Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Thin end of the wedge (taxes, Social Security)

A friend sent a blurb about how when Social Security started, there was all manner of representations made of how little it would cost, how modest it all was, etc. My reply:

Now *here's* something i'd like to have engraved on the foreheads of all

(Interestingly--or not--the exact same kinds of promises were made when the
income tax was introduced: It would only be 1%, and only on the richest 1%
of Americans--those earning over $10,000 a year (when the average worker
earned less than $1000, so that sounded safe).

The Brits talk about "the thin end of the wedge," and mock it. But maybe
it's actually an insight, eh?

Things To Remember Before Supporting Some Bright Idea to Have The Government
Help You:

1. They just want your money. Period. Because you have it -- not your fair
share, not for future generations, not because you owe society--because
you've got it--and they want it. Every new opportunity you give them, they
will turn the proverb about giving an inch and taking a mile into a painful
object lesson. Every time. Never fails. Never has and never will.

2. They can promise anything they want and the next Congress can do anything
it wants. Therefore remember Fulbright's remark in another context: Don't
vote on what you think THIS congress or THIS president (or governor or town
council) will do with the power you concede to them -- vote on what ANY
FUTURE Congress or President WILL BE ABLE to do with it--especially if the
future ones aren't as Wise and Kindly and Feeling Your Pain as the current

3. Notice carefully that there is never an Out clause built into any new,
big, expensive project or tax: If the promises and projections don't work
out, they won't cancel it, they won't reform it (and reformers will be
denounced shamelessly), they will just pile another tax or program or
bureaucracy on it.

4. Whenever a new program is proposed, or a tax to pay for something
wonderful, force yourself to remind yourself who will be running the
program/spending the money: the same knuckleheads who run--pick your
most-hated arm of the government: the Pentagon? (for you liberals) the HUD
(or whatever they are calling the housing and urban dev business these
days), the Post Office, the Social Security Administration, the Foreign
Service, the State Department, the FBI, the CIA, the Congress for that
matter, the Education Department, the Ag Department, the ha ha Small Bus
Administration, the Treasury? Or your local parking tickets admistrator.
THESE are the SAME kinds of people who will run your new favorite bright
idea--they don't import a busload of GOOD people -- they hire from the same
pool that populates the bureaucracies you hate! THINK about that for a
minute. Then remember item 3 above.

A little checklist can be a big help when you go to the polls.

michael mccarthy

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