The aptly named Princeton economics professor and occasional Wall Street Journal editorializer Alan Blinder has offered up entirely predictable nostrums about the farcically named Inflation Reduction Act's tax increases, in the entirely predictable progressive style. That is to say, smug condescension.
Those of a certain political bent rarely meet a tax they don't like. After all, their idea of government boils down to "tax, borrow, spend, and subsidize," with a nice fat vig skimmed off the top to feed the big, sloppy machine that is government. So, even with the economy in recession (their denials are as farcical as the title of their latest boondoggle), their remedy is the usual: Soak the wealth-creators a bit more, so that favored industries and constituencies can be larded, scales can be tipped, and they can look like they've "done something."
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Nothing seems to outrage leftists more than people finessing the rule books they wrote. This makes minimum tax laws their favorite bad penny, no matter the messes that past versions made. Their latest scheme to squeeze some more money out of Big Business is a minimum tax on book profits, presumably because they think there's some sort of subterfuge in there being differences between what's reported to shareholders and what's reported to the IRS. That such differences are the product of the rulebooks they themselves wrote is an inconvenient fact that undermines their outrage-stoking smokescreen. This "Schumer-Manchin" tax, as WSJ dubs it, hits policies, such as accelerated depreciation, that they themselves supported and advanced, and will certainly create financial chaos.
There's rarely good logic or economic soundness in such giant economic interventions as this "Inflation Reduction Act," even if we ignore the intent telegraphed by the title and simply consider what it's trying to do. It's two-thirds of a trillion dollars of spending, a figure that's monstrous beyond comprehension, but artfully "much smaller" than the previous behemoths that, thankfully, didn't get enacted.
If our leaders wanted to reduce inflation, they'd immediately cut back on spending by canceling a lot of what's been authorized and appropriated but not yet disbursed. They'd simultaneously take their boot off the neck of the oil and gas industry and cut taxes, so as to spur economic activity so that productivity could catch up with the vast expansion of the money supply they foolishly brought about.
But, when your heart's deepest desire is Other People's Money, such actions are akin to chewing hot asphalt. They live to tax and spend, and to that end, are always seeking creative ways to squeeze more blood from the taxpayer's stones.
Alan Blinder validates Colbert's observation in dismissing the GOP's hisses about these new taxes:
The trick is to make the tax bite a nibble, not a sloppy mouthful.
On top of that, there's the usual garbage about job creation. When does government taking productive capital out of the economy, burning some of it on overhead, and dispensing the rest per a political agenda "create jobs?" Perhaps memorizing Bastiat's Parable of the Broken Window should be mandated for all politicians and political economists.
The Democrats feel an urgent need to "do something" ahead of a looming midterm electoral wipeout. Since the only something they seem to know is tax-and-spend, here we are.
My response is in the title.
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