Thursday, April 18, 2019

We Can't Blame the Government Entirely for Overtaxing Us - We Do It To Ourselves

With the 2020 elections coming up, there will be a great number of interesting topics up for debate. If you've been keeping up with the media of late, you'll have an inkling of what those will be. President Trump's wall initiative will be up for discussion. Hopefully those tax cuts he made to help improve the incomes of working families will get some air time, but I doubt that. Certainly our nation's immigration process will be debated, and the census may come up for discussion early in the political process. Finally, there will be trade tariffs on the table and we'll all enter the voting booths knowing more about them than we might like.

Taxes, however, have been a hot-button issue in every election that I can remember since I was told it was not only my right but my obligation to cast a vote in each election. I've tried to do that with some thoughtfulness on what my vote, if it's on the victor's side, will mean for the county, the state, and the nation, and what the other guy's vote may inhibit if they're successful. Some taxes I have voted in favor of, and others I opposed.

President Trump is trying to lower taxes, but there are a great many people out there that go on complaining about them. (Waving my hand!) I hope he succeeds at lowering them even more. I know there are a lot of families struggling, and they aren't just in the middle income brackets. Most of them have never seen the middle income bracket, and perhaps never will if taxes continue to increase. I believe that lower taxes will help American businesses grow and innovate, but I cannot help but wonder what the presidential-wannabes are going to have to say on this issue. Will there be a lot of empty promises again this political season? Will their words sound good but have little substance? The answer is "Yes. Probably." on both counts.

The nation seems splintered on the issue of taxes. Those who would see us live a socialistic lifestyle are happy with the idea of high taxes and they like the idea of getting things for free and giving away things they, themselves, have not labored to obtain. And there are others who see our nation's industries and entrepreneurs as the saviors of a flailing economy. Certainly the latter group believe fewer taxes could help businesses compete, innovate, and grow.

Tonight, I recalled the speech given by former-President George H.W. Bush in 1988, "Read my lips. No new taxes!" There was that sliver of hope that he would set the national economic train down a new track, a straight and narrow-gauge rail toward recovery. He seemed to be looking in the right direction. Unfortunately, the economic train was diverted. Someone flipped the wrong switch and it went forward down a wider track of economic self-destruction. Bubbles have been bursting with regularity since a tax hike went into effect and the savings and loans were bailed out. More bailouts would inevitably follow. I think many people would have been happy if the president had been successful in at least stalling the tax train on the rails for a while, if even for only a moment so American tax payers could catch their breath.

Unfortunately, We The People can't blame the "government," entirely, for our high taxes. Some of We The People voted the pro-tax-tax-tax-and-more-tax folks into office. We the people, in general, allow many of them to remain in office term after term, instead of voting them out. And, when tax initiatives have come on the ballot, many We The People have believed the political rhetoric surrounding them too completely and voted more taxes down upon us all.

In 2020, I hope those who believe that the tax train needs to be diverted back onto a better economic rail line, one with lower taxes and a more innovative and prosperous future, will make it to the polls. I hope when they see a new tax initiative come up for vote in their local elections they will take pity on themselves, if not their neighbors, and vote against it. I hope they will voice their views to their state and national representatives, loudly and clearly, and tell them that throwing more taxes at the problems our country is facing will not solve them. There has to be a better solution out there, somewhere along the tracks.

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