Our Politicians Are Behaving Like Addicts
If Congress fails to act before the end of the year, taxes will rise sharply for every American taxpayer. Also, as a consequence of the debt ceiling compromise reached in 2011, modest spending cuts are slated to take effect. Yet, Washington conventional wisdom has it exactly backwards; the modest spending cuts are seen as a disaster, and tax hikes as a cure-all for our fiscal problems. The debate is now more about whose taxes should be raised by how much and less about any spending cuts at all.
This is the behavior of addicts, and spendaholism is rampant in both parties. When the economy is booming the federal coffers fill up and Congress—no matter which party is in control—finds ways to spend it.
When the economy weakens, we’re told stimulus is needed and spending spikes even higher. Now spending has reached such frightening levels that persistent trillion dollars deficits are placing a political and practical limit on spending. Instead of bringing spending down, the spendaholics conclude they must raise taxes to bring in more money to spend.
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