Progressive Liberal Taxation: A License to Steal, Plunder, and Destroy

Monday BriefVol. 09 No. 15 13 April 2009

THE FOUNDATION "An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy; because there is a limit beyond which no institution and no property can bear taxation." --John Marshall

INSIGHT "The collection of taxes which are not absolutely required, which do not beyond reasonable doubt contribute to the public welfare, is only a species of legalized larceny. The wise and correct course to follow in taxation is not to destroy those who have already secured success, but to create conditions under which everyone will have a better chance to be successful." --President Calvin Coolidge (1873-1933)

THE GIPPER "[April 15] is the last day for filing income tax returns -- a day that reminds us that taxpayers pay too much of their earnings to the Federal Government. ... While April 15 serves as a reminder, the people of the United States truly do not need to be reminded. They are victims of inflation, which pushes them into higher tax brackets. They are robbed daily of a better standard of living. They are discouraged from work and investment. ... The choice before us is clear. I strongly feel that the great majority of Americans believe that nothing would better encourage economic growth than leaving more money in the hands of the people who earn it. It's time to stop stripping bare the productive citizens of America and funneling their hard-earned income into the Federal bureaucracy." --Ronald Reagan

GOVERNMENT "What's called the public debt stands at $11 trillion and growing. That pales in comparison to the federal government's unfunded liability -- obligations that are not covered by an asset of equal or greater value. Mike Whalen, former policy chairman of the Dallas-based National Center for Policy Analysis, commenting on last year's Social Security Trustees annual report on the state of the Social Security and Medicare programs, said, 'The report on the state of entitlement programs is rather grim -- the combined unfunded liabilities of both programs are $101 trillion.' What that means is that in order for government to make good on its promises, Congress would have to put aside tens of trillions of dollars in the bank today. Keep in mind that our GDP is only $14 trillion. In the absence of massive tax increases or cuts in benefits, in order to meet its promises Congress must cease spending on one in four programs by 2020, such as education and highway construction, and one in two by 2030, and by 2050 or so all federal revenue will be spent supporting Social Security, Medicare and prescription drug benefits. Such a scenario is unsustainable. There will be economic and political chaos. Today's politicians are not likely to take measures to avoid the coming chaos because senior citizens, the major beneficiaries of Social Security and Medicare, vote in large numbers and will exact a high political price. Plus, neither today's senior citizens nor today's politicians will be alive in 2050. I'd be more optimistic if my fellow Americans were simply suffering from congressional deception as opposed to their not caring about the economic calamity that awaits tomorrow's Americans." --George Mason University economics professor Walter E. Williams

FOR THE RECORD "Didn't the President, with a straight face, promise to reduce the deficit by half in five years? The Congressional Budget Office forecasts government spending over the next 10 years will quadruple the annual deficit of Bush's presidency. The CBO expects the nation's debt to double in five years and triple in 10. But according to The Heritage Foundation, Obama's claim of '$2 trillion in savings over the next decade' is 'simply not true. His budget increases spending by $1 trillion over the next decade, which he attempts to offset by reclassifying as "savings" $1.4 trillion in tax increases and $1.5 trillion in reduced spending in Iraq.' First he describes tax increases as 'savings.' Then he falsely projects spending on the war in Iraq to remain high. By manipulating 'future spending,' Obama can then 'reduce it' and pronounce it 'savings.'" --columnist Larry Elder

FAITH AND FAMILY "Economic conservatives have aggressively opposed President Obama's agenda to radically expand government, financed by deficits that run into the trillions. If social conservatives want to protect America's families and social values, they must join with fiscal conservatives to oppose President Obama and reverse America's culture of debt. America was built on individual opportunity. This is the core of the economic conservative agenda. The family unit is the core building block of American society. This is the heart of the social conservative agenda. There is a key overlap here that many conservatives -- and even their leaders -- overlook. Living within your means and managing your finances to avoid long-term debt is part of building strong families, providing for your children and teaching them to provide for themselves. ... Both economic and social conservatives need to grasp the common ground here. Strong families are essential to strong economies, and financial management is a key family value." --columnist Ken Blackwell

CULTURE "[S]omething very ugly has surfaced in contemporary American liberalism, as evidenced by the irrational and sometimes infantile abuse directed toward anyone who strays from a strict party line. Liberalism, like second-wave feminism, seems to have become a new religion for those who profess contempt for religion. It has been reduced to an elitist set of rhetorical formulas, which posit the working class as passive, mindless victims in desperate need of salvation by the state. Individual rights and free expression, which used to be liberal values, are being gradually subsumed to worship of government power. The problems on the American left were already manifest by the late 1960s, as college-educated liberals began to lose contact with the working class for whom they claimed to speak. ... For the past 25 years, liberalism has gradually sunk into a soft, soggy, white upper-middle-class style that I often find preposterous and repellent. ... It's a comfortable, urban, messianic liberalism befogged by psychiatric pharmaceuticals. Conservatives these days are more geared to facts than emotions, and as individuals they seem to have a more ethical, perhaps sports-based sense of fair play." --columnist Camille Paglia