On Twitter this morning an interesting back and forth went on between Markos Moulitsas, founder of the Daily Kos, and a few politics enthusiasts, a conservative or two among them.
Moulitsas pointed to an article at Mother Jones taking issue with the claim red states get more in tax dollars than they pay in. I haven’t picked the figures apart, so I can’t vouch for the accuracy of that claim. Accuracy isn’t really relevant to my argument on this matter anyway.
Moulitsas Tweeted: “Why won’t red states pay their fair share?”
My response is similar to the one President Barack Obama gave to a reporter who asked the then-junior senator whether he had inhaled when he smoked pot.
Obama said something along the lines of, “That was the point.”
One flaw in the Mother Jones article must be noted. This statement is in conflict with reality:
“As a recent New York Times article documents, even as fiscally conservative lawmakers complain about deficit spending, their constituents don't want to give up the Social Security checks, Medicare benefits, and earned income tax credits that provide a safety net for the struggling middle class.”
Social Security and Medicare are not given by the government. Both are paid for by worker and employer. Americans cannot opt out of having that money withheld from a paycheck.
I take issue with any politico, regardless of ideology, who presumes the government is giving us anything with Social Security or Medicare. We have no choice on paying into these programs. We are not permitted to invest our own dollars in alternate programs even if we are willing to take that risk. So just take those alleged perks off the debate table. The NYT should know better, but I gave up on making sense of most of what I read in that publication years ago.
On the larger question of earned income tax credits and safety nets, it is quite possible red states get more dollars. As a fiscal conservative, I believe that is a great thing. Conservatives do not like taxes. This conservative does not believe anyone who has not paid taxes deserves money to be rerouted through the government from someone who happened to arrange his or her life so that s/he made more money than another. Furthermore, many people in low income quintiles have income that is not reported. That is fine by me. If you’re willing to take the risk, I applaud your gain.
Moulitsas’ question perfectly illustrates the inability of the federal government to micromanage the affairs of 50 states and outlying territories. Or, as our president once said, “57 states.”
I’d ask the Daily Kos founder this: Do you honestly believe a bloated government that permitted employees to spend almost $1 million on a conference in Las Vegas can ever ensure fairness?
If the Left pays more in than they think they’re entitled to draw out, that’s just too bad.
Fans of Kos love the idea of taxes and especially taxing the well-to-do even more. By Moulitsas’ reasoning, those of us who actually pay taxes in should receive more than those who don’t.
If the Left ends up not getting as much out of the deal as they expected, well, all I can say is that is the point, Mr. Markos.
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/April 13, 2012)
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