I'm generally in favor of anything that helps Starve The Beast, but I woke up this morning with a different worldview.
We don't need a tax holiday.
We need to start getting a bill in the mail every month, just like we do for electricity, water, trash removal, and credit cards. This one would be for Government.
The Nashville Business Journal has calculated the total bailout package at 8.5 trillion dollars. That's eight and a half trillion dollars, trying to prevent a generic recession. You might remember recessions. We've had ten or twelve of them in the last hundred years. They go away when we leave them alone. They linger when we have a Type-A, Proactive Messiah in The White House. Here's the NBJ:
Federal bailouts, equity buys into banks and investment houses, liquidity infusions by the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank, loan guarantees and economic stimulus checks now total $8.5 trillion, according to various estimates.
....The total includes the $700 billion bank and Wall Street bailout; federal takeovers of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; individualized bailouts for Citigroup and American International Group; and various cash infusions into financial and lending markets. The $700 billion includes federal equity buys into Bank of America Corp., JP Morgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and other financial institutions.
It works out to $28,000 per U.S. citizen that we've either loaned or guaranteed. Got any kids? Got any retired parents? Know any homeless people, people on welfare, or people who just don't pay any taxes? Lump their 28K's together with your 28K, add it up, and give the worksheet to.... your children.
Encourage them to start working very, very hard. Help them develop a taste for Ramen Noodles and Spam. In the meantime, the current Generation Of Swine should have to start making feeble efforts to pay down the deficit every month. Would that alter some elections? Would that change some campaign rhetoric?
Check out the National Debt Clock to your right. They've only added a half trillion to the odometer in the last month or so. Nobody, and I mean Nobody, has any idea how much of this is debt, how much is merely a loan guarantee, and how much is just a friendly transfer of dollars from you to somebody at Goldman Sachs that Paulson knew when he worked there. Or that Rahm Emmanuel knew from Freddie Mac. Or that somebody just wandered in and asked for.
A team of Nuclear Physicists, Forensic Accountants, the cast of CSI, and Stephen Hawking couldn't properly calibrate that National Debt Clock.
So, how are we going to pay for all this? My online acquaintance, Kevin Colby, has posted this gem about Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert. Gohmert wants us to have a "tax holiday" in January and February....
One U.S. Congressman, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), is fighting to prevent more outrageous spending sprees by Washington with taxpayer dollars going to executive cronies.In ordinary circumstances, I believe that The Laffer Curve does apply. You can increase revenue by lowering taxes.
With $350 billion of the $700 billion bailout still available to Paulson pending Congressional approval, a conservative Texas lawmaker is proposing to put that money towards a tax holiday from both personal income tax and FICA tax for Americans during January and February of 2009.
He stated, “By instating a temporary tax holiday, we could electrify the American economy and provide overwhelming relief to taxpayers, all for less than the cost of the current failed Paulson-Pelosi bailout system.”
“We need to give this money to the people who earned it. I am sick of Washington millionaires trying to decide which of their cronies should get the next wad of taxpayer money,” Rep. Louie Gohmert continued. “Think about how much you would have if you didn’t have any social security or income tax withheld from your pay check, or if you didn’t have to pay those taxes for January and February! Americans could take and invest their own money where they believe it should go - to paying down mortgages, buying a new car, making credit card payments. The economy would get relief where it is needed the most."
But we now have a higher calling. It's called "Throwing The Bastards Out".
We should do the exact opposite of what Louie Gohmert is proposing.
Every taxpayer should immediately receive a monthly bill in the mail for his or her share of this giveaway, plus the payback for all other spending, based on a 30-year payoff plan. If 98% of us voted for RepubliCrats, then we should immediately start paying for the consequences.
Employers shouldn't be burdened by having to withold it from paychecks. The current witholding rates aren't remotely enough to pay this piper. We need to experience the pain of holding the money in our chubby little hands, and then handing it over to someone who has a campaign donor in need.
The monthly statement should include a nice, condensed, line-item summary of what the spending is for, with no more than two pages of detail. Just list Goldman Sachs, Fannie/Freddie, Growing Democracy In Muslim Sandpiles, Farm Subsidies For Millionaires, Cooling The Earth, The Ford, Chrystler, and Chevy Lear Jets, etc etc etc.
I also propose that it arrive in a black envelope, stamped with a white Skull and Crossbones, but that shouldn't be a dealbreaker. A plain white envelope sanctified with Ben Bernanke's blood would do nicely.
Chances are, your monthly bill will be for more than you currently earn. That's ok. If the government can operate at a deficit, I'm sure you can figure out a way to do the same.
Tax witholding, tax holidays, and the transfer of responsibility to future generations: these have us in a dream world where we can still pretend like everything is just peachy.
But hear that flute off in the distance, the annoying music that seems to be getting louder and louder? That's the piper, and he WILL be paid.
Poster from The Lazy Slacker, who owes me a bailout, should I ever need one.