I want lower taxes or even no taxes in many cases. I want to starve the beast. But as Godfather Politics pointed out yesterday, sometimes this doesn’t work how we’d like.
Imagine parents who decide their son in college is misusing the funds they gave him. So they cut off his allowance and stop giving him money. A month later you ask if their son has changed his behavior.
No, they reply. He is spending more than ever.
How can that be? Does he have a job now to earn money?
No, it turns out that the parents left their son with a credit card in his own name—originally given to him to hold on to “in case of an emergency.” Cutting off cash didn’t do any good because he had the power to borrow the money he wanted. Worse, even though the parents may be held responsible for the debt, their son is not speaking to them anymore. All he cares about is making sure the credit card company is still happy with him.
Here’s another story. A woman in Southern state gets stopped at a “sobriety checkpoint.” She is treated impolitely by police because she admits to having had one beer at her daughter’s softball game an hour or more earlier. They criticize her in front of her children. When she easily passes the blood-alcohol test as a safe driver, they let her go grudgingly. When she points out their rudeness, the officer in charge excuses himself and his men by claiming they risk their lives for her every day (exaggerated, people in roofing have higher mortality and injury rates than people in law enforcement). The next day she stops at the same location to buy gas at a service station. The manager tells her that those sobriety checkpoints kill his business.
Why do the police operate this way? It is partly because the people of the county hate taxes and keep them low (an instinct I completely agree with). But this sends the police scurrying to apply for funding from wherever they can get it. They receive Federal grants but only with strings attached. So because the Feds pay the bills the police have to set up a certain number of sobriety checkpoints every month.
I first read the term, “No representation without taxation,” from Dambisa Moyo in her excellent book Dead Aid. She uses it to show how international aid is hurting Africa and keeping those countries in poverty. One reason for this is because the governments themselves do not have any vested interest in their own national populations. Those populations do not support them. They are supported almost entirely by foreign organizations, and those organizations influence policy far more than votes.
We need lower taxes. But we have a nation that runs on debt and thus cares more about our creditors than about the American people. We may not be dependent on aid, but our government has plenty of loyalty issues.
Along with lower taxes, we must push for zero government debt and lower spending. Otherwise, the government will simply expand without our taxes and then cause a financial crisis which it will use as an excuse to expand yet more.