Once again, the politicians in Washington, DC, just don’t get it. Right now, the Senate and the House are negotiating to reconcile the respective tax bills they have passed — with a self-imposed deadline of finishing by December 22.
Reasonable people are finding things to like and dislike about these tax reform proposals. The devil is in the details, and several thousand lobbyists are busily engaged in influencing those details… and undoubtedly mucking them up beyond comprehension.
To me, pretty much any proposal that reduces the amount of money the government sucks out of the private economy is better than the status quo. Personally, I have long preferred a shift to a consumption tax rather than continuing to tax productivity and profit. But I have also long recognized that such a dramatic change would require more courage than Congress is capable of summoning.
The tax reform debate leaves out a key element: cutting spending
Regardless, the debate over the current proposals is a great example of what I believe to be Congress’ most fundamental problem: An absolute refusal to actually do anything about federal spending.
The prevailing angst over the tax bills stems from the projections from various groups that cutting taxes will increase the federal deficit by a trillion dollars or more over the next 10 years. They are playing with all kinds of gimmicks and “offsets” to try to reduce that imbalance.
I am as concerned as anyone — and probably more concerned than most — about the debt and chronic deficits. $20 trillion in debt is unsustainable, and adding to it is unacceptable. Period.
HOWEVER, the cause of our debt is not that Americans are under-taxed. It is the simple fact that the politicians of both parties continue to spend and create money we don’t have. Yet, nowhere in the conversation about the tax bills or the threat that they might add to the debt is a serious proposal to do the obvious: Cut spending.
Based on the official analysis by the Joint Committee on Taxation, the greatest one-year increase in the deficit would be $200 billion in 2020. In most other years, it would be significantly less. Come on, folks.
They can’t find $200 billion in savings out of a $4 TRILLION budget? That’s 5% — and much smaller spending reductions would be required in most other years.
The politicians in Washington are so out-of-touch with common sense that they can’t see the obvious even when it’s staring them in the face. Forget the gimmicks. Stop trying to find cute loopholes or fake “offsets” — and just cut the spending.
It’s not complicated. Any rational small business owner or household budget manager could find the necessary savings and cuts to reduce federal spending by 5% without breaking a sweat. Yet, the politicians can’t do it.
Maybe we need different politicians.