12 September 2009

Still Too Short

Today, 9/12, marchers filled DC to protest Big Government. From what I can tell they are mostly protesting the deficit, which by the few things I read is and was mostly created by the last administration. Yes the stimulus was large, and the bailouts, but in the end , most of the red ink was created between 2001 and 2008 and the recession tipped the ink pot over. You can read all about it here (and comments attached).

Now, let's leave aside the hypocrisy of maligning this administration for not fixing in six months what the last one did in six years. That's like yelling at Hercules for taking too long cleaning the Augean Stables.

But it could be fixed if we - Congress actually - did something even my Republican Representative and I agree would do the job. It won't happen, though.

Raise taxes. Yep that's it. But this is unthinkable. We have become a knee jerk anti-tax nation that will not shoulder its own burden because taxes are bad. I admit they feel bad, but we now consider them to be bad, evil, wrong. and anti-American.

The last administration came to power on this doctrine, the several republican congressional majorities did the same, and then they passed prescription drug coverage and fought two wars while also lowering taxes. And that is what took us from a surplus to a deficit. The recession, something all that untaxed wealth was supposed to prevent, turned it from a deficit to a near collapse.

But the folks in DC this weekend are saying enough is enough. Enough of what? Deficits? or Taxes? And if we cut, what do we cut? Medicare which is the second largest hunk of money after defense?

I believe in put up or shut up, so here's what I am willing to do.

1. Raise the eligibility for Social Security and Medicare until age 70. Sixty five was a high age in 1935. We live longer, we should work longer. Sorry if you're closing in, but would you rather have it go belly up after you retired?
2. Raise the cap on Social Security taxes. Only the first $100k or so of income is taxable for Social Security and Medicare I think. Raise it now, raise it high. I can take it if I have to.
3. Raise income taxes, especially on uber-incomes. Top rates now are 35% of taxable income above $372,000. (filing single) That income, btw, comprises less than 5% of taxpayers, single or otherwise. In 2002 the rate was 38.6% of those above $300,000, which would be more tax for sure. But in the roaring 1990s, the rates were even higher.

Yep, we have to pay in more. We can mitigate that by spending less, but unless we mean to close down a couple of wars and cashier grandma with a death panel real soon, no savings on welfare or schools or other frivolities that involve children (who do not vote after all and so have no voice) will make enough difference.

We charged this whole decade on our national Mastercard and the bill is coming due. Yelling at the president for not paying down the deficit fast enough when someone else signed the charge slip is beyond galling.

No comments: