More taxes...YEAH!

The Tribune ran a piece this morning (reprinted on line here) suggesting we need to increase federal taxes on alcoholic beverages, mostly beer (The authors are, no doubt, wine drinkers.) A number of points caught my eye about this supposed 'analysis' of the issue.

First, they point out our budget woes. I agree with them that President Bush and his party have not proven themselves fiscally conservative. But the loaded language used made me smile. "Instead of going after the weak, concerned Democrats and moderate Republicans" should do as the authors suggest. If you don't favor their politics, you are "going after the weak." It's affirmative language, an attack. But concerned and moderate (not left-wing, socialistic) people want to increase taxes for spending on social programs.

Then, despite the fact that taxes have remained unchanged or increased over the last several decades, these guys spin it as a tax decrease! They call this "stealth tax cuts." Give me a break. That's like accusing the Republicans of cutting spending when they reduced the rate of spending increases. Do these people have no shame?

They point out that 60 of "America's most prominent economists" called for increases in alcohol taxes. Want to bet that it should read "America's most prominent leftist economists?"

Ok, time for class warfare. Raising taxes on alcohol is fair, according to these guys, because alcohol consumption increases with income. Hmmm. Doesn't really square with my working days at the old Maverick Bar, but let's go with it for now. They also argue that the 20% who drink the most, consume 85% of all the alcohol. So...according to the article the 20% who drink the most are probably also the richest 20%, so let's tax them! Sounds to me like we should all be drinking more, if we want to move up in the world.

The article refers to the "wholesale evisceration of social and health programs." Very alarmist. Note that they do not compare spending trends on, say, the new prescription drug benefit. Do you really believe that our social spending has decreased in the last 10 years? If anyone can show me that it has, please do so and I'll eat my words. (And yes, I mean in real dollars. Don't give me this 'spending as a percentage of annual income' or 'spending as a percent of GNP' crap.)
Don't you love it? They spin the whole point of their increased taxes as focused on deficit reduction, yet it's clear they want to spend every penny (if not more) of the new taxes on social programs. At best their proposal will be revenue neutral on the deficit. So why even talk about the deficit? Because, despite their claims of popular support, they know that the vast majority of Americans favors fiscal responsibility (in government and at home) over more welfare-type social programs. So, for the average guy who doesn't read between their lines, he can agree with them, because he favors deficit reduction.

Let's finish with a bang, a shot at the GOP. "Only political cowardice and shortsightedness" would allow anyone to disagree with these guys. Hmmm.

Is it just me, or do you wonder why they can't make forthright arguments? And why the Tribune prints this stuff?


a-fire-fly said...

My god Gee, The Maverick?
I hate hearing about politicians deciding what to raise taxes on. Cigarettes, gambling, alcohol, the rich people don't care what these things cost and the poor people can't afford to do anything but work! Let's tax money, one time, and leave everyone to their vices.
And lets tell the guys bumming quarters for a fourty ouncer at the gas station that they are about to pay more taxes cuz they can obviously afford it!

GeeGuy said...

Yup, the good 'ol Mav. I used to work happy hour, 8 - 10:00 a.m.