Curbing government spending starts at ballot box

Freedom Newspapers

April 15 — traditionally the most dreaded day of the year since it’s the deadline for filing income tax returns or extension requests — has past. The pain we all feel from heavy taxation remains.

This caused the populist Tea Party movement to arise last year. Hundreds of thousands of people rose up in protest. In Texas, even Gov. Rick Perry added his own voice to calls for the state to secede from the Union and its high levies.

The movement has only grown bigger — and angrier — in the past 12 months.

Even as growing numbers of people feel the weight of taxes getting heavier, the Obama administration continues to insist that 97 percent of all Americans enjoyed tax cuts in the past year. But how many of us have felt those cuts ourselves?

The administration points to such programs as the Work Pay Credit and higher earned income and child tax credits. They conveniently don’t add in other taxes that were added to offset those reductions.

In addition, the government is shifting its assessments from direct taxes to indirect charges and fees. They aren’t called taxes officially, but they still are charges the people must pay.

As government spending skyrockets, the need for money to pay for federalized health care, “green energy” initiatives and other programs grows right along with it.

In order to raise that money without invoking the dreaded “T” word, our government already is looking for creative accounting methods. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, who is now a special financial adviser to the president, have both said that with the growing need for revenue amid a continued recession, all options are on the table.

Lots of options already have been thrown onto the pile. They include new energy charges and “sin” charges on fast foods and other “unhealthy” food options. Officials are still looking for ways to tax Internet use.

Speaking to the New York Historical Society this month, Volcker said the likelihood is growing that the government will implement a value added tax. Pelosi also supports this levy.

All these things are, in government parlance, not direct taxes on the American people, but charges on products and services — which the people pay anyway, at the cash register.

Value-added taxation hides the charge from the consumer while still imposing it. Simply put, businesses that produce goods or provide services are taxed according to the calculated value they add to whatever they produce. Each company along the production process is charged for its share of the cost increase. Of course, the tax is simply added to the final cost, and so the consumer pays it anyway. But since it is part of the price, it is hidden, and even tax-exempt consumers end up paying it.

Obviously, government officials recognize that Americans feel overtaxed. The best solution is not to simply hide and rename the assessments, but to stop the taxation.

Of course, that can only happen if people stop electing officials based on promises of handouts and favors. More voters need to realize that the money that pays for all the government giveaways comes out of their own pockets.

The only way to stop taxation is to stop spending, and that kind of change has to originate at the ballot box.