I knew Ben Stein was an actor and comedian. I did not know he was an economist, pro-lifer, and anti-darwinist. Go figure.
So, I must confess to cherry-picking. I agree with what he says about taxes and feel compelled to note it here:
“…the Republican Party (my party and yours) has for the last 30 years or so been operating under ademonstrably false and misleading premise: that tax cuts pay for themselves by generating so much economic growth that they replace the sums lost by tax cutting.
This would be a lovely thing if true, and the best of all ideas, the “something for nothing” idea. In fact, tax cuts lower federal revenue and generate federal deficits. It is also true that they do stimulate the economy and after a long period of years, federal tax receipts go back to where they were before the tax cuts.”
Wow! A grown up says what needs to be said. And then he goes on to say:
“[tax cuts] shift the tax burden from us to our progeny and add immense amounts of interest expense to the federal budget.”
“…immense federal deficits in modern life are financed largely by foreign buyers of our debt. This means that the American taxpayer must work a good chunk of the year to send money to China, Japan, the petro-states and other buyers of United States debt. In effect, we become their peons.”
We have to spend money in the interest, and the value of our currence declines which makes imports (oil) more expensive which causes inflation.
In other words, there is no free lunch.
Stein’s challenge to McCain is whether he will:
“…keep up the (latter-day) Republican game of make-believe. You can propose still more tax cuts, create still more deficits and add to the debt, and say to yourself, like Louis XV, ‘Après moi, le déluge.’
or do what is necessary: tax the rich. Why the rich? Because they have the money. Again, Stein:
“To put it even more starkly, the government — which is us — needs the money to keep old people alive, to pay for their dialysis, to build fighter jets and to pay our troops and pay interest on the debt. We can get it by indenturing our children, selling ourselves into peonage to foreigners, making ourselves a colony again, generating inflation — or we can have some integrity and levy taxes equal to what we spend. “
No surprise that a Republican wants to balance the budget. The surprise is that he doesn’t think spending is going to decline. And, he acknowledges that we have to pay for some social programs. Nary a mention of ‘starve the beast.’ Nothing about how the old people should have saved for the dialysis machine. Huh. Now, I don’t know how far he’s willing to go on this social program thing. But, this was a bit of a surprise.