Letter from the Editor 

lettertotheeditor.jpg

At the GOP presidential candidates' debate in Iowa last week, all the candidates were asked to "raise their hand if they would oppose a debt deal that offered $10 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases."

All the candidates' hands shot up in unison. "No New Taxes" is the new "America, Love It or Leave It" — a feel-good slogan that marginalizes dissent and the kind of rational thinking needed to solve complex problems. This bunch of theoretical presidents pledged that even if Congress were to pass spending cuts of $1 trillion, they wouldn't sign the bill if it included raising 10 percent of that amount in revenue from, say, closing tax loopholes on off-shore-based corporations and minimally raising the tax on capital gains (currently taxed at 15 percent).

This is pandering, a case of bumper-sticker ideology trumping logic. Taxes are the dues we citizens pay for our roads, bridges, schools, clean water and air, Social Security, disaster relief, armed services, police and fire departments, border patrol, postal services, food inspection, airline safety, and much more.

Taxes pay for a civilized society. Is the federal government bloated? Yes. Is the tax code inequitable? No question. But by addressing only one side of that equation, the GOP field is making it obvious that they're not serious about fixing the country's problems.

The most emailed article in the U.S. on Monday was a New York Times op-ed by billionaire Warren Buffett in which he wrote that the super-rich were not sharing the sacrifice demanded of the rest of us.

Contrast that point of view with that of the newest GOP-er to throw his hat in the ring, Governor Rick Perry of Texas, who said this week that 45 percent of the country pays no taxes. That's patently untrue. Those who make less than the federal minimum taxable income still pay sales taxes, gasoline taxes, and payroll taxes — taxes that affect us all, regardless of income. And as Buffett pointed out, the poor and working classes are supplying the troops for the endless wars in the Middle East.

The Bush tax cuts of 2003 were supposed stimulate job growth by freeing all those rich "job creators" to bring us to fuller employment. We now see how well that worked. Political candidates need to get serious about addressing our unemployment issue, not playing rhetorical games.

Bruce VanWyngarden
brucev@memphisflyer.com

Comments (15)

Showing 1-15 of 15

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-15 of 15

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
    • Sticky Fingers

    • Making Art Work

    • Taxing Times

Blogs

Hungry Memphis

Sunrise opening Nov. 27

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Music Video Monday: Jadewick

Hungry Memphis

LBOE's Champion Burger

Tiger Blue

#18 Tigers 66, SMU 45

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Indie Memphis' Greatest Hits 5: Lights, Movement, And The Zoo

News Blog

Q & A With MCA President Laura Hine

Politics Beat Blog

Cohen, 5 House Colleagues Launch Impeachment Effort Against Trump

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Bruce VanWyngarden

Readers also liked…

  • Vendor in the Grass

    The lady doth protest too much, methinks. — William Shakespeare

    Is there such a thing as "bad activism"? I'm asking because I'm seeing a lot of criticism of the folks who are protesting the Memphis Zoo's encroachment onto the Greensward at Overton Park.

    • Mar 31, 2016
  • All the News That’s Fake

    • Dec 22, 2016
  • On the Road

    "I can't believe it's not Buddha." — frustrated monk "I'm trying to be Zen about it." I hear this phrase, now and then. It's often used as a way of saying, "I'm trying to control my emotions." But "trying to be Zen" is an oxymoron. There's no trying to be Zen. You're here now. You're already enlightened. The trick is realizing it. Which is hard.
    • Apr 7, 2016
ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2017

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation