Steve's Blog

Driehaus On Taxes

In this past Sunday’s Enquirer there was a guest column by Steve Driehaus.  In the column he claims that our taxes are quite low, and boasts that we have him to thank for it. 

Here’s the response that I submitted to the Enquirer for publication:


Steve Driehaus apparently thinks we’re a bunch of fools.  In his guest editorial which appeared in this Sunday’s Enquirer, he essentially said we should praise him because our taxes are so low. 

One of the principle reasons many people are paying less federal income tax this year is because they are now unemployed, or underemployed, due to difficult economic conditions.  Instead of pursuing sound economic policies that would start our economy on a road to recovery, Mr. Driehaus has blindly followed his Democrat leadership’s scheme to increase the size of government and reward their political allies under the guise of a so-called economic stimulus plan.

President Obama promised the American people that if his economic stimulus package was passed, unemployment wouldn’t go above 8%.  Well it did pass, and the current unemployment rate in Ohio is 11%, and nationally just under 10%.  But that doesn’t tell the whole story.  The true unemployment rate is more like 17-20% when you factor in those who have given up looking for work, because there just aren’t enough jobs out there, or are working only part-time, or are underemployed. 

Here’s more that Mr. Driehaus didn’t mention in his column.  Taxes are set to go up – through the roof – because of the actions of the Pelosi/Reid Congress.  If Mr. Driehaus and the Democrats in Washington do not act, the Bush tax cuts, which were passed in 2001 and 2003, will expire next year.  That will mean across-the-board marginal income tax increases on everyone who pays income taxes, a reduction by one-half of the child tax credit, higher taxes for married people, higher capital gains taxes, and even higher taxes when you die. 

The so-called health care reform legislation which recently passed Congress will create a whole slew of new taxes.  There are new taxes on individuals, small businesses, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, you name it. 

Mr. Driehaus also failed to mention in his column that he voted for the much-criticized Cap and Trade (Cap and Tax) legislation, which amounts to a new energy tax on every American.  It would mean significantly higher costs to heat or cool your home, drive your car, and would run up the cost on virtually everything you buy.  Fortunately, the Senate hasn’t yet passed the bill, so its fate remains uncertain. 

Mr. Driehaus also didn’t mention that his liberal allies in Washington are seriously considering imposing a new national sales tax on all of us—this new sales tax would be an addition to existing income taxes, not in place of them.  Spending is so out-of-control in Washington nowadays that they’re looking for a way to get their hands on even more of our hard-earned money.  The plan is to have an “independent” commission study the potential options before the election, and then recommend a VAT (Value Added Tax) after the election.  Doug Elmendorf, the head of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), has admitted that his people are already studying it. 

And as for Mr. Driehaus and President Obama’s claim that middle class families are left basically unscathed by the higher taxes, a report released by Dave Camp, the Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee, showed that $316 billion of the $670 billion in increased taxes already passed by Congress over the past year, raised taxes on middle class families, not the wealthy.  So much for Mr. Driehaus’s claim that he is looking out for the middle class. 

It’s interesting that Mr. Driehaus in his column cited a study by Citizens for Tax Justice as his source for his argument that we should all thank him for our “low taxes.”  When a group has the term “justice” in its title, it’s usually a tip-off that they’re a liberal outfit.  It turns out that this group is a “liberal public policy organization” which was founded by, among others, labor unions. 

So what’s the answer?  First of all, the American people deserve to be told the truth.  And the truth is that we are not under-taxed, rather government overspends.  The Stimulus package that Mr. Driehaus supported has stimulated more government, but not more jobs.  Congress passed a trillion dollar health care bill that many of its members didn’t have time to read.  And that’s not to mention numerous bailouts and government takeovers of entire industries.  Enough already.
What should we do?

First, stop the spending.  Next, let’s get the economy moving again by lowering taxes and letting people decide how they want to spend their own money.  Across-the-board tax cuts are preferable to government targeted cuts meant to go to favored special interest groups and influence-pedaling lobbyists. 

And beyond just reducing taxes, let’s really simplify the incomprehensible tax code.  Let’s move to a flatter, simpler, lower, and fairer income tax.  People shouldn’t need to pay an expensive attorney, accountant or tax preparer to figure out what they owe.  And if a national sales tax is in our future (and I’m not convinced that it is) let’s make sure that it replaces federal income taxes altogether, and that it not be added on top of current income taxes, which are already, in my opinion, too high, (despite the fact that Mr. Driehaus might think otherwise). 

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