Tuesday, December 06, 2011

You can’t tax your way prosperity.

Man, I hate this trite phrase, especially since almost nary a day goes by that I’m not subject to some Republican repeating it into a microphone. Republicans are good at repeating these banal talking points, so good in fact that this is their chief advantage in elections. They certainly don’t have the advantage in smart policy.

Anyway, yes, this bit of blather is true. If those are the only two variables – tax and prosperity – they’re right. Taxing you means taking money away from you. And if the government is taking money away from you, that will not necessarily lead to you being prosperous.

The problem is, obviously, that’s not the end of it. You see, once government takes away that money, it spends it. Now, using the limited variable set of this phrase, the government can spend you into prosperity by spending that money on you. (Just ask Halliburton.)

 But, if you have more than two brain cells to rub together, and you choose to do the rubbing, you’ll easily figure out that both views - taxing≠prosperity, spending=prosperity – ridiculously understate the complexity of the situation. If for no other reason than such policies affect more than one individual.

So can we stop with this bumper sticker mentality?  What?  No, we can't?



Idahoan said...

Good one. Yeah, I get sick of our love for "when you have lemons, make lemonade"-type answers to complex problems.

Ironically, I thought Mitt Romney came up with a pretty good line in one of the Republican debates when he said that the financial problems facing America are complex, and, in his experience, "simple answers are inadequate." Now, we'll see if any of the Repubs actually adopt that attitude!

Alan said...

Don't hold your breath.