Harvey Golub of the American Enterprise Institute wrote this response to Warren Buffett’s call for tax hikes on the rich:
Governments have an obligation to spend our tax money on programs that work. They fail at this fundamental task.
Do we really need dozens of retraining programs with no measure of performance or results? Do we really need to spend money on solar panels, windmills and battery-operated cars when we have ample energy supplies in this country? Do we really need all the regulations that put an estimated $2 trillion burden on our economy by raising the price of things we buy? Do we really need subsidies for domestic sugar farmers and ethanol producers?
Why do we require that public projects pay above-market labor costs? Why do we spend billions on trains that no one will ride? Why do we keep post offices open in places no one lives? Why do we subsidize small airports in communities close to larger ones? Why do we pay government workers above-market rates and outlandish benefits? Do we really need an energy department or an education department at all?
Here’s my message: Before you “ask” for more tax money from me and others, raise the $2.2 trillion you already collect each year more fairly and spend it more wisely. Then you’ll need less of my money.
Would you reward your ten year old child by increasing his allowance if you knew he flushed 30% of it down the toilet every month? Then why would you reward the federal bureaucracy for doing the same thing?
As long as the politicians know they can take more money from the electorate they will never get serious about cutting spending and eliminating waste. Only when we make it more painful for them to raise taxes than to cut wasteful spending will wasteful spending be cut.
This is why the much-maligned tea party congressmen are right and courageous to continue to refuse to accept tax increases as part a deficit reduction plan.
(Hat Tip: Paul Caron)