Monday, June 6, 2011

Why Republicans Oppose New Taxes

The front page of the Washington Post online leads with the headline story, "For GOP, no new taxes — and no compromise." The article is a thinly-disguised anti-Republican propaganda piece pretending to be analysis. It goes something like this. Back in the old days the GOP used to be fiscally responsible, but today's Republicans are unreasonable, blind ideologues who oppose all tax increases for no good reason that we can possibly imagine. How did this rigid orthodoxy on taxes come to be? And look, here are some "good" Republicans who agree with us.

Since it is not really any sort of objective analysis, the article fails to point out the main reasons Republican oppose tax increases, even ones that will supposedly help reduce the deficit.

1. There is no evidence that giving the government more money will help reduce the deficit, instead of just giving it more reasons not to cut spending. There is no political will to pass even the most modest spending cuts.

2. Democrats do not want to cut spending, with the exception of defense. In fact, most Democrats want to spend more money on social programs, government schemes that supposedly stimulate the economy, and all sorts of other things. When you are the party of big government, cutting government spending strikes at the heart of your political philosophy.

3. The large budget deficit and astronomical debt are the only reasons why much of the political class even gives lip service to ideas about fiscal responsibility. If they are provided with new tax revenues, there will then be no impetus to address our long-term fiscal situation. They will gladly pretend they are addressing the problems, while gleefully finding new ways to spend the increased taxes. In the absence of any serious resolve to cut government and limit spending, giving the government more money is clearly counterproductive.

In summary, since the political class as a whole, and the Democratic Party in particular, is still not serious about addressing the deficit, let alone the debt, there is simply no reason to increase the tax burden on Americans. All that will do is give the government more money to spend, which will preserve and strengthen big government. Far from being some sort of irrational, blind orthodoxy, Republican opposition to tax increases is based on reason, and an accurate assessment of political reality.

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