HILL: Administering medicine to the dead

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., rear, members of the Senate Committee on Finance, are joined by activists as they talk to reporters about corporate price gouging during this period of inflation, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, July 14, 2022. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Thomas Paine wrote in The American Crisis: “To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture.” 

Trying to convince liberal socialist Democrats such as Bernie Sanders, Liz Warren, AOC and President Joe Biden to reduce spending is exactly like administering medicine to the dead.   

Democrats just don’t see any waste in any government spending anywhere ― except in defense or law enforcement. Since the last Southern Blue Dog Democrat left Congress probably twenty years ago, none of them have made balancing the budget a priority. 

They shouldn’t feel too bad. Republicans in Congress and the White House since 2001 have not taken balancing the budget seriously either. All they had to do when in power was hold overall spending growth below 3% annually and our debt would have been half what it is today ― but they couldn’t even do that. 

At least Republicans have the DNA which should lead them to reduce spending since they supposedly want “smaller government”. Democrats don’t. Their DNA makes them want more government at every turn. 

If Democrats ever get any inclination to balance the budget, they are left with one option to balance the budget ― raise your taxes. 

Elected representatives and senators have to cut the rate of growth in spending or raise taxes to balance budgets. Generating more tax revenue from robust economic growth works but only if overall spending is held in check. Spending at an 8% clip when economic growth is only at 3% will never balance the budget. 

Democrats always say they can pay for any new program such as Obamacare or BBB by raising taxes solely on the super-wealthy. That is an out-and-out lie. There are not enough wealthy people to tax to death to cover annual $1 trillion deficits without any new spending. Super-wealthy people hire the best tax lawyers and accountants on the planet to minimize their tax exposure or they move their assets to a tax haven such as the Cayman Islands. 

One option Democrats could take would be to eliminate every tax deduction in the tax code which, on paper, would raise trillions in tax revenue. No more home mortgage interest deductions. No deduction at the corporate level for employer-sponsored health care plans or retirement plans. 

Eliminating the tax deductibility of the 17 largest tax deductions in terms of income protected from taxation would yield over $1 trillion more in additional tax revenue going to Washington annually. Problem solved ― except for the fact no one could deduct home mortgage interest or have employer-sponsored health care going forward. No more deductions for charitable contributions to any non-profit or church. No favorable tax treatment for capital gains or a stepped-up basis for valuation of assets at time of death. 

Want to see a revolution? Try eliminating the home mortgage interest deduction or reducing the generous standard deduction now taken by close to 90% of all taxpayers on their tax returns. 

There are 157 other federal tax deductions Democrats could eliminate which would yield possibly another $1 trillion in annual tax revenues. It will take at least $1 trillion per year to pay off our current national debt over the next thirty years, assuming Congress doesn’t go on any more spending sprees between now and then. 

Another way liberal socialist Democrats can tax their way to balance the budget is to raise tax rates on everyone, including the rich.  

In order to raise another $1 trillion annually to balance the budget, liberal Democrats would have to raise tax rates by 9% on every tax bracket. This would include the 61% of American taxpayers who currently pay zero income taxes due to standard deductions and earned income tax credits.  

How does that sound so far for everyone who voted for Biden and left-wing socialist Democrats in 2022? The list for more tax hikes goes on and on but for the sake of everyone’s sanity, we will leave it there. 

The bottom line is uber-liberal socialist Democrats will never balance the federal budget. Thomas Paine would have to wonder whether any voter who voted them into office has renounced the use of their reason and logic as well.