06 March, 2009

Paying for our benefits

As a mere point of fact: I haven't paid income taxes this year, either—not because I've decided not to include certain forms of income as more and more high-level Democratic party officials seem to have done, but because the child tax credit is refundable. (Form 1040 calls it the additional child tax credit.) I'm still paying some taxes to Medicare and FICA, which through the magic of government accounting methods started by President Johnson means I'm still paying into the general fund.

The president now tells me he wants to increase my benefits, while cutting my taxes by a measly $13 a month. Since this is a cut in the FICA tax, it would apparently apply to me, too. This bothers me profoundly. It's no secret that the president wants to increase my benefits by increasing the nation's debt. The nation's debt will eventually become a burden to my children. Why should I benefit by burdening my children? It would be one thing if the proposed spending were necessary, but regardless of the administration's rhetoric: the vast majority of the proposed increases are not necessary, but wholly gratuitous and political.

So I rather enjoyed the savaging the president's plan received last week on Wait wait, don't tell me. They pointed out that, in a curious reversal of the American dream, we are asking our children to make sacrifices so that we can enjoy a better life, rather than making sacrifices ourselves so that our children can enjoy a better life. In addition, they compared it to a completely dysfunctional marriage:

This week, President Barack Obama announced that next year, under his budget, we will have a $1.75 trillion dollar budget deficit, the largest in history. And the good news is, he says that in four years, he'll cut that in half, to around $600 billion, still larger than it's ever been before now. (Edit: in all fairness to the Obama administration, I don't quite get how this is cutting it in "half" rather than cutting it by "two thirds.")

Now, this is great. It's not great for the economy, but as a model for our future excuses. Let's say, let's say you're cheating on your spouse. You can say to your spouse, "Dear, I can promise that in four years, I will be cheating on you half as much as I will be cheating on you on my business trip next week." And if it works for you like it works for Obama, you'll get a standing ovation.
Yes, we can!

If you listen to the show, you can also hear Bruce Campbell—yes, that Bruce Campbell—beat up on Barbie questions during the "Not My Job" segment, with the same ruthless humor that his characters beat up zombies in B movies.

PostScript: Whoops, I got so wrapped up in the humor of the radio show that I forgot the point. When President Obama talks about a new era of responsibility, I thought he was talking about us, not about our grandchildren. Maybe I'd understand it better if I were a high-ranking, non tax-paying Democratic official, but quite frankly if I really have to put with such an offensive expansion of government, then I'd rather pay my share even at the cost of a reduced standard of living, even by paying higher taxes.

PostPostScript: The remark about the reversal of the American dream may have come from somewhere else, but I'm pretty sure I heard it on that show & I'm not going to re-listen to the whole thing now.

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