Long live big government!

By Jeff Madrick

By Salon Staff

Published June 26, 2001 10:58PM (EDT)

Read the story.

Big government doesn't solve anything. The waste that goes on in our federal government is astounding and it just keeps getting worse. This tax cut, and hopefully many more like it, are the only things we can do to get the federal government beast under control.

The article mentions that the tax cut (much too small, in my opinion) may cut into some social programs. This is actually a good thing. There are countless "social" programs in place today that do nothing but waste money. Cutting these useless, wasteful (and, at the federal level, completely unconstitutional) boondoggles will more than make up for any deficits in useful programs.

It must be remembered that taxation is morally equivalent to extortion (don't pay, go to jail) -- a necessary evil. We the people, not a large, bloated bureaucracy, can best decide how to spend our hard-earned dollars.

-- Joel Goodall

Finally, an article that puts the tax cut in historical perspective. We are losing ground on the world stage in our ability to educate our kids and our ability to keep our citizens healthy. At the same time, the U.S. boisterously ignores the environment by decrying the Kyoto agreement, all as our "leader" plays the violin.

Beyond this one article, when will the press wake up?

-- Jim Cady

I would love to know precisely how big Jeff Madrick thinks government needs to be. I currently advance 26 percent of my income to state and federal government programs, much of which is obligated to entitlements for citizens above a certain age; some more of which is obligated to corporations able to procure the services of lobbyists far too expensive for my limited budget; more of which is obligated to glorified trade schools that train other people's children; and some more of which ... well, I could go on and on.

My feeble little paycheck is the less for medical insurance my employer pays, although I am still required to offer a copayment for any services I require. When I travel, I pay up to 18 percent (occasionally more) in hotel and car taxes, excise taxes on airline tickets, user fees for public services to which some of my tax dollars have already been distributed ... again, I could go on and on.

Now I don't mind supporting little old senior citizens, knowing I'll be in a position to need the assistance someday myself. I wish I was paying for a better education system, but I realize that somebody has to babysit the tykes while both parents are out earning the income to pay their taxes. And I don't mind terribly being responsible for my own healthcare. However, I think that with the endless government involvement in the healthcare system, someone ought to have come up with something a little better than the expensive mess we have now.

I don't support Bush's tax cut, but only because it was targeted to the wealthy at the expense of the poor. Sorry, but I want that money in my pocket for a change. Trust me, based on my experience, Bush has a point: I do know better what to do with the money. Hell, I'd go out and resurface the roads, educate the kiddies and take care of the seniors myself. Unfortunately, I have to hold down a job to pay taxes, so I simply haven't the time.

-- Michael Wardlow

You're right. We could have a bloated government, just like European nations, which have "enjoyed" an economic growth rate of about 1.5 to 2 percent a year for the past decade, while the U.S. economy has roared past them. Europe also enjoys 8 to 10 percent unemployment. Prices are higher in Europe for just about everything because of the VAT and webs of regulations. We could have a nanny state that attempts to provide for citizens, stifling opportunity and economic creativity. We could have corporate welfare to "promote the new economy," where whoever is a big friend/donor to the politicians in power suddenly deserves freebies from the government. America was founded to preserve freedom and independence. Let's not end that with government control.

-- David Nierengarten

Madrick complains about the top 20 percent getting 70 percent of the benefits, but if 20 percent of the people in this country are paying 70 percent of the taxes, they're the ones who should be getting the tax break! You can't give people who aren't paying taxes a tax cut, a simple fact lost on Madrick.

-- Eric Schwartz

Jeff Madrick writes: "So significant are the cuts that over time they will seriously impede America's ability to adopt new social programs, and they may even cut into existing programs." Yes, this is exactly the plan, as set forth by Irving Kristol to Ronald Reagan, if I recall correctly. In semirecent tradition, the Democrats are the ones who get elected by promising people new (or old) programs. Intentionally build up a huge debt, and you dry up the Democrats' funding with which to buy their way into office. Hooray!

Hence the even more recent tradition of profligate Republicans and fiscally prudent Democrats. What a mess.

-- Allen Knutson

Salon Staff

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