the American people and talk of a shared sacrifice to get to a better America. It is an apt title for a book from a man who despite a campaign of “Hope and Change,” has realistically offered Americans little more than hope, and hope alone.
Here’s a tip: When a politician speaks to you of shared sacrifice, what he or she means is the other people sacrifice. When he speaks of shared pain, he means that your pain will be living with less of your income, while his pain will be that he operates with one less aid to wipe his ass for him. There is no shared sacrifice. There is only your sacrifice. The government has no intention of sacrificing anything.
So I say to all of you who keep touting the idea that we need to raise taxes on this group or that group, save your breath. I am unwilling to sacrifice any more than the already substantial amounts of the fruits of my labor that I fork over to a government intent on spending like Pac Man Jones in a strip club (make it rain!!!!). You want anything more from me, prove that you are going to be responsible going forward. And that STARTS with passing a balanced budget amendment, but that is an article for next week…