Sunday, October 2, 2011

…when did “tax” become a four letter word?

By kay.e.strong

Romney statement (19 Sep): “President Obama’s plan to raise taxes [the wealthiest 0.3% of taxpaying Americans] will have a crushing impact on economic growth.” 

“Higher taxes mean fewer jobs – it’s that simple. This is yet another indication that President Obama has no clue how to bring our economy back.”

Perry statement (19 Sep): “We need lower taxes.”

Bachman statement (19 Sep): “The president’s plan to raise taxes on the American people is the wrong policy to create economic growth and jobs and shows he doesn’t understand how to turn our economy around.”

Seriously, does every politician believe the entire American public is high on hallucinogenic mushrooms? 

Let’s begin with a simple analogy: tax revenue is to government what a paycheck is to a worker--a source of income to keep the lights on, water hot and food on the table.  We all know that when bills start piling up, we have a couple options—neither of which entails voluntarily reducing our work hours so that our revenue stream shrinks. 

If we are fiscally responsible, we try to cut the fat out of our budget…a couple less cappuccinos and fewer trips to the mall.  If that does not work, we hunker down and look to (legally) supplement our paycheck.  Gotta a job…maybe time for two? In the short run the best we hope for is just making ends meet.  

There is honor in being able to pay your bills.  There is honor in caring for your responsibilities.  If it takes a larger revenue stream to meet our obligations to one another, then raise taxes.  Raise them across the board! 

We’ve tried to make tax cuts cover our bills for a decade now.  It should be glaringly obvious to all that more of the same will produce more of the same—ballooning deficits, a debt load sufficient to crush the life out of unborn generations, and a destabilized national sense of well-being. 

The next time a politician drones on about the evils of ‘raising taxes’ I hope someone will toss him/her a reality checking hallucinogenic mushroom!

Kay Strong, Ph.D., Southern Illinois University, M.T., University of Houston, M.A., Ohio University; Associate Professor at Baldwin-Wallace College; Areas of expertise: international economics, contemporary social-economic issues, complexity and futures-based perspectives in economics. E-mail:

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This blog lives under the auspices of the Department of Economics whose mission has been to hold high the lantern beaming an "economic way of thinking" onto the world. Selfishness, rationality and equilibrium have been central to the teaching of an economic way of thinking rooted in the Renaissance. And, in this regard, the department has faithfully stayed the course. The intent of this blog, thinking out loud..., however, is to entertain exchanges which may challenge the centrality of economics as we teach it.