National Debt and Party Taboos

This article (http://wapo.st/HjnHMD) outlines once again the political roadblocks on the road to fiscal sanity.  Democrats deny the reality that the future growth of our social programs and the size of our bureaucracy are unsustainable.  Republicans refuse to raise taxes a dime on anyone, while military spending remains sacrosanct.  I realize that Republicans want to “starve the beast” and have signed “pledges” stating they won’t raise taxes under any circumstances — but at what point do they cut some of the deals that Democrats have proposed where we cut $2 from the budget for every $1 in tax increases?  Doesn’t that at least get us moving in the right direction on the budget?

There is a situation in which I think few would have no issue with paying a slightly higher tax rate, but my hypothetical scenario could only be realized if the current budget were balanced at current tax rates.  I (and possibly others) would be willing to pay a slightly higher tax rate if the taxes over-and-above what I’m paying now went towards paying down the national debt.  I would think of that as investment in my children and grandchildren’s future.  But this remains a distant, hypothetical scenario until our politicians can find a way around their self-imposed obstacles to a solution.

What do you think?  Would you be willing to pay marginally higher taxes if budgets were balanced and the new taxes went strictly to paying down the debt?  Hypothetically, of course.

Full article here:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/the-political-deadlock-over-national-debt/2012/04/05/gIQATo3TyS_story.html

About Elton Conrady, Technical Editor

Elton Conrady is Technical Editor at Media Rostra. As a network engineer, Elton has worked in traditional telecom, wireless, state government, and DoD environments. While engineers are considered dull or nerdy in some social circles, Elton has attempted to be an interesting person -- he has played on a barnstorming basketball team in Europe, worked as a commercial fisherman off Kodiak Island, and lived in Croatia for 4 years. Now that he is "grown up", Elton spends his spare time fishing, camping, and hiking.

Comments

  1. Nick TaylorNo Gravatar says:

    That’s a good question, but it takes such a big jump to the hypothetical side of my mind to answer it.  I’d pay the taxes if they kept the government solvent.  Although that does raise all kinds of questions about whether higher taxes really do bring in more revenue.  

    In my engineer brain I assume there is some optimal tax level (or range of optimal) that simultaneously encourages business and raises revenue.  Both extremes are deadly.  No taxes is a populist dream that will lead to government folding and complete taxation makes us all useless wards of the state.  There’s an answer in the middle there though, and it probably takes some experimentation and history to ferret it out.

    But who cares about data and economics anyway?  It’s a lot simpler to talk about raising taxes on minorities of the electorate while offering plush benefits to the majority of the electorate.  And that makes for a unstable system when that electorate feeds back in.  Given the state of American education, do voters even have the long term interests of the country at heart?  Do the politicians?  I despair for my country at that.