Monday, February 1, 2010

All tax cuts are not created equal

The theme for the week in Washington D.C. is jobs, jobs, jobs. That's a good thing right? Well, the solutions may just be worse than the problem. A variety of tax cuts and new spending programs are being discussed and proposed. Most of them are of the targeted variety. There is nothing more un-American than a targeted tax cut.

Under some of the ideas being kicked around, if you hire new workers, you get a tax break. If you just keep the ones you have, you don't. If you're a company that wants to make monorails, you'll get government money. If you make something else, you don't. If you buy a new house, you get a tax cut. If you're just trying to keep the one you have, you don't. You get the idea.

The President just submitted a $3.8 trillion budget. That means our federal government's expenditures are now approaching 30% of the total goods and services produced in this country. What they don't own, they want to control. One way to exercise control over things you don't own is through the tax code. You take from those who aren't behaving according to the master plan, and give to those who are.

According to the Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal's Index of Economic Freedom, the United States has fallen to 8th place in the world, behind Hong Kong and even Canada. We now rank as "mostly free".

Perhaps it's the sheer size of government that leads inevitably to more and more government control. Money is power and nobody has more of it to throw around than the U.S. government. The progressive movement has a vision, whereby we all happily work at our appointed duties and contribute to the greater good of society as determined by those smarter and wiser than a mere citizen. The ultimate goal is similar to the society depicted in Star Trek and other sci-fi favorites, where the ugliness of capitalism, free markets and even currency have been dispensed with in favor of dedication to duty. The only difference between a hard core communist and a progressive is how we get from point a to point b. Communists prefer armed conflict followed by a 'transition period', where progressives believe legislation, policy and executive order will gradually move society where they want it to be.

Maybe we'll embrace individual freedom before it all comes to a head, maybe we wont. Whether we move toward a more collectivist society via warfare or policy initiatives, the movement will not end well. It never does.

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