Journalists: Heelers For Big Government

When journalists write about taxes, you ask three things: Do they understand math, do they understand government, and do they understand human nature?

Nearly every column published about income taxes is pregnant with the bromidic liberal myths of our age: taxes are too low, the rich get unfair tax breaks, tax cuts will increase deficits.

And that is because most journalists are liberals, and most liberals view life as a battle between the wealthy and unworthy haves and the penurious and put-upon have-nots.

Allen’s Fantasies

Consider the most recent bilge from the pen of a writer named Jodie Allen, who fancies herself one of the Divinely anointed sent forth to right the world’s wrongs.

In a column for U.S. News and World Report called “Tax Facts – and fantasies,” the lady scrivener finds much wrong with the tax code: principally, taxes aren’t high enough for rich people, and slashing taxes is a bad idea. Now there’s an original thought.

She laments that “the top 1 percent of households reaped 21 percent of national income,” and that “if the prosperous find their tax load too heavy, they can always lighten it by settling for less income – though I know of few recorded cases of this phenomenon.”

Actually, if liberals find their tax load too light, they can increase it donating 100 percent of their income to the government, though I know of no recorded cases of that phenomenon.

Anyway, Allen makes the usual, pointless complaint that wealthy taxpayers get the most out of a tax cut. Then, citing the “business-backed Committee for Economic Development,” which no one has ever heard of, she claims the “10-year deficit could climb to $5 trillion” if the Bush tax cuts go through.

Most Americans, she concludes, think taxes are “about right.”

About Wrong

Most of us who understand the GOP don’t much care about the Bush tax cuts because they are only a mild palliative that will not cure the nagging pain of big government. The only permanent remedy is amputating three quarters of the federal Leviathan’s many appendages. Government must go, and so must the income tax.

Still, we must explain why the Jodie Allens are wrong. Instructing the ignorant is one of the corporal works of mercy.

Generally, rich people have a higher share of the nation’s income because they are either the hardest workers or produce the most wealth. Wealth produces jobs, like those in Allen’s building, including her own.

As well, rich people benefit most from a tax cut because they pay most of the taxes. And tax cuts only increase deficits if government spending stays the same or increases. Liberals always assume the latter. Indeed, they do what they can to ensure it, and conservatives help them.

Are taxes “about right?” Actually, they’re “about wrong,” and not because we can’t pay them. They are wrong because they fortify an unconstitutional bureaucracy and corrupt political class at the expense of American liberty.

Of course the poor and middle class want to tax the rich. That’s called envy. It invigorates the collectivist urge, which is why Allen and her ilk encourage it.

Do They Get It?

Like most of what we read about taxes and government, Allen’s column is another crock of liberal nonsense, yet more proof liberal journalists just don’t get it.

Or maybe they do. Maybe they’re just heelers for Big Government.

May 7, 2003

Syndicated columnist R. Cort Kirkwood [send him mail] is managing editor of the Daily News-Record in Harrisonburg, Va.