Math is a generally rigid principle. In fact, with the exception of Baseline Budgeting, IRS worksheets, and the 172 million jobs that Maxine Waters said we would shed due to sequestration, math is fairly undeniable.
Which brings us to the curious case of modern day progressives: Progressives are otherwise bright people who seem incapable of grasping fundamental concepts such as human nature, mathematical frameworks, or historical precedent. They are people who feel ideology and liberalism can somehow wish away the foundational issues that plague America’s economic “recovery.”
Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana), Nancy Pelosi (D- Socialist Republic of California) and even Barack Obama (Campaigner in Chief) have suggested that the only thing standing between economic collapse and economic prosperity are a few dollars held by greedy rich people on Wall Street. Revenues, we are told, must be included in any deal to reduce the deficit. Revenues are required to “invest” in our future. New revenue, the Leftists cry out, must be considered if America is to climb its way from economic stagnation.
Well, Mr. President, your wish has been granted. According to the Congressional Budget Office, 2013 should be a record year. In fact, the CBO estimates the Treasury will collect a record breaking $2.7 trillion dollars in 2013. Actually - all in all - the last four years have not been all that bad for Government. At the peak of the Recession (“great” or otherwise) revenues stood at $2.1 trillion. And despite an ever increasing amount of federal revenue, America has managed to add an additional $6 trillion in National debt over that same time period.
Deficits are on pace to continue near record highs as well – at the same time we take in record amounts of revenue. So. ... Are revenues really the problem?
But what about those greedy rich people? You know the type: those selfish Atlas Shrugged reading capitalists that separate otherwise frugal consumers from their hard earned cash? Well it turns out that even evil CEO’s have been paying record amounts to the nation’s most feared collection agency- the IRS.
The evil One Percent of wage earners who are routinely targeted by this President and his (ironically) rich friends are paying an average effective tax rate of 35.5 percent. That represents a 30 year high. When presented with hard data, even mathematically challenged - yet still inquisitive - minds could see that the top 20 percent of wage earners are also paying tax rates not matched since 1979.
But we are still supposed to believe we have a revenue problem?
The American people watched as the winning team in last year’s Presidential election campaigned for a more “balanced” approach to deficit reduction. During the end of the Mayan Calendar, when congress was ready to fly full throttle over the “Fiscal Cliff of Doom,” all we heard was that the rich needed to contribute to the treasury more of their legally acquired wealth.
And even now, as sequestration brings a certain “zombie apocalypse” to the American public’s doorstep, the President and his supporters insist the gap between revenue and expenditures can be bridged by “asking” the rich to pay a little more in taxes. (Because the IRS always “asks” for your money. Doesn’t your 1040ez come with a nice little note signed by Jack Lew or Timmy Geithner that includes the phrase “pretty-please”?)
While some conservatives have practically turned blue screaming about this issue, the media seems mostly compliant in ignoring what normal folk would call “math.” Have there been any mainstream stories about the plan Mr. Obama floated to avert the sequestration cuts? Did CNN report on the $1 trillion revenue plan the White House proposed as a “balanced” approach to deficit reduction? Did MSNBC report on the tax deductions this administration tried to claim were “expenditures” in the tax code? Of course not. When the liberal left talk about revenue generation, they are not really talking about how much the IRS brings in. They are talking about tax rates used to modify behavior or invoke a misplaced sense of fairness. Does anyone really believe the IRS would be the best agency to administer “fairness” of any sort? I didn’t think so.
The first step in addiction counseling is to admit you have a problem. . . Maybe this explains why we are set to have a trillion dollar deficit in the same year we are also slated to have record revenue. Too many people in Washington refuse to acknowledge the problem.
It kind of makes you wonder: Could the Betty Ford Clinic do a house call to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave?
Michael Schaus is a talk radio host, the Associate Editor for Townhall Finance, and the executive producer for Ransom Notes Radio. He is a writer, artist, and political humorist. Having worked in a wide range of industries (including construction, journalism, and financial services) his perspectives and world views are forged with a deep understanding of what it means to be an American conservative. Visit RightWingImage.com for more from Michael.