Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bathtubs, Bombers, and Basketballs

Here are some things to keep in mind during the unfolding Debt Ceiling Drama:

1. ALL TAXES ARE FLAT IN THE LONG RUN. You may have heard politicians say they want to raise taxes only on “The Rich”, or that 50% of Americans “Pay No Income Tax” at all. Those statements may be true in a political sense, but they are meaningless economically. Think of the total economy as a big bathtub: you can try to take water from only one end, but it will quickly even out after a period of turbulence. If your lawyer’s taxes go up, so will his rates. The same is true for corporations: If ExxonMobil’s taxes go up, you will pay more for gas. Any tax not levied on individuals at an equal rate will create turbulence and the further we get from flat taxes on individuals, the more turbulence we will create in the economic bathtub.

2. TAXES ARE EVEN HIGHER THAN YOU THINK. The rate for all taxes and regulations in the US - federal, state, and local - is currently 63.41%!* That’s right, you only get to keep about thirty seven cents of every dollar you earn! How could you not know this? The reason is Stealth Taxes. Stealth Taxes are everywhere. They are the B-2 Stealth Bombers in our tax code and are undetectable to a voter’s radar. Regulations, payroll taxes, corporate taxes, inflation, unfunded mandates, embedded taxes, and the cost of compliance are just some of the taxes stealthily bombing your economic freedom every day. Somehow though, you do sense this, but while 64% of voters think taxes are too high, only 13% of the political class agrees!**

3. THIS IS ALL POLITICS IN THE SHORT RUN, BUT IN THE LONG RUN ECONOMICS WILL RULE. Think of the laws of economics as you would the laws of physics. In this case, political maneuvers like bailouts, reckless spending, money printing, artificially low interest rates, and an unsustainable tax rate of 63% are like politicians trying to hold a basketball deeper and deeper underwater. These tactics may delay the inevitable for a time, but eventually that basketball will get loose and explode from the depths. When that happens, watch out!

*Source: Center for Fiscal Accountability
**Source: Rasmussen Reports

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