18 Apr 2011 4/18 Outrage of the Day
Automatic federal tax increases. Congress wouldn’t even have to vote first to make them happen.
That’s President Obama’s idea, and although you may not have heard much about it, the President says tax increases should be automatic if Congress overspends.
The proposal, which Obama calls a “debt failsafe trigger,” would mean constant tax increases in practice, because if our history shows anything, it is that Congress loves to vote for more spending. If the debt failsafe trigger scheme is adopted, Congress will even be able to do so claiming the new spending “will be paid for,” which, by the Congressional way of thinking, it would be.
The problems with this proposal go beyond the obvious concern that taxes would constantly be increasing: the budget wouldn’t even be balanced as a result. The government can’t continually increase subsidies for indolence, and raise the penalties for productivity (taxes), without causing a concomitant flight of formerly productive citizens from the “maker class” into the “taker class.” Which, in turn, would further increase spending, and further reduce revenues.
Would the last taxpayer left please lower the flag at the Capitol?
If we combine such a spiral with the baby boomers’ entry into Medicare and Social Security, as the demographic imperative more or less dictates, President Obama’s proposal would bring the nation to its knees.
For more on this, see commentary by the Cato Institute’s Dan Mitchell or the Heritage Foundation’s Brian Darling, among others.