Last December, Republicans in Congress insisted on renewing George W. Bush's massive tax-giveaways to their wealthiest patrons - while professing their profound concern about the budget deficit.
This was not only shamefully hypocritical on its face, but, ironically, those irresponsible tax cuts are now turning out to be a major obstacle to their declared agenda of slashing the federal budget.
As the Republicans ask Americans to give up various government services, taxpayers will naturally expect some sort of “government-downsizing dividend” to accrue. But unfortunately, the Republican model of cutting taxes before cutting budgets (greed-based deficit spending, rather than need-based) means that the tax giveaways are long ago given away, and we have all already eaten our respective cakes (though some got much larger helpings than others). There is no remaining benefit for the American taxpayer to perceive in exchange for the proposed sacrifices. Cutting the budget now doesn’t free up any ready money for cash-strapped taxpayers on fixed incomes to put towards “privatizing” the lost services that we used to provide collectively through government.
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Thus, any move to eliminate funding for a particular government service will now only be seen as a deliberate attempt to deprive Americans of that service. And while that may please libertarians far and wide, there are still lots of voting Americans who are going to balk loudly at the bleak prospects.
I foresee Congress revisiting the taxation debate before long – that is, if these Republicans are truly serious about reining in the deficit.