Did I miss the news? Did Iran drop bombs on some oil tankers? The price of gas shot up fifty cents a gallon, and I’ve heard no other reason for it. The price of ethanol from corn is up because of the drought, but that would only account for a nickel or two. So if it’s not Iran, I would like an explanation from Exxon or BP or my old friends at Phillips 66.
There was a time when I joked that we should be glad we don’t get all the government we’re paying for. Well, in fact, we’re only paying for 60 percent of the government we’re getting; the rest is borrowed. For the part of the budget coming from income taxes, 20 percent are paying over 90 percent of it. That seems like a pretty good deal for the other 80 percent.
But President Obama insists the top folks need to pay more. Does he want them to cover 95 percent, or maybe 98 percent? I think he would go over better with this group if he set a dollar figure like a charity telethon. He would say, “Your goal this year is $2.5 Trillion.” Then, once this wealthy group reached the goal they would know they get to keep whatever they have left. Of course, next year he would probably raise it to $3 Trillion.
On the Republican side, Mitt Romney promised to add 12 million jobs in 4 years. That’s 250,000 a month, double what we’ve seen recently. Maybe we should elect him just to see if he comes any closer to his promise than Obama did when he said he would cut the deficit in half.
Mr. Romney wants to cut income tax rates and balance the budget by eliminating deductions and cutting expenses. What deductions does he propose to wipe out? The main ones for the big taxpayers are mortgages, state taxes and charitable contributions, so I suggest those. It will get a howl from those folks, but if you can’t afford the house you’re living in without a mortgage deduction you should have bought a cheaper house. If you can’t survive without deducting state taxes, then convince your state to lower its taxes. I hope you don’t decide to cut back on contributions to charities, but if you do, they’ll learn how to get by with less.
Republicans want to reduce the so-called entitlements. The easy way is to raise the age to receive Social Security and Medicare. Clamp down on fraud in food stamps. Anyone with cable, a couple of flat screen TVs, cars and cell phones can afford to pay for food. We have the safest work environments in the world, yet twice as many workers claim they are disabled. People in long lines to enter the unemployment office amble past businesses with “Help Wanted” signs. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m all for the truly needy. They deserve our help to get back on their feet.
Suppose we convince Congress and the President to cut federal spending, how will we know when it has been cut enough? Here is a good indicator: if the value of houses around Washington DC drops by a third, like it did in Florida, California and Las Vegas, then we’ll know we’re on the right track. I don’t wish any hardship on those folks, but if the government had been operating on a balanced budget, most would never have been hired in the first place. Even some lobbyists might move back to their native states and go to work, if there’s any job they can earn a living at.
Historic quote by Will Rogers:
“We’ll hold the distinction of being the only nation in the history of the world that went to the poor house in an automobile.” Radio, Oct. 18, 1931