Another free lunch?


With just one out of three Americans approving Barack Obama's handling of the economy, the president is anxious to persuade the public that he has a real plan to deal with persistently high unemployment and that this time it will work. Putting pressure on Congress to pass a new "stimulus" package may reap short-term political benefits, but the proposed mix of so-called bipartisan measures does not contain a long-term job generating solution. I would be the last one to raise a voice against a proposal to cut taxes, especially those that hinder productive efforts (like lowering Social Security payroll taxes for individuals and businesses). But after the past few years of exploding debt we must question the assumption that Washington can give us something back without taking away twice as much in some less visible manner.

Has the White House embraced supply-side economics? Does anyone seriously think that the proposed temporary tax break will have the immediate effect of boosting investment to such an extent that fast economic growth would lead to an actual increase in total government revenue? If not, those of us who create the real wealth of the nation should prepare to pay the bill through higher taxes, higher interest rates, and higher prices for many years to come. Some companies will benefit and jobs will be created in certain areas, but, unless we drastically decrease the size and scope of government, it will be nothing more than redistribution of the oppressive political burden among companies, industries, regions, and generations, with easily identifiable winners and unseen losers.

I remember not too long ago how Obama was promising to remove red tape and make the lives of the IRS agents much simpler. We could allow the economy to stagnate until the election and play the blame game, or we could close the loopholes in our multimillion-word tax codes and re-channel trillions of dollars from wasteful compliance with insane bureaucratic rules to productive activities that improve our standard of living. The real question is: Do our political elites care for the "general welfare" above the interests of paper pushers, corporate lawyers, and major campaign contributors?

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Alex Tokarev
Alex Tokarev

Alex is the chair of the Department of Business at Morthland College in West Frankfort, Ill., and teaches at Northwood University in Midland, Mich. The native of communist Bulgaria fanatically supports the Bulgarian soccer team, Levski.


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