The Lines Are Drawn

I just heard Presidential Spokesman Robert Gibbs on the radio, discussing the economy, and one sentence out of the word of Obama’s chosen mouthpiece illustrated, in stark contrast, just how fundamentally different their philosophy is from my own.

“We can’t afford the Bush tax cuts.”

First up, the presumption implicit in that statement. “We can’t afford to let Americans keep their own money.”

Tax cuts are not “giving people money.” It’s letting them keep what they have earned.

The federal government has no money of its own. Almost without exception, whatever money the federal government possesses, it has taken from individuals and groups.

And yes, “taken.” Taxes are NOT voluntary. One cannot simply say “no, thanks, I’ll pass this year” when your taxes are due. Refuse to pay your taxes and they’ll take it anyway. Refuse enough, they’ll arrest you. Refuse to cooperate with that, they can shoot you.

Secondly, the rhetoric of the message betrays the fundamental difference in perception we have. “Letting the Bush tax cuts expire.”

Technically, legally, Gibbs is correct. The tax cuts were passed with a “sunset provision.” They were lowered with the explicit understanding that, should Congress take no action, they would lapse on January 1, 2011 and the rates return to their previous levels.

But practically speaking, from the perspective of those whose money is being taken, it’s a tax hike. Their taxes are going up, after a decade of being lower. That is, to those who are affected, a tax hike — de facto if not de jure.

Further, it reflects the liberal mentality on taxes — tax hikes are always permanent, tax cuts always aberrations. Whenever a tax rate is raised, that becomes the “new normal” level of taxation. Cuts, however, are always temporary, whether or not that is written into the law.

Listen to the rhetoric of the left, and it becomes clear. The most progressive of the left (and by “progressive,” I mean most socialist and confiscatory) occasionally, when they’re careless, long for the days when the top graduated tax rate was 90%, and talk wistfully of “restoring” it. You’ll never hear them talk about “restoring” tax rates that were lower than present, or even “restoring” the days when we simply didn’t have an income tax.

Thank you, Mr. Gibbs. With that one simple phrase, you managed to sum up just where I differ from you and the regime you speak for.

And reminded us that we can’t afford your philosophy.

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