Saturday, April 11, 2009

Where was the Outrage Last Year?

Governor Tim Pawlenty is apparently making headlines (I know this, because the headline is here) in slamming President Obama about taxes.

Apparently, Gov. Pawlenty is annoyed that President Obama is spending a lot in his budget - a heck of a lot. He says that all this spending is going to require an increase in taxes, and has an answer (from the article linked above): "Let hardworking American families keep more of what they earn by cutting taxes and reining in spending," said Gov. Tim Pawlenty, R-Minn. "It's just common sense."

Apparently, Gov. Pawlenty thinks that American People are stupid. Otherwise, he wouldn't be going on the record saying the President should cut taxes when he just signed a bill that included $288 Billion in tax cuts - you remember, the one the House Republicans voted against in toto? And surely he isn't blaming President Obama for the $32 TRILLION in future entitlements commited to by President Bush for Medicare, right? He's not complaining about government expansion after 8 years of the most encompassing Federal Governmental expansion since the Great Society. Of course not. He's blaming President Obama for being a Democrat.

But rather than looking at the absurdity of the statement from this standpoint, let's look at it from another perspective. Gov. Pawlenty says (a week before tax day) that the President should cut taxes, because that would save money. Granted, the Republican Party's response to EVERYTHING, be it a budget surplus, a budget deficit, a hangnail, Huey Lewis and the News, or dust mites is to cut taxes, so this is no surprise in and of itself, but let's consider who gets tax cuts? The majority of working class families (and I want to say over half of all Americans of taxpaying age) pay no taxes, indeed, many families (you may be one of them) actually gets money FROM the government every year at tax time because of their financial situation. So cutting taxes for them is taking away from zero, or taking away from a negative. Tax cuts here do nothing to help. The tax cuts then would have to go to the top half of wage earners - remember, there's already been tax cuts for many of these Americans, so I'm not sure where Gov. Pawlenty is going with this. Perhaps he's arguing for a trickle-down type proposal, because we've seen how effective that's been over the past 30 years. The problem is, there's no increased revenue, because the super-rich who get these tax benefits don't spend the money; rather they hoard it, which means there's no flow for a trickle to stem from. Instead, what ends up happening is more money is distributed to fewer people, many of whom didn't earn what they have in the Horatio Alger sense, rather they got as a result of a trust fund or private school connections. So they can't POSSIBLY be the object of Governor Pawlenty's statement.

No, the real object of the statement is the headline - getting some fiscal conservative rhetoric out right before tax time so that the Average Joe the Plumber "knows" who's "working" for him.

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