Taxes as an Act of Patriotism

I want to spend a moment to reflect on Thomas Friedman’s newest column in the New York Times. He poses a series of questions to Governor Palin after her response to Joe Biden in the VP debates:

“if paying taxes is not considered patriotic in your neighborhood, who is going to pay for the body armor that will protect your son in Iraq? Who is going to pay for the bailout you endorsed? If it isn’t from tax revenues, there are only two ways to pay for those big projects — printing more money or borrowing more money. Do you think borrowing money from China is more patriotic than raising it in taxes from Americans?” That is not putting America first. That is selling America first.”

Friedman, the author of “The World is Flat” and “Hot, Flat, and Crowded” articulates what so many of us have been thinking: how can we possibly pay for all of our initiatives without raising taxes?

With ten trillion dollars of debt, and an overall debt load of 56 trillion dollars, it is irresponsible to continue borrowing money from China and other nations. Similarly, it is impractical to suggest that cutting government waste is an acceptable alternative to raising taxes.

We can’t continue borrowing money, and we can’t cut our budget in any meaningful way.

So how do we solve this problem? I’d like to hear your ideas.


4 responses to “Taxes as an Act of Patriotism

  1. Raising taxes decreases revenue. Cutting taxes increases deficits.

    Lose lose.

    So the only solution is cutting spending. Get used to it.

  2. J Stat — check out Laffer Curve in Wikipedia.

    Josh — there are a number of things that can be done. The unspoken damage is not the debt per se but the interest we pay on the debt. I understand that it is now over $230B annually! Clinton raised taxes by 4.3 cents per gallon and raised the level of exemption on seniors income. This small amount tipped the balance enough to start paying down the debt. The size of the government has grown enormously during the Bush 43 years. Cutting back will help. Raising the payroll tax maximum from the current $102,000 to $250,000 would be a big boost in revenues. Enforcing businesses to pay what they owe would eliminate the deficit in the current year. And there are many other ways once one gets beyond the voices of the interest groups like Chamber of Commerce and AARP.

  3. Maybe a bake sale? I bet we could get some hockeymoms to donate cookies and brownies. The Dads could brew up some Countrytime Lemonade. And the kids could sit on the curbs and sell them to . . . .

    . . . well, we could send the kids door to door in China. I hear those folks have money.

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