Mark Calabria

Often when surveying the political landscape here in Washington, one can’t help but be struck by the feeling “is this the most important thing we have to discuss”?  That was my reaction to today’s Politico story on party differences with extending the payroll tax cut. 

The difference, as Politico would have us believe, are that Democrats want millionaires to pay, while Republicans want government employees to bear the costs.  It seems to be the case with whatever the issue is, who pays

Quite simply, this debate between Republicans and Democrats over who should bear the costs of government is completely misplaced.  We should be asking ourselves why the government has such a deep involvement in our lives in the first place.

If the government should not be involved in an activity, how is said activity any more just if its paid for by millionaires or the middle class.  

Would the fact that we have the largest prison population in the world somehow be more just if only more of the cost of it was borne by millionaires?  Would having our failed drug war funded solely by millionaires turn it into a success?  How about the U.S. playing world policeman?  Would we be more loved around the world if our military was funded more by millionaires?  Would we be viewed as honest brokers in the Middle East if our foreign aid was funded by millionaires?  Is having children struck in failing public schools more just if those schools are funded by millionaires?

Here’s my offer to both my Democrat and Republican friends, you let me decide what the size and scope of government is going to be, and I am happy to let you decide upon “who pays”.


Mark Calabria

Mark A. Calabria, is director of financial regulation studies at the Cato Institute.
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