It Was a Scary Halloween — For Anyone Who Doesn’t Love Big Government - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
It Was a Scary Halloween — For Anyone Who Doesn’t Love Big Government
Romolo Tavani/

Progressives hate tax cuts. How can they stop wanting to take a bigger bite out of everyone’s paycheck when they see bigger and more intrusive government as the solution to every real and imagined problem? They will always want … MORE!!!

What daylight was to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, tax cuts are to progressives: a life-awakening force to normal working people that saps their energy and morale. Remember how the bloodthirsty count had to spend long hours inside his own coffin.

Fast-forward from Transylvania, a world lit only by sunlight and fire, to today’s Washington, D.C. How are we doing several centuries later — after just under two years of the most left-wing government in U.S. history since the end of World War Two?

Call it a triple whammy for taxpayers: Real incomes are down, taxes are going up, and so is long-term indebtedness.

I’d say, frighteningly bad. Here are the big reasons. The worst inflation in four decades. A declining standard of living, as incomes haven’t kept pace with inflation. Shortages everywhere. Beggars on the streets and jobs going begging — in all kinds of businesses from big airlines and giant telecommunications companies to local grocers and restaurants, and to self-employed plumbers, handymen, and dog-walkers. All that, plus months of falling stock and bond prices (read: shrinking retirement plans for most people). Today there are growing fears of a deepening recession. Plus one more major problem: In the wake of the defund-police movement, there has been a crime wave that is going unprosecuted in many places.

In our nation’s capital, however, there has been hardly a whisper of regret from top policymakers for the blow-out spending that caused today’s inflation and pushed the national debt up to more than $31.2 trillion, which is 123 percent of GDP. In fact, with its misnamed Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law on Aug. 17, the administration laid out plans for over $400 billion in new spending that will add more fuel to the inflationary fire.

In its ardent pursuit of a zero-carbon future, the administration deliberately brought an extraordinary resurgence of domestic oil and gas exploration and production to an abrupt halt, and bid goodbye to recently achieved U.S. energy independence. As fuel prices surged, the administration petitioned OPEC for additional production and even went hat in hand seeking additional supplies from the hostile states of Venezuela and (shortly before his invasion of Ukraine) Putin’s Russia.

If the administration thinks climate change is the paramount threat to life on this planet, why is it asking other countries to step up their production of fossil fuels while doing everything it can to stifle U.S. production of oil and gas? Isn’t their burning of fossil fuels a bigger climatological catastrophe than ours, given the strict pollution control standards that must be met at coal- and gas-fired plants in the U.S.? Are we prepared to destroy our own economy first in an attempt to set a good example for others, including Russia and China, our biggest military and economic adversaries on the world stage?

The administration points the finger of blame at U.S. oil companies for greed, price-gouging, and “excess” profits. Perhaps it sees the denunciation of Big Oil as a necessary precursor to talking about the things it most wants to talk about. In its own words, the highlights of its plan for a carbon-free future include: “The largest investment in clean energy transmission and grid in American history,” “the building of thousands of miles of new resilient transmission to facilitate the expansion of renewables and clean energy,” and having the federal government “mastermind the building of a [nationwide] network of 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations.”

One can only shudder at the thought of all the waste that may ensue if the federal government is to “mastermind” an endeavor of such magnitude and complexity. Wind and solar have been lavishly supported for decades but still only account for 12 percent of U.S. electrical power generation, and their actual role is much less than that because they are intermittent. Does anyone seriously think that they can come anywhere close to replacing gas and coal as the primary sources of electrical power generation and be equally cheap, reliable, and easy to use?

But it doesn’t end with energy. Nothing better illustrates the current profligacy in policymaking than the president’s recent cancellation of more than $400 billion in outstanding college student loans, which is expected to push the federal deficit to $1.4 trillion for all of fiscal 2022. How could that be? After all, tax receipts for the year were up no less than 21 percent to $4.9 trillion, which is by far the largest federal tax haul ever. Inflation pushed many taxpayers into higher tax brackets, and now they are stuck with the responsibility for paying off the canceled debts of up to 40 million college students. Call it a triple whammy for taxpayers: Real incomes are down, taxes are going up, and so is long-term indebtedness. In spite of paying more money to the government, taxpayers are getting by with less for themselves and still sinking deeper into debt.

Consider the message that government sends when it tells students they can forget about having to repay their debts. It incentivizes young people to spend unwisely, thinking “Even if I waste my time in college it’s no big deal, because I probably won’t have to pay the money back anyway.” In the same way, it incentivizes colleges to go on raising their tuitions, thinking “We can use the extra money, and if our students can’t repay their debts, the government will.”

But nobody wins if the end result is a continuation or acceleration in the upward spiral of college tuitions with no improvement in academic performance. There is a solid body of economic evidence that indicates that increasing subsidies in higher education over the past decade have increased the costs of higher education.

One last word to the wise. Don’t think that this administration won’t raise taxes a whole lot more if it has the chance. For individuals, it has temporarily shelved but not abandoned earlier proposals of significant increases in the top income rate, capital gains taxes, the estate tax, and payroll taxes. For businesses, it has shelved a 7-point hike in the corporate tax rate to 28 percent and higher taxes on international activity.

So how do current policies impact the nation today?

The biggest takeaways are: They suck the vitality out of a well-functioning market and a well-ordered society; they turn things upside down both economically and socially; and they wage war against individual freedom and creativity and champion central planning and collectivist thinking.

Rather than policies that siphon resources from the private sector to government and look upon profit as theft, what America needs are policies that recognize work and investment as the lifeblood of prosperity, and workers and businesses as the true drivers in creating increased opportunity and growth for the greatest number of people.

Andrew B. Wilson, a long-time contributor to The American Spectator, is senior writer and resident fellow at the Show-Me Institute, a free-market think tank based in St. Louis, MO. 

Sign up to receive our latest updates! Register

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: The American Spectator, 122 S Royal Street, Alexandria, VA, 22314, You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Be a Free Market Loving Patriot. Subscribe Today!