Economy & Budget

The Campaign for the 'Fair Tax' is a Waste of Time

I’m desperate to write about something other than Iraq, so let’s close the week and switch to the neglected topic of tax policy.

Politicians are loath to deal with the problems at hand, and instead focus on matters “in another galaxy in a place far far away.” Such is the eternal quest for tax reform. Rather than trying to shape the current code to be more favorable to savings and investment, grandiose schemes (Al Gore would call it a “risky scheme”) are floated to scrap the current system and replace it with something totally new. 

Grapes of Wrath Return

Here is the problem with the Federal Reserve bailout of banks, rather than providing support to homeowners, citizens or the economy as a whole:

Check out the New York Times Aug. 20 story about how those who had their homes foreclosed on by banks often get huge tax bills from the IRS, while the banks buy the home back, at times for $1.

Put America First: Make Iowa Go Last

Imagine there’s no first-in-the-nation Iowa caucus. No need to pander to corn farmers. No politicizing ethanol for votes. No pressure to support hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded ethanol subsidies.

The Blue Dog: An Endangered Species

When you walk around the halls of Congress, especially on the House side, you see two kinds of displays outside members’ offices. Outside some, mostly those of anti-war Democrats, you will find a chart of all those killed in Iraq. Outside others — the offices of the so-called Blue Dogs — you will find a deficit chart, letting you know your portion of the national debt.

By posting the debt chart, the Blue Dogs are signaling their concern and indicating their strong opposition to the national debt. It is a political stunt meant to show moderation to their voters — many of whom wouldn’t vote for Nancy Pelosi for dogcatcher.

A Better Strategy on Poverty

David Brooks had an interesting article in Tuesday's New York Times about the different approaches taken by John Edwards and Barack Obama when it comes to the issue of poverty. Brooks is an astute political observer, and he didn’t mention any approaches taken by any Republican candidates, probably because no Republican has really focused that much on the issue. It is time for the Republican candidates to get in the game.

Poverty is a real issue in America. Poverty crushes the dreams of millions of Americans. Efforts to take care of the poor cost the Treasury billions of dollars, money that seems to get little results. Poverty encourages crime. Where there is poverty, the chances of disease, like TB, increases. 

The Problem With Taxes As an Issue

My favorite part of the Democratic CNN/YouTube debate was the guitar-playing anti-tax guy. He was playing my song.

I think taxes should be a big issue in the next campaign. I believe we pay too many taxes to fund too much wasteful government. I think it is an issue that Republicans should unify over. I think people should be taking to the streets to protest outrageous tax rates.

Unfortunately, I am in the distinct minority. Taxes fall way down on the list of the most important issues in most polls.

Two Terrible Ideas

The weekend headlines bring no respite from the bad news. Two of the absolute worst suggestions are now in the public domain, the first courtesy of Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats and the second from our old friend John Edwards.

Dumb Idea #1. Senate Democrats are proposing that an independent counsel (i.e., special prosecutor) be appointed to investigate Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’s decision to fire eight U.S. attorneys back in December. As the song goes, “When will they ever learn?”

Time to Play Some Offense

I was watching the news the other day, and I saw an advertisement put up by the Democrats thanking the Democrats for all their success in the first seven months of their majority.

Talk about chutzpah.

Talk about smart.

My mom always told me that if you don’t believe good things about yourself, nobody else will. Well, it is time for the Republicans to start believing that their philosophy has led to some real progress for the American people. If we don’t start believing it, nobody else will. 

The Dog Days of Summer

The weather in Washington, D.C. has been rather pleasant, all things considered, but that doesn’t mean the nation’s capital has avoided the dog days of summer.

In Congress, the dog days of summer mean it is the appropriations season. With 13 appropriations bills to complete before the end of the fiscal year at the end of the September, the Congress usually slogs away at spending bills designed to keep the government open.

These are especially dog days for the taxpayer, because the Democratic Congress is trying to go on a spending binge.