Republicans like to pride themselves in supporting lower taxes. That is indeed a great ideal. The problem is that today such a view is plain false. I'm a middle class citizen, and I can speak with authority that the tax breaks have meant very little in terms of helping me achieve fiscal success. In fact, adjusted for my age, I am poorer today than when Clinton was in the White House. Don’t believe me? Let's take an inventory:
- It is true that lower federal taxes put a bit more money in my pocket, but at what cost? When the government takes in less tax money, it can do one of two things to adjust: cut programs or borrow more. The US government has done both and the result has been fewer services and more debt. Is that worth the few dollars I get to pocket every year? Not. When services are cut, I have to pay (out of pocket) for those no longer available (roads, schools, police, etc.) And those Treasury holders will need to get paid at some point too. The bond Ponzi scheme can only go so far, and guess who'll be making the payments.
- Have you looked at your energy bills lately? Bet you're paying a lot more than you used to. More for electricity, for gasoline, for heating oil or gas. That's money leaving your pocket while the oil companies get richer.
- Sure, your home might be worth more, but who can be happy with the higher property taxes. And to add more pain, those lofty prices encouraged so many to tap their home equity. It was fun while it lasted, but now that home prices are falling and interest rates are rising, little chance those property taxes will get rolled back, and it's payback time for those HELOC and interest-only deals.
- Every year people pay more for medical insurance and get shrinking benefits. And that's for the lucky ones who actually have medical insurance. Some 50 million Americans don’t even have medical insurance and that number keeps growing.
- If you haven't heard of AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax), you will soon. It's basically the government's way of making sure they get a certain amount of tax money from each person, no matter what. AMT is snaring more people every year and it's one of the greatest government money scams going. Sure, we give you tax breaks, but oops, sorry, you don’t qualify.
The above list is far from comprehensive, but by itself is enough for an average person to realize that the measly tax breaks are the proverbial smoke and mirror and have done nothing for the middle class except to squeeze them more year over year. The tax relief agenda is nothing more than a platform for political posturing and maneuvering to swindle the citizens for their votes.
So let me implore the government to raise my taxes, but give me services and better medical coverage, lower my property taxes and energy costs, and abolish AMT. But that means helping the middle class. Never mind then.