The Spectacle Blog

‘How Much Do You Think That I Deserve to Keep?’

By on 9.13.11 | 2:28PM

The best question of last night's debate may have come from 17-year-old Tyler Hinsley: 

The key part: "out of every dollar that I earn, how much do you think that I deserve to keep?"

Unfortunately, the only candidate who was allowed to address this question was Jon Huntsman, who offered a few thoughts on tax reform instead of responding. 

What would be an ideal answer? Maybe something like: "You deserve to keep every cent that you earn. The government is only entitled to collect in taxes what it needs to perform its legitimate functions as specified in the Constitution." Followed, maybe, by a guess at what low, low percentage of income would that would entail. 

It would have been interesting to see Ron Paul field that question. Huntsman wasn't really up to the task, and it's doubtful that Romney or Perry would have been, either. Of plausible presidential candidates, at this point only Mitch Daniels and, especially, Paul Ryan have developed a message suitable for answering a question like that. President Obama, for better or for worse, stands in for the opposing view: you deserve whatever is left over after we've taxed whatever the government needs to pay for the societal priorities I've set for it." 

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