To listen to the news coverage today, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles have become deities. No doubt Barack Obama will be jealous.
The coverage of this Deficit Commission plan is ludicrous. The reporters breathlessly reporting on it are overwrought in ecstasy, but few of them actually understand what they are talking about.
It’s just . . . it’s just . . . bipartisan.
Bend over America. The Bipartisan Ship is coming. Good Lord. Our only moderate saving grace is that the Commission does not have the votes to make the report “official.”
Look, the plan has some good ideas. Getting rid of tax exemptions that were obtained by lobbyists for the privileged few is a good idea. Getting rid of the home mortgage deduction would amount to a huge tax increase, though it is arguably offset by lower overall rates.
Some conservatives will argue that scrapping any tax exemption for any group is a tax increase. But many of those tax exemptions and deductions were obtained by big business to put them at a competitive advantage to competing entrepreneurs who can’t afford the lobbyist. I’m in favor of getting rid of those.
Likewise, the quest for these exemptions and deductions has had a corrupting influence within the conservative movement as businesses pay conservatives to support particular tax exemptions and deductions regardless of the merit. Some of the most vocal critics of streamlining the tax process in this country are coin operated conservatives who profit from lobbying for individual exemptions to benefit individual companies at the expense of everyone else.
Bringing less complication and inequity to the tax code is a good thing and is arguably very pro-growth.
But that’s about the sum of the good in the plan. The plan does not take on Obamacare, which we already know is unsustainable and will lead to ruin.
Likewise, the Deficit Commission presumes we will have long term higher taxes in relation to GDP than we have historically had and also presumes we will have a much larger government that we’ve historically ever had.
That is both foolish and unacceptable. No conservative can support a plan that presupposes the last decade’s excessive government spending as the norm. The presuppositions of this plan are fatal to ever reining in government and reducing the burden of government on Americans. Likewise, those presuppositions are premised on the fallacy that tax increases will not affect the behavior of taxpayers.
Supporting this plan supports the idea of the leviathan. And let’s make no mistake about it. If this plan passes we’ll be back at this in ten years. Why? Because any plan that presupposes the federal government can continue to play the role of the leviathan in all areas of our lives presupposes that the leviathan must continue to be fed from all areas of our lives. The leviathan’s hunger cannot be contained unless we have the will to gut it.
The only way to truly reduce the deficit is to get Washington to get out of our lives, privatize social security, and hand back the power of education, health care policy, and transportation to the states.