Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Why Should The Gu'ment Borrow Money to Give to Me? And Ain't It MY Gu'ment, And Ain't I The One That's Gonna Hafta Pay It Back?

From February to December of 1960, I worked in Baytown, a place where we once asked our neighbors what had happened to their cute little dog. Their response was, "We gave him to some people who live out in the country. We've heard that pets don't live very long in Baytown". OOOHH KAAY, so how about children and old people? Is it only dog years that count?

But I digress. The purpose of mentioning Baytown is that my boss told a story of having seen a banker friend of his up on a ladder, cleaning out his gutters. When he asked the man why he didn't hire someone to do that dirty job. Surely he could afford it. The banker's jovial answer was, "In my tax bracket, I'd have to make $100 to pay someone $10 to do it. For $100, I can do it, and enjoy it!"

Shortly after that, the newly elected President Kennedy got the tax cut, and I'm sure the banker was happy to see it. Maybe it would allow him to hire someone to clean his gutters. I don't really know. I soon left Baytown, and, since at that time in my life, tax brackets did not have great deal of meaning for me anyway, I did not notice any personal benefit.

All the way up in 1980, candidate Ronald Reagan was explaining how much benefit to the economy would be gained from a tax cut, and his then-opponent George H W Bush called it "voodoo economics". When Mr. Reagan became President Reagan, he got the tax cut, and predictably, I think, every state and local taxing authority jumped into it, raising taxes to fill the gap. I as a citizen, saw no benefit from a tax cut. The thing most notable to me about taxes in the Reagan era was that the tax on liquor just about quadrupled.

When President Reagan was finished being president, George H W was voted to become the next president, and one of his most notable statements, and the one most often quoted, was "Read my lips, NO NEW TAXES!" Although he meant well, through no fault of his own, Daddy George was forced to raise taxes after having said that, and some say that's the reason he didn't get a second term.

When Bill Clinton became president, Rush Limbaugh said that Clinton was responsible for "The largest tax increase in the history of mankind", but I never noticed that one. I guess it really happened, but I saw neither positive nor negative influence on my life.

President Little George W Bush, in his first year, sent me a check for $600, and for that I thank him. I used it to buy a jewelery kiln that my wife, our daughter, and myself, still use. When he sent me $1200 last year to "stimulate the economy", I did what everyone else did with it. I used it to pay bills already owing.

Today, I happened to be passing through the living room, when I heard Representative John Boehner saying something like, "It appears that Democrats have made a bad bill worse by reducing the tax relief for working families in order to pay for more wasteful government spending".

Well, Mr. Boehner, I know that tax cuts seem to be all you Republicans have to offer, and since the days of 'voodoo economics', it seems to be your answer for everything, why hasn't it ever done anything for ME?

I don't like taxes any more than anybody else, but tax cuts have never given me any extra money to spend for the economy. When can I expect that to happen?

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