Sunday, December 16, 2007

To Raise Taxes, To Lower Taxes, That is the Question

It seems that the Republicans are always about cutting taxes (which generally does help the rich more than the poor) and the Democrats are always about raising taxes (which raises costs for everyone even if supposedly targeting the rich).

The problem, IMHO, is that it is not the amount of taxes that are collected so much as the prioritization of the use of those revenues. We give billions in tax breaks to farmers, industries, home owners, parents, Prius-buyers, investors, etc. Theoretically this is to subsidize those behaviors we culturally and fiscally feel are most critical. In practice, it has become more of an auction to the highest bidder (aka lobbyist) or for show in the continuing quest for reelection.

We need to stop the he said/she said rhetoric of both parties and focus on independent thinking. What should be our priorities as we move forward? What resource options do we have at our disposal to achieve those priorities (e.g., tax base, subsidies, finding the $60 billion worth of supplies we "lost" in Iraq)? What political, social, and business options are there for achieving these goals? What changes to our current tax code may be necessary to fund the selected priorities?

And this should be done transparently so the public fully understands how and why these priorities are being selected. The question is, are any of the candidates capable of independent thought, making the tough choices, and adequately communicating with the public? And more importantly, is the public willing to do the hard work of finding such a candidate and voting for them, or are we simply to vote based on our traditional method of voting for the candidate who panders to our one-note decision-making capacity?