Last night on The O’Reilly Factor, Glenn Beck responded to O’Reilly’s stupid idea for a two percent “temporary” national sales tax by proposing an even more asinine idea. Beck suggested a two percent Value Added Tax (VAT) instead, apparently feeling a need to one-up O’Reilly’s ridiculous and naïve idea. After taping the show, they probably left the studio to go play chicken with each other in fast cars on some quiet suburban street full of children.
Clearly, anyone who is not watching the turnip truck drive away while picking gravel out of their posterior can see the flawed logic on display here.
In O’Reilly’s case, the notion that any national sales tax would be temporary, or held at 2% for that matter, is simply ludicrous and is an insult to the intelligence of anyone who has observed politics for more than a month. Furthermore, the very notion of adding a tax like that with the expectation that it will generate any real revenue demonstrates a lack of understanding of how the tax system influences behavior, particularly in a recession.
Glenn Beck’s proposal is equally stupid but has the added feature of making the taxation far more insidious and dangerous. Value Added Taxes, like the corporate income tax so beloved by statists and the myrmidons with whom they play simplistic and dishonest class warfare games, add the far more dangerous reality that the taxes simply get hidden in the prices of products and services, allowing the levitation government to covertly connect yet another tick to the neck of productive America. At least O’Reilly’s idea involves a tax that we can see, though the notion of any tax being “temporary” ranks right up there with the ludicrous idea that ObamaCare will help with the deficit and the economy.
I propose a simpler idea, one that may be too clear for smart guys like O’Reilly and Beck. Let’s stop the spending. At a time when so many Americans are struggling to pay their mortgages or keep their old cars running long enough to get back in the black with their personal finances, a proposal to raise taxes on any Americans is patently absurd. Bill and Glenn, like so many American politicians, sit up on their ivory pedestals without any memory of what it is like to be a regular middle class American.
Furthermore, we need to reduce subsidies to those who were getting a free ride before the recession hit. How much money could we save by canceling the euphemistically named Earned Income Tax Credit and any other tax credit programs that simply transfer money from the productive to the non-productive?
I submit that any increases in taxes right now would only hurt the economy and the Americans who fund our system, and are the equivalent of treating a hangover by imbibing a little “hair of the dog”. Additionally, I humbly submit that since we have so many people hurting who were not societal parasites before this recession, we can longer afford the luxury of continuing to subsidize the lifestyles of people who were living off of us before the economy tanked. For a deeper discussion of which groups get a free ride and which groups are societal parasites in America, check out a piece that I wrote for my other blog titled On Taxes and Socialism.
Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly could really stand to read Milton Freidman’s Free to Choose. They would learn a lot.