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Thomas Sowell | Fiscal Cliff Debate Is About Size of Government

Amid all the political and media hoopla about the "fiscal cliff" crisis, there are a few facts that are worth noting.

First of all, despite all the melodrama about raising taxes on "the rich," even if that is done it will scarcely make a dent in the government’s financial problems. Raising the tax rates on everybody in the top two percent will not get enough additional tax revenue to run the government for ten days.

And what will the government do to pay for the other 355 days in the year?

All the political angst and moral melodrama about getting "the rich" to pay "their fair share" is part of a big charade. This is not about economics, it is about politics. Taxing "the rich" will produce a drop in the bucket when compared to the staggering and unprecedented deficits of the Obama administration.

No previous administration in the entire history of the nation ever finished the year with a trillion dollar deficit. The Obama administration has done so every single year. Yet political and media discussions of the financial crisis have been focussed overwhelmingly on how to get more tax revenue to pay for past and future spending.


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  • Joel Brothers

    This may sound sort of stupid, but I have a question: We are approaching a fiscal ‘cliff ‘. That means that both Congress, and the White House have failed at their jobs….miserably. Yet, they still get their salaries, and retirements. When a business is failing, people’s salaries get cut, and they lose their retirements, or have them reduced. So why are we still paying these failing politician’s salaries?

    Why can’t we make a law that reduces their salary to the legal minimum wage, and only allow expenses that are absolutely necessary to the performance of their jobs, as long as the US has a deficit?. Whenever the US gets solvent again, then they can have their salaries back.

    If we did that, I’ll bet they’d find a way to solve the budget and deficit problems in a few months. 

    That sounds fair to me.

    The problem today is that politicians seldom ever have to suffer the repercussions from the laws they pass, such as the Affordable Health Care Act. This needs to be changed. Then maybe they will pay more attention to the bills they vote on, or at least read them all the way through before they vote.

    Semper Fi

  • rickjohnson

    We can get past this crisis if we just turn to the experts! We should forget the rhetoric of the White House and instead turn to economic experts. Steve Forbes, known for his economic expertise, has written a letter to Speaker Boehner that puts forth a sensible plan for dealing with this fiscal crisis. No tax increases and no cutting of Medicare!
    Anyways, I’ll post a link to the letter for those of you who are interested.

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