This week I’ll address taxes. You know, I have to admit it – Obama had me going. When he spoke of change, I actually believed he meant real change – like change that we haven’t seen before. I actually believed him that there was this new idea, called change, that we hadn’t ever experienced before. Well, was I mistaken.
Let’s face it. There’s only so many ways we can do government. We either free people or enslave them. Obama actually had me thinking there was another way to do government – like use government to solve everyone’s problems and still be free and prosperous.
Nope. There’s still only two ways to do government.
The first way is to get off the backs of taxpayers and admit that government is power and coercion and that free people require less of it, not more of it. The other way is to embrace government as the problem solver – give it a nice big bear hug and thank it for giving us things it can only give by taking the same things from us.
You do understand that, don’t you? Obama is taking from you your money, in taxes and future debt, only to turn around and give some of it back to you. That’s not new – that’s old. That’s as old as Karl Marx. That’s as old as FDR. That’s as old as the Great Society. That’s as old as yesterday.
Who’s he kidding? And who are we kidding?
Obama just announced a new tax increase package for wealthy Americans – anyone making over $250,000 a year. Now this is brilliant – get this: he’s going reduce the amount of deductions that rich people can take for mortgage interest and contributions to charities. In other words, he doesn’t just want to pinch them, he wants to pinch them in exactly those areas that will lead to more and more government.
Why not just tax rich people more? Why must he attack home ownership and charities?
Well, I’ll tell you why. He knows that when home ownership and private charities struggle, government – more and more government – will be there to step in.
Utah suffers from the same sort of “change” from its own chief executive. Governor Huntsman’s answer to Utah’s economic recovery is more in-state movie productions and higher cigarette taxes. Oh yeah, and more liquor sales because that’s what tourists want from Utah. We have lots of great liquor here and people flock from all over the world to drink our liquor.
Let’s think through this. Huntsman wants to bring more Hollywood to Utah. Okay, so that helps 40 guys a couple times a year to move scenery around. And then it helps the local restaurants and bars while the out-of-towners booze it up while they’re here, especially in that hot spot of hipness Kanab.
And then he wants to increase the taxes on cigarettes – which I don’t have a problem with. What I do have a problem with is why? Huntsman wants to raise more revenue. I want to discourage people from smoking. If he wants more money from low-hanging sin taxes, I’m wondering why he doesn’t want to raise taxes on liquor? That should be an easy sell in Mormondom. Ohhhh yeah, that’s right, it’s because Hollywood people drink liquor and we sure do want that Hollywood money to bail out Utah’s struggling economy.
I have a better idea. Let’s tell Hollywood to take a flying leap. Let’s tell Tom Hanks to stay in good old progressive California. I think their state needs the money more than we do. Then let’s increase the taxes on cigarettes AND liquor just under that pre-black market point of pain to encourage a decrease in consumption of both. Then let’s pass one last law for this legislative session – let’s pass a law that requires Governor Huntsman to take a simple class in economics and a second class in common sense.
Sarcastically, for the Sutherland Institute, I’m Paul Mero.