There's an old joke about a boy who complains to his mother that his little sister keeps pulling his hair.
"Oh," responds the mother, "she doesn't know that it hurts."
A few minutes later, the mother hears the girl scream and runs into the other room. "She knows now," the boy explains.
There's a lesson for Republicans in that old joke, if they're smart enough to absorb it.
For the past few years, there has been a drumbeat in favor of increased taxes from Democrats of all stripes. Make the rich pay their "fair share." Get rid of "loopholes." Make the fat cats "chip in a little more." Then Democrats hold up budgets and bills in an effort to extract some tax increases from Republicans.
It's no coincidence that much of the Democrats' base doesn't have to worry about taxes much, either because they work for nonprofits and public entities that don't pay taxes, or because they live off government benefits, or because they work in industries -- like the motion picture and recording industries -- with a long history of shady accounting and favorable tax treatment. Republicans, if they're smart, can nonetheless teach them that tax increases do, in fact, hurt.
They should head into the next budget battle with a list of proposals for tax increases that will sting Democratic constituency groups, but which will seem eminently fair to voters.
The first such proposal would be to restore the 20 percent excise tax on motion picture theater gross revenues that existed between the end of World War II and its repeal in the mid-1950s. The campaign to end the excise tax had studio executives and movie stars talking like Art Laffer, as they noted that high taxes reduced business income, hurt investment and cost jobs.
The movie excise tax was imposed in response to the high deficits after World War Two. Deficits are high again, and there's already historical precedent. Of course, to keep up with technology, the tax should now apply to DVDs, downloadable movies, pay-per-view and the like. But in these financially perilous times, why should movie stars and studio moguls, with their yachts, swimming pools and private jets, not at least shoulder the burden they carried back in Harry Truman's day -- when, to be honest, movies were better anyway.
For extra fun, they could show pictures of David Geffen's yacht and John Travolta's personal Boeing 707 on the Senate floor. You want to tax fat cats? I gotcher "fat cats" right here! Repeal the Hollywood Tax Cuts!
See Dennis Miller's "Forgotten Man". Should be on youtube somewhere. The video I saw was from an O'Reilly episode.
I guess I just think food stamps are a waste of money. I know some prefer them to just giving money to welfare recipients since they think that with stamps they can't just use it to buy drugs,etc. But I'm willing to bet that the system with stamps ends up costing the tax payer more due to bureaucracy and corruption. Not to mention that I bet there is probably a pretty good underground economy that allows people to use food stamps to buy drugs. There will always be people who abuse the system. I remember one night back home that was a hot summer night and the welfare cheque came in that day we sold out of beer and cigs at my family store. Did the gov't care? Probably not, most of it goes back to in taxes anyway. I think stamps would have cost the system more, not to mention the stigma it would attach to those who actually need the help.
Not sure how much of that there is nowadays.
Oh there's plenty of stigma attached. There are advocates and proponents on both sides of the credit card style food stamps. I think it was Walmart who came under fire because they had signs up on food stuffs which labeled it WIC approved.
Stigma is there but sadly only on those who actually need it.
There definitely needs to be reform in efficiency and bureaucratic waste reduction. Years back I read a few reports which concluded if the government just sent out checks raising everyone above the poverty line, it would save money. There's other problems though too. Such as, there are tax benefits to staying poor. As in, you pay no taxes. And the compensation one receives from the government, brings them well above the poverty line. So there is little incentive to get off the dole, once you actually get on it.
One of the reasons I favor a flat tax without deductions. It wouldn't actually decrease your earnings when you increase your wages. Something I've seen more than once, people refusing raises, or higher paying jobs, because they did the math and the higher tax bracket would lower their take home pay, and remove them from the subsidy roles.
Back in the olden days (1981) when I was promoted from E-3 to E-4 my net pay dropped $12/mo.
I thought this was a popular myth. I thought the higher tax is only on the extra income. Say for example a tax bracket is at 20,000. If you made 21,000 then your 20,000 is still taxed at the old bracket but the extra 1000 is taxed at the new. Hence, although you are paying more tax, you are never in a situation in which it is a benefit to earn less.
We had a political party once that wanted to create a minimum income. If you earned below it, they topped you up. It was to avoid the problem of having people quit jobs to "earn more" on welfare.
Somewhere in a file I have the pay stub from my last check as an E-3 and first check as an E-4. I'd find it and share it but it would be embarrassing to show what an enlisted man made back then.
I've refused overtime, because the overtime would kick me into a higher tax bracket and I would lose money. In overtime where I would be earning time and a half. It cost money to take the extra hours on a weekly basis.
I see two real problems to "poverty in the US". Both of which I've experienced first hand. 1) Poor people aren't educated in how to manage money. 2) In order to work your way out of poverty, you really need to find a job which pays nearly double your current salary to offset the increased taxes and loss of subsidy.
Speaking of flat tax. I wonder if you removed all the deductions and exemptions would you end up still making more tax off the rich since there would be less loopholes