Pick Your Cliff, Part I: Revenue

For several months, our politicians and media have been warning that our society was at the edge of fiscal cliff.  With all the pushing and shoving for attention, we may have gone over the edge, regardless of 2 a.m. votes in the Senate.  Maybe we fell off the cliff years ago (some blame FDR for starting the slide with Social Security, more than 75 years ago) and are really at the bottom of pit.  

In any case, one side claims that our rescue is in raising more revenue to pay for what congresses has legislated into our national budget and presidents have signed into law.  I use the plural for each political body, as this did not happen over the past 4 years.  The other side claims that our rescue is in eliminating spending… well at least their hard-liners have sworn off ear-marks.

It’s our turn to voice our opinion on these topics.  I shall post a survey with this blog about what revenue you would be willing to pony up to, a second on what loopholes you would close, and another third about what spending you would be willing to forgo.  If I have set these up correctly, you should be able to vote for as many items as you wish.  So, stand at the cliff, select your rescue, or jump.  Enough of this teetering on the edge.

Government revenue comes either through taxes, tariffs, and user fees, or through stimulating economic activity thus generating more taxes, etc.  Different political parties argue from various theoretical positions.  The Republicans often advocate trick-down economics, in which providing lower taxes or tax refunds provides income that people spends thereby employ other people.  Democrats often endorse government assistance to low-income people who turn around and spend the money on food, clothing, housing, ect, thereby employing people and reducing other government expenses such as providing housing for homeless people and medical care for preventable conditions that then cost more to heal.  I will evade debating those directly here.

The Fiscal Cliff Debates have mostly focused on federal government spending, with the concept that if we do not either increase revenue or reduce spending and the deficit, we are “kicking the can down the road” to future administrations, congresses, and our grandchildren.  Federal taxes are mostly related to income taxes and corporate taxes.  I do not know enough about tariffs to discuss these.  State and local taxes include a range of other types of revenue generation that divert a few dollars here and there with each trip to the store, restaurant, hotel, car rental, airplane flight, garbage pick up, telephone call, etc.  For the “10th Amenders” (those who call for a strict adherence to the concept that the 10th amendment to the Constitution gives governance to the states to all items not mentioned in the Constitution, such as education, health care, retirement income, etc.), all those questionable federal expenses would just be “kicked down the road” to the states and local governments.  If the federal government closed the three agencies that some Texas Governor couldn’t recall during a debate a year ago, his state would have had to address them.  “Let’s see… I think that’s the Department of Educations in Junk Science, Health and Human Abortion Administration, and … Hmmm, can’t recall the thirds…”  Well, I guess they already have, considering the text books that they purchse and how they have rejected federal funds for family planning clinics.

Well, sarcasm aside, check off what source of revenue that you would be willing to increase to pay for the services that our federal, state, and local governments pay for.  I will keep the categories general.  If you have specific rate levels, use the comment section to argue the details.  I’ll pass those on to the IRS to include on your 1040 form. 🙂

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About hermitsdoor

Up here in the mountains, we have a saying, "You can't get there from here", which really means "We wouldn't go the trouble to do that". Another concept is that "If you don't know, we ain't telling." For the rest, you'll have to read between the lines.
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7 Responses to Pick Your Cliff, Part I: Revenue

  1. Barneysday says:

    No matter how long they kick the can, it all will come down to cutting spending and increasing taxes. Good idea for the poll!

  2. The Vicar says:

    Taxes as behavior modification or taxing success… does either really work?

    • hermitsdoor says:

      I believe a wealthy publisher advocated abolishing income taxes and imposing taxes on services and products, “tax what someone takes out of the economy, not what they put into it”. Sounds like a blog topic…

  3. trick-down economics … I hope this wasn’t a typo!!

    I wonder what a tax system based solely on usage fees/sales tax would result in?? Everyone could have all the money they earned, then decide what to spend (or not to spend) it on. This has always seemed fair to me, but I am sure things can’t really be that simple.

    • hermitsdoor says:

      I’m not sure that the Constitution allows federal sales tax, which as been discussed now and then. Some would argue that sales taxes discourage commerce and economic activity, especially for developing sectors, such as the internet over the past decade. Thus, Amanzon.com and California’s wrangling over collecting sales taxes. How about donating what you believe public services are worth.. Oh, that’s why we have volunter rescue squad and fire departments around here… Yes, “trick-down” was a typo… I shall leave it though!

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