Our national debt should not be a political issue, yet both parties continue to push it in that direction by blaming one party or the other for massive increases. Our debt developed and increased under both the Bush and current Obama administrations. Certainly, Obama added to the current debt with his health care plan; however, if Bush had left office with a balanced budget, Obama’s increase would not appear as extreme.
That the Republican Party repudiates any notion of a tax increase highlights their unwillingness to develop a compromise. Compromise is not finding parts of – let’s suppose – the Simpson-Bowles plan that one likes and then agreeing to those parts, but rather accepting policies one doesn’t like. Similarly, the Democrats must be willing to accept some spending cuts in order to raise the debt ceiling.
While raising the debt ceiling in August provides some elbowroom, we still must find ways to bring down the debt in the long run.
The general public never asked for the country to go into debt, but here we are. The time has come for Americans across the board to sacrifice and help pay off the debt. We must raise taxes, cut tax expenditures, and put our national budget ahead of partisan politics.
Just as businesses can only save so much money by cutting spending, the government can only reduce so much debt. At some point you have to increase revenue. We should create the tax increase in a manner that goes directly to pay off our national debt by adding a special “debt tax” on our income taxes at the current progressive tax rate. While we don’t need to add an additional tax burden for businesses, we should close business tax loopholes and other tax expenditures that cause a loss of revenue.
This policy runs contrary to the current revolt against big government popular across the nation. However, the difference between my proposed tax increases versus traditional increases is that this revenue will not go towards any other program other than paying off our creditors.
In a healthy economy, tax cuts aimed to spur business and consumer spending would eventually create a government surplus. The previous model would be preferable to raising taxes, but we do not live in a healthy economy, and must take an alternate approach to solving our debt crisis. Moreover, it takes years for small businesses and their employees to reap the benefits of lower taxes, and thus longer for the government to raise the revenue. We do not have the luxury of time.
We might all hurt in the short run from an additional “debt-tax,” but the benefits of creating a healthy economy for ourselves and our grandchildren will far outweigh any short-term pain. After all, we use our grandchildren as a political tool to advance political causes, so why shouldn’t we be the ones making the sacrifice today? It will be hard and require courage from ourselves and our politicians. Courage is more than recognizing the limits of one’s personal principles in relation to the needs of the larger body politic. We need to learn to forgo personal and political gain for the good of the nation.
You can reach Tucker at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on twitter @Tucker849.