High Taxes Becoming a Way of LifeBy Stewart Truelsen
Americans have a proud heritage – freedom, liberty, justice for all. America is the land of opportunity, but it is also a nation that taxes its citizens to death and beyond. And what's scary about this is that many taxpayers are becoming resigned to it.
Liberal politicians, bureaucrats and some members of the news media believe there is something un-American about reducing taxes, and they are always letting the rest of us know it.
For example, a Washington Post editorial on July 16 labeled the tax cuts proposed by Republicans in the budget plan as "tax trash," because they would benefit the better-off and cost the government money.
Of course, tax cuts benefit the better-off because a relatively small percentage of taxpayers pay most of the income taxes. IRS statistics show that 95% of individual income taxes are paid by people in the top half of earnings. In explaining his position, House Speaker Newt Gingrich told Farm Bureau leaders in Washington, D.C., "We're going to make the very simple argument that tax cuts should go to taxpayers. That if you haven't had a tax cut in 16 years and you've had several tax increases in between, the working taxpaying American deserves tax relief."
Gingrich numbers farmers and small business people among working taxpayers. Included in this group are persons with adjusted gross incomes of $21,800 to $90,000. They paid 47.8% of income taxes in 1994. Those with incomes above $90,000 got stung for most of the rest.
There is little justification for not giving relief to working taxpayers or the better-off, if that's what you want to call them. The economy is rolling along so well that revenues are pouring into the treasury. The deficit for 1997 now looks to be less than half of projections made only a couple months ago. If Congress and the Clinton administration can't deliver a tax cut now, when can they deliver? Probably never.
Gingrich and other GOP leaders tried to show the news media how American families would benefit from tax cuts when they laid out on a table a number of consumer goods like bikes, garden tools and milk. They wanted to show that consumer purchasing power would increase.
It seemed rather elementary, but that's what they had to do to convince everyone that tax cuts are good for you. Perhaps the opponents of tax cuts should be required to do the same. The money the government keeps will surely be spent on something like sweeping new programs to halt global warming, or enforcement of ergonomic standards -- to eliminate the repetitive motions that people do in the job place. You see, the only repetitive motion that opponents of tax cuts want you to make is digging into your wallet.
Stewart Truelsen is director of broadcast services for the American Farm Bureau Federation.