For a long time, Massachusetts has been known as “the bluest state” — it’s utterly and completely dominated by the Democrats. They hold the entire US House delegation, one of the two US Senate seats (the Republican-held seat had been occupied by Ted Kennedy for almost 50 years), every statewide elective office, and over 85% of each of the state Houses.
Naturally, it’s a disaster.
But it’s proving to be an exceptionally valuable disaster — it’s showing us just how the Obama regime policies play out when implemented. Their health care coverage plan — “RomneyCare,” a form of ObamaCare — is bankrupting the state and actually proving to provide worse care and coverage for the people. And now we have another microcosm of a national debate going on there.
Last year, Massachusetts chose to raise its sales tax from 5% to 6.25% — a full 25% increase. Further, they extended it to cover alcohol sales, which were already taxed separately — which means that consumers were now paying taxes on taxes. (The sales tax was based on the final price of the booze, which included separate taxes. Nice little racket there.)
Well, the people of Massachusetts are revolting. (Yes, I meant that.) They’ve put a question on the ballot that would cut the tax back.
And how pissed are the people of Massachusetts? Pissed enough that they aren’t looking to just undo the tax hike — they want to cut it back to 3%.
The argument from the big government crowd is that the state simply can’t afford the tax cuts, especially during a time of economic crisis.
Gee, sound familiar?
Let’s look at the rationale behind that. It reflects a mentality that should be utterly abhorrent to most people.
The only way the government “can’t afford” a tax cut is if the government believes a tax cut reflects money flowing from the government to the taxpayer. And that is only possible if you believe that whatever the taxpayer earns is the property of the government, which deigns what percentage to pass back to the earner.
What the Globe is saying here (and they speak for many liberals on this) is that the government can’t afford to let you keep more of what you earn, and has to take more and more from you.
It’s a fundamental, philosophical point: are tax cuts a gift from the government, or the taxpayer keeping a larger percentage of what they earn?
In England, they’re considering a move to make that contrast much starker: instead of employers paying withheld taxes to the government, they should just pay the entire salary straight to the government, which will then do a direct deposit to the employees — after they take their cut, of course. (Hat tip to He Who Needs No Linkage, who himself noted that he needs to shut up more.)
So, here we have Massachusetts looking at cutting the sales tax, while the big government statists blather on how they “can’t afford” to stop taking so much money from the people. And the vote (which possibly won’t mean anything — the state government has a history of ignoring the results of public referenda they don’t like, and the people be damned) will be coming down less than two months before the Bush tax cuts expire.
Whenever I hear the argument that “we can’t afford tax cuts,” I am very nearly inspired to violence. The notion that we, as a society, “can’t afford” to let people keep their own money is as close to obscene as I have ever heard.