Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns


I am going to commit conservative heresy:

The rebuilding spending for New Orleans should be paid for with a tax increase. I would propose a one-year, 1% surtax on all income tax brackets (not just "the rich" as the liberals always fantasize). The fiscal purpose is obvious; we can’t let the deficit get totally out of hand. The political purpose is more important: all taxpayers should feel more directly the cost of the huge run up in government spending. Then maybe they’ll start to demand a bit less of it. And maybe it will provide some discipline to some of the slop that is no doubt going to be spent on the Gulf coast.

Fire away, NLT readers.

Discussions - 13 Comments

Its a reasonable argument. I would prefer a cut in other spending, but if thats not going to happen...

Excellent idea. I’m also all for ending all income tax withholding, forcing the American worker to write a monthly check to the governments, Federal, State and Local, for their income taxes.
It would be the greatest thing to happen to politics since this country was formed. Representatives of the people would be afraid to return to their home districts.
We might even have politicians committed to a balanced budget, and actually representing their constituency in office.
We really are so easy to bilk. We have the best government money can buy! Too bad it’s our money.

Ending withholding would bring home to everyone just how much their taxes are.

The only argument against it is that some of our fellow taxpayers won’t do it & will wind up in dutch.

Spending cuts would be preferable, of course, but since that won’t happen, I like the idea of a 1% increase on ALL tax brackets.

I hate to rain on your parade, Steven, but about half of taxpayers pay so little I doubt they’d even notice. The superrich might notice (given that they carry most of the water on income tax), but it won’t lay a glove on their lifestyle.

The only people likely to notice such an income tax hike would be middle class individuals and families with children.

I opt for either spending cuts or deficit spending. Actually, I opt for less spending on New Orleans and letting the people likely to benefit from rebuilding carry most of the freight on this issue. Heartless? Perhaps, but I see no reason to build yet another crime-ridden hole below sea level, particularly with other people’s money.

It is a FLAT TAX you are speaking of, and that is a very conservative idea. Your proposal is a lovely, subtle, way to introduce the idea to the general public. As Dain says, 1% will not hurt many and the middle class conscience may even welcome the temporary sacrifice. The idea that it is a temporary sacrifice, a one year tax sacrifice, is so delightfully radical! What if it went to a mandatory bond issue that New Orleans paid back to the Treasury after ten years or so, when the city was back on it’s feet?

I’m a disabled veteran, and pay very little in taxes. That shapes my view of government spending to a small extent, because I HAVE worked both in the military (where taxes are withheld), and in the private sector. Frankly, I think one of the biggest problems we have in this nation is that the major recipients of government largesse don’t have to pay any taxes, period. I’d like to see a flat tax on all earned income, regardless of source (I.E., dividends, interest, wages, rent, royalties, etc.), and NO deductions, period. To spare the extremely poor from paying a disproportionate amount of their income in taxes, I’d suggest a graduated flat tax: 2.5% of the first $25,000, 5% on all income between $25,001 and $60,000, 7.5% on all income between $60,001 and $125,000, and 10% on all income over $125,000. That way, everybody pays the same amount on the same earnings, but the more you make, the more you pay. That’s only reasonable because the more you have, the more you have to be protected, and the more it costs. That, after all, is the first objective of government - to protect the rights and property of its citizens.

Adding a 1% surtax on all income would be ok if it were possible to get government to actually kill it once its purpose has been served. Unfortunately, we all know there’s nothing so permanent as a "temporary" government program, of any type.

How much would you like to bet that it wouldn’t remain temporary? For conservatives you all seem awfully eager to crank up taxes!

And this won’t bring about a flat tax...sorry, that’s serious wishful thinking.

I’m not entirely sure, but I think that most of the taxes we pay are temporary. Meant to pay for things like the construction of a 50 year old highway, the Spanish American War, et c.

As a side note, since I received no services rendered, and can expect no return (as promised; I’m only 23), can I deduct the 6% of my income taken out for Social Security as a charitable contribution? Sure, it helps pay for my elderly grandmother, my retarded brother, and others like them, but that seems to be the definition of charity (helping those who need help, expecting no return).

What is desired is an increase in revenue. That doesn’t necessarily mean an increase in tax rate. We are in a portion of the Laffer curve where decreases in tax rates have so far produced increases in revenue, even when adjusted for inflation and population growth. That fact, of course, goes unreported in the MSM. It is reasonable to assume that increases in tax rates in this part of the curve will produce decreases in revenue along with economic slow down, the exact opposite of the desired effect. We have a better chance of increasing revenue by decreasing taxes. I can already hear the Democrats screaming, with Republicans quickly joining the chorus.

Taxes rarely are "temporary." Conservatives ought not support new taxes.

Why not a decrease taxes by 1% and we give it to charitable organizations that are helping those in need? Isn’t that the point of intiatives that the president supports after all? Power to the people and organizations in the community best able to know their needs and serve them? Besides, there will be more disasters, natural and man-made (and I argue that New Orleans was a man-made disaster in waiting and finally overwhelmed by nature). I should not be expected to pay for it all with my hard-earned money. My mother evacuated for three hurricanes in Florida last year - no one ever thought about helping her with a 1% tax increase.

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