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Moats: Taxes

10/22/10 7:55AM By David Moats
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(HOST) Commentator David Moats is editorial page editor of the Rutland Herald. He has some thoughts today on our shared responsibilities.

(MOSTS) I have a message for the federal government: Take my money - please!

It's not that I have too much. I am pretty much the average man - average income, average house value, average height, average weight. I'll have a modest retirement, by no means deluxe.

And yet we live in a time when the constant refrain tells us of the nation's debt, the nation's incapacity to act, its inability to address looming problems about Social Security, health care, education and on and on.

Give me a break.

Everyone warns that we'll be passing on great sacrifices to the next generation, as if we have no choice about it. But there's a way not to do that. And that's to make some sacrifices ourselves. Are we incapable of that?

There is much discussion about whether we should raise taxes on rich people. Of course, we should. The tax breaks they won under President Bush pushed the nation deep into debt. It seems obvious to me that putting the tax rates back to where they were before would help solve the problem. Rich people were not un-rich during the Clinton years.

While we're at it, we average people should not be afraid to pitch in, as long as the sacrifices we're called on to make are shared fairly. I don't want to pass that hardship onto my grandkids. There's no reason I can't help out now.

There's an economic argument about whether raising taxes now would help or hurt the economy. Certainly, I don't want taxes taken from my wallet to have a dampening effect. That's why I say they should be put to use hiring workers to rebuild roads, bridges, and railroads, to foster new technology, to invest in research and education.

Money can be spent in ways that enrich us or that impoverish us. On a personal level, borrowing to buy a house has enriched me.  Spending on my kids' education has enriched them, me and society as a whole. Spending money on fuel oil was impoverishing me, so I invested in new technology and infrastructure in my house, which has made life better and will save money in the long run.

Everyone's afraid to ask us to make the sacrifices needed to build a better world. Even President Obama shies away from seeking an end to middle class tax cuts that we can't afford.

Parents are not usually averse to making sacrifices for their kids. So if we're unwilling to load them down with debt, then let's pay it off ourselves, or at least takes steps to create a better world for them and their kids.

Are we too helpless to do that?

We don't need to be.

(TAG) All of David Moats' commentaries can be found in our archive at vpr-dot-net.
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