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An Argument We Can't Afford To Lose

For a long time, Massachusetts has been known as "the bluest state" -- it's utterly and completely dominated by the Democrats. They hold the entire US House delegation, one of the two US Senate seats (the Republican-held seat had been occupied by Ted Kennedy for almost 50 years), every statewide elective office, and over 85% of each of the state Houses.

Naturally, it's a disaster.

But it's proving to be an exceptionally valuable disaster -- it's showing us just how the Obama regime policies play out when implemented. Their health care coverage plan -- "RomneyCare," a form of ObamaCare -- is bankrupting the state and actually proving to provide worse care and coverage for the people. And now we have another microcosm of a national debate going on there.

Last year, Massachusetts chose to raise its sales tax from 5% to 6.25% -- a full 25% increase. Further, they extended it to cover alcohol sales, which were already taxed separately -- which means that consumers were now paying taxes on taxes. (The sales tax was based on the final price of the booze, which included separate taxes. Nice little racket there.)

Well, the people of Massachusetts are revolting. (Yes, I meant that.) They've put a question on the ballot that would cut the tax back.

And how pissed are the people of Massachusetts? Pissed enough that they aren't looking to just undo the tax hike -- they want to cut it back to 3%.

The argument from the big government crowd is that the state simply can't afford the tax cuts, especially during a time of economic crisis.

Gee, sound familiar?

Let's look at the rationale behind that. It reflects a mentality that should be utterly abhorrent to most people.

The only way the government "can't afford" a tax cut is if the government believes a tax cut reflects money flowing from the government to the taxpayer. And that is only possible if you believe that whatever the taxpayer earns is the property of the government, which deigns what percentage to pass back to the earner.

What the Globe is saying here (and they speak for many liberals on this) is that the government can't afford to let you keep more of what you earn, and has to take more and more from you.

It's a fundamental, philosophical point: are tax cuts a gift from the government, or the taxpayer keeping a larger percentage of what they earn?

In England, they're considering a move to make that contrast much starker: instead of employers paying withheld taxes to the government, they should just pay the entire salary straight to the government, which will then do a direct deposit to the employees -- after they take their cut, of course. (Hat tip to He Who Needs No Linkage, who himself noted that he needs to shut up more.)

So, here we have Massachusetts looking at cutting the sales tax, while the big government statists blather on how they "can't afford" to stop taking so much money from the people. And the vote (which possibly won't mean anything -- the state government has a history of ignoring the results of public referenda they don't like, and the people be damned) will be coming down less than two months before the Bush tax cuts expire.

Whenever I hear the argument that "we can't afford tax cuts," I am very nearly inspired to violence. The notion that we, as a society, "can't afford" to let people keep their own money is as close to obscene as I have ever heard.


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Comments (12)

If they do that then they w... (Below threshold)
Eric:

If they do that then they won't be able to afford free parking anymore.

One way to cut government s... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

One way to cut government spending, and thus, taxes dramatically is to outsource government jobs. Beyond the usual infrastructure maintenance jobs there are lots of mid-level bureaucratic positions that someone in India or China could do just as well for a third of the price. At least that's the rationale that's been used for the past decade to send good paying engineering, IT and programming jobs overseas. Maybe when government jobs are threatened with outsourcing the government will finally quit paving the way for jobs to leave our shores.

I think that all wages in M... (Below threshold)
JAT0:

I think that all wages in MA should be paid directly to the state. Then let the state issue vouchers to everyone for all their goods and services. (Just keep that idea in MA please).

Or

You can go to the polls and elect someone like our NJ governor Christie.

I think America is finally waking up to what has been going on for a very long time. Now go vote!

Once the Unions spend their... (Below threshold)
MunDane68:

Once the Unions spend their billions on scary ads about how the tax cut will be taking services away from seniors and little children the ingrained habits of years of government teat sucking will come back to the fore and everyone will vote any sort of fiscal responsibility or structural change down.

Being from Ma, I doubt this... (Below threshold)
Hank:

Being from Ma, I doubt this will pass but I sure hope it does. If it does somehow pass, they'll either ignore it or do their best to punish the taxpayers by cutting, oh let me guess, police, firefighters, anyone who cleans anything, etc.

Fine by me. Maybe when all public services have been cut and we still have a 28 Billion dollar budget, people will catch on that we pay a lot of people a lot of money and they don't provide anything to the citizens of the state.

Tax cuts.<p... (Below threshold)
irongrampa:

Tax cuts.

It's helpful to understand that a "tax cut" simply means the gov't is extorting LESS of your money than usual.

I posit that if services were commensurate with taxes paid, NOBODY would say squat.

A tax cut? How the hell ar... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

A tax cut? How the hell are the "brought" supposed to stay "brought" if the government runs out of your money?

I think this is why you hav... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

I think this is why you have two extreme sides in the democratic party. One is the rich and Hollywood elite that have huge amounts of money that they do not feel the tax hit too much, or they have trusts and such set up to mitigate the tax hit, and then you have the takers. Those on the dole. They don't put in but they want to take out. The backbone of the state and this country are the working middle class that have to take up the burden of the have nots and don't want to work. ww

It's not that hard to under... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

It's not that hard to understand, Mr Tea. The government can't afford tax cuts IF THE PEOPLE WANT TO CONTINUE TO RECEIVE THE SAME LEVEL OF SERVICES. It's the second part of the sentence, left unspoken, that makes the firest part make sense.

And it's left unspoken because everyone knows that's what is meant - everyone, that is, but bloggers who want to throw a hissy fit.

Taxes are very low in Guatemala, but the police are corrupt and it's unsafe to drink the water. They're very low in Zambia, but when was the last time you heard of the exploits of the Zambian Air Force? It takes money to buy planes, you know. Taxes are nonexistent in Somalia; do you want to live there?

Closer to the point, which state has better, say, schools, or roads? Massachussetts, or Mississippi? Taxes might be high in Mass, but would you rather live in Boston, or East Armpit, Arkansas?

I urge all of you to get be... (Below threshold)
boqueronman:

I urge all of you to get behind this effort. This is a chance to kick the Henryites in the ass. But only if those who understand the stakes stand up and take action. The organization that is spearheading this effort is called Alliance to Roll Back Taxes. The link is here http://www.rollbacktaxes.com/. Visit the site; read up what they are doing; and contribute. I recently joined the effort even though I don't live in Massachusetts. Actually, I live in one of those poor, benighted, Guatemala-like countries full of icky brown people so despised by the Henryites. Actually, though, he's right. Taxes are lower, business opportunities are many, government is too weak to harass the productive, and unlike the U.S. the economy is growing! Come on down!

I dont want THE SAME LEVEL ... (Below threshold)
LiberalNitemare:

I dont want THE SAME LEVEL OF SERVICES. I want my congressman's nephew and my mayors mistress to have to find a real jobs. I want the money spent at the local turtle crossing to be spent on salaries for more policemen.

Also, I don't think anyone that actually lives in Mass would dare to use the schools OR the roads as examples of money well spent.

Do you really think that th... (Below threshold)
castorp:

Do you really think that the relationship between higher taxes and livability is all that strong? I think there are plenty of places in the country, and in the world, that have lower tax rates than Boston, yet are at least as livable. Color me skeptical, Bruce.




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