creators.com opinion web
Liberal Opinion Conservative Opinion
Froma Harrop
Froma Harrop
2 Sep 2014
The 'Spiral of Silence'

With folks yapping all day on social media — Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and the rest — how … Read More.

28 Aug 2014
The Smallness of Being in Economy Class

Americans are in the dumps about their future. What does that have to do with legroom in economy class? Everything. … Read More.

26 Aug 2014
What About That VA Hospital Scandal?

The unofficial end of summer, Labor Day, may serve as a bookend to a scandal that exploded around the … Read More.

Only Suckers Pay Bills

Comment

Wouldn't it be fun to do a money-dance around town, throwing borrowed hundred dollar bills to passersby, while arranging to have others pay for the adventure?

That in essence has been the Republicans' two-step: Spend money you don't have, and cut taxes so you have even less — then let future generations foot the bills. The beauty part is that the people who will eventually pay are currently more focused on their Tickle Me Ernie dolls than their future obligations as taxpayers.

There is something fundamentally immoral about this arrangement, which is one reason Democrats won back Congress in November 2006. A few genuinely conservative Republicans understand the fiscal depravity of spending and not taxing. But in the view of the party leaders, only suckers pay their bills.

And they were out tapping their toes last week. The president and congressional Republicans blocked Democratic efforts to offset the costs of fixing the alternative minimum tax with new revenues. When Democrats took the majority in Congress, they vowed to honor the PAYGO rules. That means any spending or tax cuts must be matched by spending curbs or boosts in revenues.

"It is critical," the Concord Coalition, a bipartisan group of deficit hawks, wrote last month, "that Congress resist the pressure to weaken PAYGO by exempting a politically popular item such as AMT relief."

Of course, the AMT had to be fixed. Without the one-year patch, an additional 19 million middle-class Americans would have been charged a tax meant for rich people.

But Republicans forced a detour around the PAYGO rules. As a result, another $50 billion will be strapped onto the national debt.

"The effort to 'pay for' the AMT is highly offensive to members of my side of the aisle," explained Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

And the White House spokeswoman praised Congress for passing the legislation "without raising taxes."

We beg to differ with that analysis.

Someone's taxes will pay back that $50 billion — plus interest — and we know whose. Furthermore, the AMT fix was to be offset by closing a loophole that lets hedge fund managers pay taxes at lower rates than their chauffeurs. Sounds more like a strike for tax justice than an unfair burden on billionaires.

The Bush administration's religious prohibition against paying its bills has infected the Republican presidential race. Unlike Washington politicians, state officials don't have the luxury of spending more than they have. As governors, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee both raised revenues to cover shortfalls in their state budgets. For the sin of fiscal responsibility, the Republican free-lunchers taunt them.

The Cato Institute has whacked Romney for balancing the Massachusetts budget, in part by raising a bunch of fees. Romney has responded that the fees generated $240 million in new revenues, which were a mere drop in an oceanic $3 billion budget gap that he closed largely by other means.

The Club for Growth is bashing Huckabee over his tax policy in Arkansas. As governor, Huckabee raised more taxes than he cut. At the same time, he turned the state's $200 million budget shortfall into an $844 million surplus and repaired some roads that were in terrible shape. The biggest tax increases was forced by an Arkansas Supreme Court ruling on the state funding of school districts.

You'd think a record of balancing budgets under very difficult circumstances would be a point of pride for a candidate. But that assumes you care about balanced budgets, a value not deeply shared by most Bush Republicans. It's spend now, and let the kids pay later. After all, the toddlers playing with their Sing & Go Choo-Choos will never know what hit them.

To find out more about Froma Harrop, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2007 THE PROVIDENCE JOURNAL CO.

DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.



Comments

0 Comments | Post Comment
Already have an account? Log in.
New Account  
Your Name:
Your E-mail:
Your Password:
Confirm Your Password:

Please allow a few minutes for your comment to be posted.

Enter the numbers to the right:  
Creators.com comments policy
More
Froma Harrop
Sep. `14
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
31 1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 1 2 3 4
About the author About the author
Write the author Write the author
Printer friendly format Printer friendly format
Email to friend Email to friend
View by Month
Walter Williams
Walter E. WilliamsUpdated 3 Sep 2014
Thomas Sowell
Thomas SowellUpdated 2 Sep 2014
Froma Harrop
Froma HarropUpdated 2 Sep 2014

14 Jun 2007 Bush Clout on Immigration 'All Used Up'

21 Jun 2011 High-Tech, High-Touch: Back to the Future

9 Aug 2012 Conservatives Outsource Moralizing to Liberals