To Tax Or Not To Tax: Not Really the Question

I’ll say one thing for the Super Committee impasse–it may finally show us the real distinction between Democrats and Republicans. Not that this distinction is really a difference. It is more like choosing the color of bulldozer that is about to run us over.

The committee’s failure is forcing both sides to gear up for 2012 with some specifics and the American people are about done with fence-sitting. To which side will each hop?

Democrats insist that we have to punish the rich. I know, they don’t really want to punish anyone, just play fair. Right. Democrats will go to the grave one and all before giving up this canard. One might be sympathetic to the fairness argument if fairness were really what they are after. It is not. They always have and always will pander to the lowest achievers in society by encouraging them to blame their plight on the wealthy. Democrats make a good living bundling together the have-nots and the will-nots without distinction.

Republicans are little less revolting. They make a good living making sure the haves don’t have to compete honestly. Whereas Democrats refuse to consider touching entitlement programs, Republicans refuse to touch corporate welfare programs. They are loathe to jimmy up their cozy relationship with huge donors, most of whom want special protection from the vagaries of the free market.

The impasse is instructive because it threatens to out each side. Democrats will have to show their true colors as completely unconcerned about the long-term well-being of the have-nots. Entitlements cannot, by anyone’s math, continue with their present structure. Democrats don’t care about that; they only care that lying about that fact gets them elected. If they did care, they would be telling their supporters the truth–that the system is nearing collapse and restructuring is the only hope of salvaging anything.

Republicans are loathe to upset the big business apple cart, and so are diverting attention away from their closet-abiding skeletons. Wall Street and the ultra-elite bankers were once content to steal quietly and gracefully. One can at least respect a thief with manners. Now, however, they rake in bonuses that defy the decorum of even the cheesiest among us. Had they earned it by running great companies without government support and favoritism, the bonuses would be cause for celebration. As it is, they are tracks left by a fat and sloppy column of parasites.

So it’s back to taxes, an important but not central issue. Lest I sound too cynical, let me aver that it is better to be able to distinguish between Democrats and Republicans on that basis than not to be able to distinguish at all. At least we are starting to have some kind of discussion about our fiscal future. Would that the discussion soon move authentically to the real issues, entitlements and corporate welfare, with each side willing to give up its version of statism for the survival of our country.

That is doubtful. 2012 will be won or lost on the issue of whether to soak the rich or defend the poor. Each side will mule up on airy principles about who shall be taxed or not taxed. Neither side will be willing to give up its nipple at the government sow, though. That is not what politicians do. They will continue to gorge themselves, making sure that people like you and me are sucking the hind teat.

About Terry Noel

I am an Associate Professor of Management and Quantitative Methods at Illinois State University. My specialty is entrepreneurship.
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