Wednesday, April 20, 2011

If it's Good for Their States, er I mean 'the Goose'...?

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) said it, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines."

By that definition, the consistent talk about the evils of taxes is the modern day proof of Emerson's oft-quoted (actually ill-quoted) maxim. 

Or is it...?

According to 'The Daily Beast's' Andrew Romano, front runners for the nomination of the GOP candidate for president have been wildly inconsistent when, as governors, they've been constitutionally responsible for balancing their respective states' budgets. 

"The GOP's most promising 2012 presidential contenders—Mitt RomneyTim PawlentyHaley Barbour, Mitch Daniels, and Mike Huckabee—have a lot in common. They are all white. They are all middle-aged. They were all governors at one point. And despite a shared tendency to denounce Democrats as inveterate, immoral tax hikers, they all have the exact same skeleton in their closet: a rather inconvenient history of raising taxes themselves."

"Surprised? It's no wonder. Until now, Romney & Co. have done a good job of hiding their tax-raising records from the rest of the Republican Party—with good reason. In a perfect world, according to GOP orthodoxy, taxes would always be lower than they are right now, no matter how low they currently happen to be. In 2009, for example, U.S. taxes shrank to their smallest share of personal income since 1950. Conservatives still complained. And in the unlikely instance that taxes cannot possibly be reduced any further—like, say, when revenue plummets to a record-low 14.9 percent of GDP, which is where they are today—right-thinking Republicans are required to do the next best thing: Refuse, at all costs, to raise them."

"The 2012 budget blueprint that Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan unveiled this month is only the latest example of the GOP's taxophobia. Ryan claims the purpose of the proposal is to eradicate the national debt. But his "Path to Prosperity" puts America an extra $4 trillion in the hole before it even attempts to accomplish this worthy goal. How? By slashing taxes for the wealthiest Americans—forever. As a result, the rest of Ryan's cuts—to Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, the FBI, highways, environmental protection, the Coast Guard, and so on—are trillions of dollars larger than they'd otherwise have to be. The message is clear, if contradictory: For Republicans, the only thing more important than reducing the deficit is increasing it—via massive tax cuts."

"Which is why it's so curious that all the party's would-be standard-bearers did precisely the opposite when they were actually tasked with balancing a budget. Some, like Daniels, raised taxes in a relatively straightforward manner. When the former Office of Management and Budget director took control of Indiana in 2005, the state was $200 million in the hole. Digging out was his first priority—and one of his first proposals was a sizable tax hike on all individuals and entities earning over $100,000. The legislature blocked the plan, but Daniels eventually passed a handful of new taxes: one on liquor, one on rental cars, and one that increased the state sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent. Indiana soon had a $1.3 billion surplus."

"When it comes to fiscal discipline, Daniels doesn't think tax hikes should be the first option, or even the second or third. But he does believe that they should always be an option..."

Now this isn't an attempt at political punditry (well maybe a little bit), but it is a an attempt to ask a sobering question: in the face of a crippling deficit, a fragile economic recovery, high unemployment, more people living in poverty than at any other time in the history of our country because of the second biggest financial disaster in the history of our country, with the wealth enjoying unprecedented comfort and the middle class being squeezed as never before...why is anyone tolerating a political fiscal policy that hasn't worked for the one's who promote it?!

Read the rest of the article here

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