Click here to listen to the broadcast of You Tell Me on Newstalk 600 KTBB, Friday, June 20, 2008.
I have some Democrat friends. I know, it doesn’t seem possible. But I do. They’re not extreme left wing-hate America-George Soros-Hollywood whack job Democrats. My Democrat friends are sane Democrats. They’re reasonable, thinking people. But sane as I give them credit for being, a Democrat is still a Democrat and this friend of mine and I wound up talking a little policy at his house a couple of weeks ago.
“Paul,” he says, “with the kind of deficits the government’s running and this ridiculous war that never ends, there’s no way we can’t raise taxes. It’s just gotta happen.”
“Well, it’s gonna happen,” I said. “The Bush tax cuts expire on their own in 2010 without anyone doing a thing.”
“Well, that’s not all bad,” says he. “It’s just something we’re just gonna have to get used to.”
Now as you might imagine, I don’t think so. If we can’t afford to pay for gasoline, how can we afford to pay more in taxes?
Let’s say you’re a middle class married couple, one of the 48 million such couples the Democrats so eloquently say they want to help. You’re about to pay $3,000 more in taxes per year than you’re paying now.
What about old people? The average elderly taxpayer is looking at $2,200 more in taxes. Feeling guilty that the Bush tax cuts only “helped the rich”? Tell that to the poor. When the Bush tax cuts expire in 2010, a single mother with two kids and a $30,000 income will pay $1,600 more in federal income tax. (Imagine that poor woman and $4.00 a gallon gasoline.)
But that’s me. A significant number of people, including my good Democrat friend, believe that our taxes never should have been cut in the first place and that it’s OK for them to go back up.
So I’m saying to all of you folks, ‘What are you waiting for?’
Paul, what do you mean, what are we waiting for?
I mean, if you think that one of the problems facing the United States is the fact that our tax rates are too low, you can do your part right now. Today. Without an act of Congress or the operation of any law.
But, Paul, we don’t set the tax rates.
It doesn’t matter. You can create your very own do-it-yourself tax increase. All you have to do is write a check to the U.S. Treasury and send it to this address:
Gifts to the United States
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Credit Accounting Branch
3700 East-West Highway, Room 6D17
Hyattsville, MD 20782
According to the U.S. Treasury website, this account ‘was established in 1843 to accept gifts, such as bequests, from individuals wishing to express their patriotism to the United States. Money deposited into this account is for general use by the federal government and can be available for budget needs.’
So, if you truly believe that we should be paying more in taxes, why wait? Set up an automatic payment in your on-line bank account to send money to the Treasury every payday. The amount can be the difference between what you pay in federal withholding now and what you’ll be paying when the rates go back up in 2010. (Or to save time, just send them $3,000 right now.)
If you sell some stock and make a $1,000 profit, you’ll pay $150 in capital gains tax. So write a check to the Treasury for another $130 to make up the difference between the capital gains rate today and what it will be when the rates go back up. After all, the reduction in the capital gains tax was only to benefit the rich. So if you have a capital gains tax liability, you must, by definition, be rich. Pay up!
If you do this, you’ll be acting on your conviction that taxes are too low and we’ll all respect you as a person of principle.
But you’re not about to do it, are you? Of course you’re not. And that’s my point.
Unless you’re willing to voluntarily send your own money to the government based on what you earn, you have no standing to insist that the same amount of money be taken from me and your fellow citizens by force of law.
The Bush tax cuts were a singular triumph of domestic policy. The fact that the rates go back up in 2010 is going to hurt an economy that’s already in a lot of pain.
So act on your convictions. Either start sending money to the Treasury now or start making your voice heard on making the tax cuts permanent.
There’s not much time.