It’s not yours to cut

An article in the April 22, 2007 Wichita Eagle by Dion Lefler states: “All together, those [tax] cuts will cost the state $570 million in lost revenue in the next five years, according to the consensus report estimates.”

A statement like this reveals a faulty line of thinking: that the government has a legitimate claim on a large part of our incomes and wealth. Then if, somehow, the government is persuaded to “give” any of that claim back to us, this gift has to be paid for.

It’s the people who “give” tax money to the government, not the government who “gives” it back to the people in the form of tax cuts. If the government cuts taxes, the government gives us nothing. It simply takes less of what is ours in the first place.

Liberal publications with a national audience like The New York Times use thinking like this all the time. It’s very disappointing to see it at home in Wichita and Kansas.

This backwards thinking about taxes was also revealed in reporting by David Klepper in the May 12, 2006 Wichita Eagle: “They [Kansas lawmakers who supported the cuts] consider the cuts a wise, $128 million investment to spur new investment by business, new jobs, more economic activity and, consequently, higher tax receipts.”

In the same article: “Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, who first proposed the business machinery tax cut, agreed. ‘We’re not giving away money for the sake of giving it away,’ she said. ‘I’m hoping that the economic growth will actually help fund the school plan that we just passed.'” (emphasis added)

It is depressing to realize that the Governor of Kansas equates letting people keep a little more of the money they earned with the state “giving it away.”

Furthermore, the true motives of politicians are revealed: they say they are “investing” in tax cuts in the hope that the state will collect even more tax money in the future.

We should be asking this question of our elected representatives: If tax cuts stimulate investment, jobs, and economic growth, why didn’t you cut these burdensome taxes last year?

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