The case for tax cuts could not be more clear. Almost from the moment that Ronald Reagan delivered a sweeping rate reduction in 1981, Democrats and Republicans alike have been working overtime to increase government’s take.
Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole made his career pushing tax hikes, President George Bush agreed to a high tax, big spending compromise with the Democratic Congress, and Clinton mixed a gas tax hike with income tax rate increases in his first budget package.
As a result, Americans now face the highest peacetime tax collections ever, 20.6 percent of GDP. The burden was heavier only once in 1944, when America was fighting in the greatest war in human history.
The constant plucking of the American goose has led to expected surpluses as far as the eye can see. It would seem only fair for the government to begin returning some of their money.
Not in the eyes of Bill Clinton, however. He favors not those who earn money, but those who live off those who earn money.
It should come as no surprise, however, that a politician claiming to represent the people is instead representing vested interests. After all, politics tends to attract people who desire to exercise coercive power for all the wrong reasons. Nobel Laureate F.A. Hayek appropriately titled one chapter of his The Road to Serfdom: “Why the Worst Get on Top.”
Of course, the insight was not unique to him. The Jewish prophet, Jeremiah, warned that people are “skilled in doing evil.” These are precisely the people most likely to gain control of government.
And, they will use their coercive power to tax to do evil. The author of Ecclesiastes declares: “If you see the poor oppressed in a district, and justice and rights denied, do not be surprised at such things. … The increase from the land is taken by all; the king himself profits from the fields” (5:8,9).
Indeed, when the Israelites clamored for a king, the prophet Samuel warned: