When is a tax cut not really a tax cut?

When it has the same incentives as a handout or ransom note.

One of the problems with American politics, or politics anywhere, is the politicians tendency to ingratiate their status with voters by appearing to give folks gifts of the voters own money.  Such things sound great on the campaign trail.  They all essentially boil down to:

I put more money in your wallet.  If you would like me to keep doing that, vote for me.

That’s what I thought when I heard about the ridiculous two-month extension of the payroll tax cut.  What politicians are really saying when they extend a tax cut for two months at a time is:

I will continue holding your wallet hostage.  The ransom is your vote for me.

Or…

I want you to feel dependent on me, vote for me.

While I’m usually for tax cuts, I don’t care much for tax cuts designed intently to increase politicians’ (real or perceived) power.

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2 thoughts on “When is a tax cut not really a tax cut?

  1. Seth:

    “One of the problems with American politics, or politics anywhere, is the politicians tendency to ingratiate their status with voters by appearing to give folks gifts of the voters own money. Such things sound great on the campaign trail.”

    “While I’m usually for tax cuts, I don’t care much for tax cuts designed intently to increase politicians’ (real or perceived) power.”

    Political constituency exercises by and for politicos. Politicos, through the mechanism of government, by the use of other peoples’ [including you] money, purposely build a dependent constituency. A grand illusion of the political class.

    Frédéric Bastiat knew the score in the mid 1880’s:

    “Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.”

    “People are beginning to realize that the apparatus of government is costly. But what they do not know is that the burden falls inevitably on them.”

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