Taxes in America

Alan Duff

In the U.S., we spend a lot of time in politics complaining about one form of tax or another. But with a growing national deficit it may be time for us to think about the future of America and take one for following generations.
A radical idea, I know. The idea that tax cuts are great is as American as apple pie. The thought that we should consider raising taxes is against our history as a nation.
In 1765 and the subsequent years, thousands of Americans rallied against the British Parliament and its Stamp Act, proclaiming, “No taxation without representation.” This conflict was a major cause of the revolution the colonists led against the British government.
Those tax issues were resolved over 200 years ago, but politicians have continued to carry the torch of low taxes for all. Senators will always pledge to ensure that our taxes stay low for their re-elections. Presidents are always glad to secure votes by bribing voters with tax cuts. The likes of Bush and Reagan will always be remembered for their liberally applied tax cuts.
But as of 2010, we’ve been at war in Afghanistan for nine years and in Iraq for seven years. Whether or not you agree with the wars, it is indisputable that they have contributed significantly to the deficit. President Obama has stated that the war in Iraq alone has consumed $1 trillion; CNN’s magazine Money has projected the costs as high as $3 trillion for both wars.
According to the United States Treasury, the current national debt is over $13 trillion and is growing daily. With the war in Afghanistan still raging, it seems that our current national deficit can only get higher. Meanwhile, what is our current government doing to combat this policy? Certainly not the most obvious approach – a simple raise in income taxes. Instead they’ve kept tax cuts in place that should never have been enacted while we were in a bull market. Tax cuts plus a war has never been a good idea economically.
As for tax rates, Americans don’t have a lot to complain about. Looking at the research done by KPMG, a consulting group that analyzed 83 different countries’ taxes, a clear picture is given. The United States is ranked 52nd on tax rates, meaning Americans are taxed significantly less compared to their counterparts in other countries. A small increase in our taxes would allow us to combat the deficit more effectively.
We have to increase taxes if we want this deficit paid off for our children and for ourselves. This issue won’t just go away if we ignore it. The problem will only grow.
As a democratic nation and people, let’s look towards the future and exercise our rights. Vote for candidates based on their ideas, not simply because they will keep tax rates low. We’re going to have to pay for this deficit eventually, but we can try to avoid the interest.