This year, the conversation about cutting spending and services reached a crescendo not only in N.H. but across the nation.
The state instituted massive cuts that can be seen broadly across the spectrum of society, including here at Keene State.
The federal government also saw massive spending cuts but no raise in taxes; we even saw the opposite happen as the Obama administration pushed for tax cuts for small business.
The federal government’s problem almost reached a boiling point when it came within days of shutting down. Although we saw massive cuts, we still have a long way to go. This leads me to ask, how far can we go with our current tax structure?
A little more than ten years ago the Clinton administration handed the Bush administration a budget surplus and a budget that would end our debt by the year 2010. Bush, who had different economic policies than the Clinton administration, believed that instead of continuing to cut the debt we should institute broad tax cuts. Statistics now tell us that although a majority of Americans believed that the wealth and income gap was a problem, they also believed, like Bush, that tax cuts that benefited the wealthy would trickle down to the rest.
Well ten years and over a trillion dollars later, we can see whether or not the tax cuts actually worked, and all signs point to no.
The poor actually now have less money, while the rich have more.
Over the past ten years our economy has crashed and the government has been scrambling to pay for two new wars on top of paying for the tax cuts and everything else.
When a family has a financial crisis they do two things: cut spending and try to find ways to bring in money. The federal government has to operate in the same way. Tax rates on the rich, individuals making $250,000 a year and families making $350,000 a year, are at record lows and a 3%-5% increase on them alone would bring in almost a trillion dollars.
This seems like common sense to me and apparently according to a new poll, 73% of the American people, including 66% of Republicans, said we should raise taxes on millionaires or enact President Obama’s “Buffet Rule.”
The counter-argument to this is the fact that 50% of our population doesn’t pay any income tax. This sounds like a staggering figure, until you look at the fact that virtually every one of those households make less than $40,000 a year.
I personally find it deplorable that in the richest country in the world we have close to 25% of our households living on $20,000 a year or less, but what upsets me even more is the fact that some are willing to tax these people before they tax those who can afford it.
That is not what America stands for and represents.
In the end cutting government spending is important, but it must be coupled with the end of the Bush Tax Cuts if we are serious about wanting to tackle our national debt.
It is only when we do these two things together will we be able to have progress on this problem.
Jordan Posner can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org