Tags: Democrats | the | Tax | Cut

Democrats on the Tax Cut

Tuesday, 04 September 2001 12:00 AM

Every single day that passes you hear wails and screams from our big-spending Democratic friends – wails and screams over the Bush tax cut and our "shrinking surplus."

OK, time for a little reality check here. John Barry is the director of research and the chief economist for the Tax Foundation. You might be interested in what he found when he looked into some budget figures.

Let's talk about non-defense discretionary spending. This is spending that Congress has to appropriate and approve every single year. During the federal budgets of Clinton's first term this spending category rose by 2.8 percent a year. During the budgets of Clinton's second term this spending rose by 6 percent a year. Remember, folks. This was that era when Clinton was vetoing budgets and shutting down government operations just to get more spending on his various domestic vote-buying programs.

OK, so we have a difference of 3.2 percent in discretionary spending from Clinton's first term to the second. How much money are we talking about? Well, it totals $117 billion.

So – hear this. If Clinton and the Democrats had managed to hold down their spending splurge, the surplus at the beginning of this year would have been $117 billion more than it is. That would have been enough to cover the first two years of the Republican tax cut.

The problem isn't cutting taxes. The problem is raising spending. For instance:

I was listening to the requisite Labor Day stories on Atlanta's WSB-AM (our flagship station) yesterday morning. One of the reporters was telling of some workers who have lost their jobs in the latest economic slowdown and the dot com meltdown. Sad stories all – but generally self-inflicted distress.

Well, here's a little clue for you. The more job skills you have, the more likely it is you are going to be gainfully employed. Job skills are a matter of choice. You either chose to make the sacrifices necessary to make yourself employable, or you chose to go another direction – teenage pregnancy, for example.

At the end of the story our intrepid news ferret told us about John Smith (not his real name). We were told, " We should all be as fortunate as John Smith, who invested in real estate and doesn't have to work at all."

So – here we go again. "Fortunate" is defined as "deriving good from an unexpected source." John takes his money and instead of spending it on cruises, vacations or a fancy new car, John make a sacrifice. He sacrifices creature comforts and instant gratification for the long-term gains of investing in real estate. John has learned the magic of leverage. He knows how to use a little bit of his capital (that's money, for those of you who don't understand capitalism) and a lot of someone else's capital to invest in an appreciating asset – real estate.

John works, researches, saves, invests, works some more, researches some more, saves some more, invests some more and finally he finds himself in a position where he doesn't have to hold a day job any more! Now he can live off his real estate investments! And what do we call John? We call him LUCKY! He's FORTUNATE! He derived "good from an unexpected source"! Just out of the blue he suddenly found himself owning a bunch of real estate and living off the proceeds! Democratic class warlord Richard Gephardt would tell us he "won life's lottery"!

Now, I'm not laying all this on our news ferret. He's just following the vernacular of the day – a vernacular initiated and promoted by those who would have us believe that if you are in the lower income levels you're a "working American," and if you are rich you are "fortunate."

One of the reasons the U.S. pulled representation from that absurd U.N. racism conference in South Africa was the continued attention paid to the issue of reparations. Jesse Jackson is down there pressing all the right buttons, as is Georgia Democrat Cynthia ("The cutest little Communist in Congress") McKinney.

The idea of reparations for slavery is all but dead in the United States. The vast majority of Americans are steadfastly opposed to the idea of the government using force to seize money from people who have never had a role in slavery and handing that money over to people who have never been enslaved. Even the NAACP's Internet poll shows an opposition to slavery reparations.

Now, please notice that I have been careful to tie the idea of reparations here to slavery. There's a reason. That reason is a new twist.

Here's the thinking. Reparations for slavery is truly a losing idea. Many blacks in America aren't descended from slaves. Should they get any money? Many whites in America were begat by ancestors who came here well after slavery ended. Should they have their property seized? Then there's the reality that politicians who depend on re-election simply aren't going to go along with the idea. So, let's stick with the idea of reparations, but come up with another reason.

Here's your new reason: segregation. Jim Crow laws. The new twist now being promoted by Eric Rauchway and Clarence Walker, a couple of University of California history teachers, is that reparations should be paid, not for slavery, but for "the wounds left by segregation on the souls of black folk …"

Rauchway and Walker have written a commentary that is appearing in newspapers across the country. Here's a paragraph from that commentary:

It's nonsense, of course. That doesn't matter, though. Look for the idea of reparations to gain steam – but based on segregation, not slavery. At least that way you can find some "victims" who are still drawing breath.

Secretary of State Colin Powell has called our delegation home from the phony United Nations racism conference in South Africa. As predicted, the conference turned out to be a forum for attacks on Israel and the United States. When language couldn't be removed from forum documents equating Zionism with racism, the plug was pulled.

True to form, Jesse "The Sloganmaster" says that the USA has done wrong. He says that the U.S. pulled out to avoid facing issues like reparations for slavery.

Truth is … we shouldn't have gone in the first place.

On yesterday's show we received a call from a caller in Seminole County, Florida. Seems they are having a little referendum down there in which the voters are being asked to extend a "temporary" 1 percent local option sales tax. He wanted my opinion.

First. There is no such thing as a "temporary" tax. No matter how the politicians sell a sales tax increase to you, there is no way they will willingly turn loose of those extra revenues when the expiration date for that sales tax increase arrives. I have NEVER heard of a situation where a "temporary" local sales tax expired without the politicians coming to the people with some sort of a proposal to extend it. Remember – political power flows from tax revenue. The more money a politician has to spend, the more powerful that money he is.

Second. Americans are currently being taxed at the highest level in the history of our country. Income taxes, property taxes, taxes, payroll taxes, excise taxes, sales taxes. I think it can be easily shown that 50 percent of every dollar a person earns eventually ends up in the spending account of some government somewhere. In this era of confiscatory taxation, why would anyone vote to voluntarily increase their taxes even more?

And finally – if you are predisposed to vote to continue a local option sales tax, that should mean that you are completely satisfied that the local government that will be using those tax revenues is operating at peak efficiency and has not expanded its spending programs beyond the legitimate functions of government. You should be satisfied that every person employed by that government is performing a necessary service and is actually working efficiently. You should also be satisfied that the government is purchasing goods and services from the lowest qualified bidders and not spending extra money to chase "diversity" in the marketplace. Finally … is your local government funding arts programs? Is it building senior citizen centers? Well, as long as money is being wasted on these vote-buying projects – no more sales tax.

There. That ought to really piss off some big-spending politicians.

I am told that John McEnroe was reminiscing about an interview with tennis great Andre Agassi. During that interview the subject of good decision making came up. Agassi said, "Every choice I've made in my life, good and bad, has led me to where I am right now."

Agassi gets it! So many people don't. Over the years I've had hour upon hour of arguments with callers about the importance of good decision making. It seems that nobody wants to accept the fact that failure is a choice, as well as success.

During the first seven months of the year, there were nearly 800 attacks against on-duty officers in the city of Chicago. That's an increase of 31 percent from the same period in 1996. The numbers include officers who were killed in the line of duty, as well as incidents where guns were pointed at police but not fired. In just the last couple of months, two officers have been killed and another critically wounded.

What's going on here? It's illegal to keep a handgun, shotgun or rifle in Chicago without registering it with the city's Director of Revenue. If you bring a gun into the city, you have to register it within 10 days. Residents of Illinois can't carry concealed handguns. Private ownership of handguns in Chicago is practically prohibited.

So how is it that all of these cops are facing guns and getting shot in "gun-free" Chicago?

Simple. The perps policemen face every day aren't going to follow draconian anti-gun laws. The law-abiding residents will. So the gun-toting predators are running wild in a city where they know they won't face armed resistance from their victims. They become bolder knowing they're in control. So it's no wonder Chicago's policemen are being attacked in record numbers.

Gun control laws don't disarm the criminals...they only disarm the people who follow the law. Just ask the beleaguered residents of Chicago.

The Nu Mu Lambda Chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity in DeKalb County, Georgia, is so proud. They've sent out a press release touting their joint sponsorship of a gun buyback program with the DeKalb County government. It's all going to happen on September 18. Fifty bucks per gun.

The press release says that the purpose is to reduce "illegal/unregistered guns" and "eliminate violent acts in our school system, households, communities and workplace …"

Idiocy. Complete idiocy.

First of all, what is an "illegal/unregistered gun"? We don't register guns. If we don't register guns, then aren't all guns unregistered? Does this mean that all guns are, in the minds of Alpha Phi Alpha, "illegal"?

Remember my earlier protestations on this matter. Statistically you have to buy back over 85,000 guns to achieve a statistical certainty of saving one human life. Thus far all the gun buyback programs in the country combined haven't reached that goal.

This money could be better spent in firearms safety training. Now, THAT might save lives.

So ... after all that doom and gloom we caught from the media – you know, evil power corporations scheming to keep innocent Californians in the dark and whatnot – did the state suffer any blackouts this summer, like the "experts" and class-warfare politicians were predicting?

Nope. Not a single one, according to the Washington Times. No part of California has experienced a single second of power outage. Of course there have been the usual problems, like wind damage to power lines and the occasional short-circuit ... but as for systematic outages, there were none.

Compare that to the prediction the California Independent System Operator (the entity that wins the state's power grid) made back in April. It said Californians would have to suffer through at least 34 days of rolling blackouts. The North American Electric Reliability Council said there would be 260 hours of blackouts.

But Californians managed to heed the warnings and conserve energy. They were also helped by cooler-than-normal summer temperatures.

All of which means there's little to be gained from Gray Davis' strategy of blaming private power companies instead of his state's faulty energy policies. If Davis thought he was going to ride the issue to another term as California's governor, he was wrong. He can't ratchet up the rhetoric if there's no problem in sight.

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Every single day that passes you hear wails and screams from our big-spending Democratic friends - wails and screams over the Bush tax cut and our shrinking surplus. OK, time for a little reality check here.John Barry is the director of research and the chief economist...
Tuesday, 04 September 2001 12:00 AM
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