Friday, November 26, 2004

Understanding Tax Cuts.

Tax cuts. Everybody loves ‘em. After all, who wants to pay more taxes? Nobody I know, including me. My taxes are too high! Yours too? I knew it! Everybody who wants lower taxes, raise your hand. Wow. Everybody. I mean hey, this is easy, right? We just lower taxes, and we pay less. We keep more of the money we earn. Why wouldn’t we want to do that?

George knows that’s how we feel, and he’ll ensure tax cuts for everybody, even to the point of pushing Congress to make a permanent tax cut the law. What a great idea! Yippee!!!

Okay, so this is really pretty simple. Less taxes means more money in our pockets and less money in the government’s. I think we’re all okay with that, right? Good. Now all we have to do is trim our budgets and we’re all set.

“But Buck” you say, “we’ll have more money in our pockets! Why in the world would we have to trim our budgets?” Well, I wasn’t talking about our individual budgets (which most can’t handle anyway, judging by their overspent credit cards and late fees). I’m talking about our collective budget – the one in the U.S. Treasury. Yeah, that’s our money too – “Of the people, by the people and for the people” remember? That’s what OUR government IS – it’s US, collectively. So yeah, it’s already “your money”, just like George says, even when it's already in the U.S. Treasury (he forgets to tell you that part).

Okay, so how does it work? Well, it’s a budget – duh. It’s just like your individual budget, but with bigger numbers.

Here’s an example: Let’s say you (as an individual) decide you want to buy three million dollars worth of hunting supplies so that you and your best pals can get in a little weekend action and not have to worry about ‘roughing it’ or scrimping on your good times blowing the hell out of shit. You buy a pile of the very best weapons and ammunition you can find, some camouflage suits, a hunting lodge and a mountain to put it on, several ATVs, plenty of gas to run them, and a duck call.

Your friends are overjoyed as you run down to the nearest sporting goods store/real estate agent and write the check, right? What? Not enough money in your checking account? No problem. You whip our your credit card, and just like that, you’ve got yourself a three million dollar SERIOUS hunting setup, and a $95,000.00 per month credit card payment.

Umm… You DO make enough per month to cover that, right? Because that’s what budgeting is all about – taking in as much or more than you pay out – or you’re screwed.

Well, maybe you can’t afford a three million dollar hunting package to hook up all your friends, but you still want enough for yourself, and you’re willing to spend a little less – say, thirteen thousand dollars instead. That’s more realistic.

Okay, so now your payments are only $300 per month. Of course, that’s $300 ADDED TO your current monthly spending for food, shelter, SUV payments and upkeep, insurance, fuel for home and vehicle(s), clothes, internet access, phone, power and cable bills, medical bills, prescriptions, school supplies, printer ink, toothpaste, dog food, plenty of beer and porn videos for the hunting trips, DVDs, CDs, alcohol, drugs and other assorted ‘entertainment’ and, of course, that awesome thing that you just couldn’t walk by without owning one of your very own while you were out shopping for a new laser sight. Feel free to add to the list as necessary. After all, ‘it’s YOUR money’.

Still got enough to cover it all? Good. Now make sure you put some away each month for a ‘rainy day’ because, as you well know, shit happens. (Like, you never know when a three hundred billion dollar war will pop up out of the blue.)

So far, we’ve been talking about the OUTPUT side of your budget – the spending. But, there’s a whole ‘nuther part to this whole ‘budgeting’ thing that we just can’t ignore, or it isn’t a budget. So let’s talk about the INPUT side of your budget – the earnings (or, in government budget terms - “the taxes”). Cut ‘em, and remember, “It’s GOOD to cut ‘em!” (Always say it emphatically)

That’s right, walk into your employer’s office, wherever you are, and say, “Having looked closely at my budget, I’ve decided to spend more on ammunition and weapons and I’d like you to cut my income because cuts are GOOD – President Bush said so, and I believe him. And besides boss – it’s YOUR money.”

There’s a good chance he’ll look at you like you’re stupid, so be prepared. This is your chance to explain even further… “See, I’m all good with a reduced income (taxes), even though I’m going to spend more on ammo and guns (300 billion dollar wars) because – get this – I’m going to reduce spending in other areas of my budget that I don’t really need (Social programs)”.

“Like what?” asks Joe Boss, who’d like to be able to do a trick like that himself. “Well” you say, “I’ll home school my kids when I’m not at work or hunting, which will prepare them fully for careers in either the fast food or hotel maintenance industries (cut education). Also, I’ll tell my parents to fuck off and die if they can’t support themselves without my help (cut social security). And since I’m now armed to the teeth, I don’t give a shit if my neighbors are jobless and starving, since I know I can fend off the crime wave of them breaking, entering, robbing and plundering everything they can find in order to survive when I stop helping them out with a few bucks here and there (cut social services).”

“Hmmm… Tell me more,” he says. You continue, “I’m also shutting down my fire and burglar alarms to save the associated costs, since I can protect myself and I’ve got my own hose (cut fire and police salaries and budgets). On top of that, I’m going to burn all my books (except the Bible!) in the fireplace to save on home heating bills (cut library spending). And if my wife or kids get sick, I’m going to pray really, really hard to heal them (cut medical services). In fact, I’ve got LOTS of great ideas like these that I plan to implement, hopefully over the next four years or so.”

Excited by your own speechifying, you tell him, “This isn’t just some crazy idea I dreamed up either, you know. After discussing it thoroughly in sound bites, my family reaffirmed that I’m THE head of the household and to go right ahead with my plans.”

“Well, actually, my bleeding heart liberal wife and son who studied economics said it was an incredibly bad idea, but my cheerleader daughter and I thought it was great. The baby was the tiebreaker. I simply offered her a shiny new nickel (Don’t worry - I’ll get it back later, with interest, when she’s not looking), flashed a warm and genuine down-home smile, told her about the way her mother flip-flops back and forth in bed while having bad dreams about my future plans for the family, and topped it off with some baby-talk words like ‘nook-yoo-ler’. Then she drooled on herself, so I counted it as a vote for me and my plans.”

Tell your boss a story like that, and I’m pretty sure he’ll cut your pay. In fact, he may even lay you off, which would cut it even more. And it’s pretty easy to figure out that if a little cut is good, a bigger cut is better, so you’ve got that to look forward to also.

Now that you understand tax cuts and the budget, income, bills and spending, and how it all works together, I’m sure you can see what a really good thing it really is. If not, you’re obviously a liberal left-wing radical yellow-dog terrorist sympathizing intellectual who hates your country, and you should pack your shit and move to France. Seriously – you just don’t get it, and you probably never will.

On the other hand, if you DO see what a great thing these cuts are and how they will improve our way of life in America the Free, Home of the Brave, you’re what’s affectionately called a conservative right-wing gun-toting knuckle-dragging dumb-fuck redneck (be proud!), and should clean your gun more often with the barrel pointed straight at your head. Trust me on this one – it’s even better than the tax cuts thing.