Monday, December 05, 2005

A Dirty Word

Time for some quick economics. And a discussion of that dirty word: taxes.

I know, I know.

This chart is incredible in that it shows government spending (except for Social Security) as compared to government revenue:

Angry Bear:

There's a wealth of information on this graph that is very telling about the political landscape over the past forty or so years.

First. Look how incredibly successful the Republicans have been at implementing a "starve the beast" philosophy. Government revenues, despite inflation, have consistently dropped in real terms throughout the entire forty+ years of this chart. And it shows. Our infracture used to be the envy of the it's in disrepair. Our social welfare system has been essentially dismantled leading to an entire class of "working poor". We have the best military money can buy, but what about the health of our population they are to protect? In short, this generation has been living off the investments made by past generations, and the well will run dry.

Next. Note the condition of chronic deficits. Conventional wisdom says it's OK to run deficits during hard economic times. However, the period of this chart is well representative of the self-labeld fiscally prudent Republican party. Despite these claims, clearly neither party can claim to be the party of fiscal discipline. In fact, the only President that can really claim the mantle of fiscal responsibility was the feared, and hated, "blow-job Clinton". I wish we had other leaders who were so inclined.

Finally, I think it's fair to say that there is no bottom to how low we can go in revenue collection. In a short-sighted society such as ours, we can always justify a tax decrease. But exactly how low do we have to go on spending before we are seriously cutting our throats?

I think that sometime during my lifetime we will find out the answer to that very question. The Pepsi generation, and those greedy generations that follow, will either continue on the current path, ultimately exploring the depths of being a second class society. Or, the voting public will have to change they way we look at taxes. The Republicans have done a phenomenal job painting taxes as always bad, always negative. But when you really think about it, taxes are a long-term investment in ourselves. And in this case the old adage applies, "you're either getting better or getting worse".


At 8:29 AM, Blogger Abe said...

Nice Internet bubble in the '90's. Oops!


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