Last Updated:November 28 @ 07:44 am

Brown: Who's Left Holding The Bag In The Bush Tax Cut Debate

By Floyd and MaryBeth Brown

Debates in DC resemble the movie Ground Hog Day. In the movie, Bill Murray is forced to relive the same day over and over again. It feels like yesterday that Capitol Hill was gridlocked in deciding whether to extend the "Bush Tax Cuts" for just the middle class or for everybody. Now, two years later, Congress is back at it again. No progress is made just endless bickering.

While it was nice to keep some more income when the deal was reached, the compromise unfortunately increased spending. But in the long run, the can was just kicked down the road as mountains of money were added to the deficit.

This debate over who should have their taxes cut overlooks the bigger picture, which is our national debt. It stands in the way of actual fiscal reform from happening in Washington, DC. Adding more taxes by way of not extending the "Bush Tax Cuts" will only strangle our fragile economy even more. And cutting taxes without cutting spending, if you think about it, is merely deferring the increase in taxes to some point in the future. It might be good in the short term, but it is disastrous in the long term.

For a practical example, imagine you spend three times the money you actually have coming in (either as a worker or a retiree). When it comes time to pay the monthly bills, you only think about whether to pay with cash or via credit cards, yet you never even consider reducing your expenses. If you think about it, this is the exact dilemma our government is facing.

When our government cuts taxes without cutting spending (or even worse, while growing spending), as has happened many times in recent history, essentially they are subjecting we the taxpayers to an even greater financial obligation in years to come. It's a political sleight of hand. We've fooled ourselves into optimistically thinking somehow it will be easier to deal with an even bigger problem in the future, or selfishly just leave it to future generations.

There are three different ways deficit spending fleeces taxpayers. First, there is the inevitable inflation of the money supply and subsequent devaluation in our currency when the Federal Reserve "loans" the US treasury money. With a weaker dollar, it costs us all more to pay for groceries and gas. Second, since the Fed made a loan to the treasury, taxpayers are on the hook for said loan. Congress might as well have never cut our taxes in the first place. Finally, there is the interest accumulated on the debt. Arguably, "cutting taxes" while spending the same amount of money is actually raising taxes since the taxpayers will have to pay more in the end than if the government hadn't borrowed the money (and stuck us with the interest) in the first place.

It's time to dispense with the terrible, selfish marketing gimmick that became popular in recent years, "it's all about me." This short-sighted and immediate gratification thinking has led to the gigantic mess America's in now. Spending increases should be fought tooth and nail, and Democrats need to agree to actual spending cuts next year, not over a ten year period as agreed to by both parties on last year's so-called "supercommittee". Otherwise, our children and grandchildren are left holding a hefty bag filled with not only a higher national debt to pay off, but a higher tax burden as well.


©2012 Floyd and Mary Beth Brown. The Browns are bestselling authors and speakers. To comment on this column, e-mail Together they write a national weekly column distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Floyd is also president of the Western Center for Journalism.

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  1. billwvComment by billwv
    September 24, 2012 @ 1:07 pm

    The politicians in this merry-go-round are like a termite in a yoyo. They were for it just before they were against it. We have a deep, deep hole that we need to be trying to get out of; only to allow the treacherous political sleight-of-hand to take charge. The deficit to the Dems is to ‘never do today what you can delay for 10, 20, 30, or 40 years. Someone MUST put a handle on this run away [spending] train before we end up completely wrecked.

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    • bizzybuzzerComment by bizzybuzzer
      September 24, 2012 @ 2:32 pm

      And that handle is at the voting booth. Some don’t have handles, I know mine doesn’t, but I think you get my drift.

      Looking at the charts of the numbers who voted compared to the number registered to vote pretty much tells the story.
      Those wanting something for nothing according to the charts, usually get out and vote. Bad for Republicans who believe that if you don’t work you don’t eat.

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    • KAHR50Comment by KAHR50
      September 24, 2012 @ 3:39 pm

      It is not “if you don’t work you don’t eat”. It is “if you choose not to work you do not eat”.

      There is a very big difference in the philosophy of those two statements

      The driving force of our fiscal crises is “you can choose not to work and we will take care of you” which is an unsustainable idiotic philosophy.

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  2. nmleonComment by nmleon
    September 24, 2012 @ 4:50 pm

    “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.”
    ― Alexis de Tocqueville

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  3. gpl1096Comment by gpl1096
    September 24, 2012 @ 8:37 pm

    As conservatives, we must go back to a few bad habits that got us into this mess. In WW2 and Korea, we were asked to sacrifice, and we did, both on the battle field and on the home front. We paid with our lives, our dollars, and our bonds. We seem to have forgotten that sacrifice and send boys off to two wars with a credit card and an IOU slipped into the social security account drawer. Did you call your congressmen and insist that this be paid for in the budget instead of an off budget appropriations bill? So now, just in time for Christmas, our layaway bill is due and we are upset? Get with it and pay the bill with the cash out of your pocket that you were not willing to use when we were sending our men to war.

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  4. Pingback: Letting the Bush Tax Cuts for the Rich Expire Won’t Hurt Job Growth – Mother Jones Bush Taxcuts Union Consulting

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