Can We Find a Presidential Candidate Better than an 8th Grader?

Our son recently ran for class office.  When the campaigns started, the candidates offered platforms that appealed to 8th graders: more recess, fast food for lunch, no homework, and so on.  In a conversation with him, he admitted that his “Chik Fil A” for lunch everyday promise was bogus.  “But Dad, it’s fun to talk about,” was his rationale for his campaign platform. 

With the tease from a Trump official that a “middle class tax cut” could be coming, it is official that every significant candidate in the 2020 presidential campaign is campaigning like an 8th grader.  Tax cuts. Free college. Free health care. Debt forgiveness.  Not one has offered any facts on our fiscal situation.  I’ll present a few:

  1. The US government continues to spend more than it takes in.  Tax revenues are up, but spending is up more.  That’s not sustainable.  Some combination of tax increases and spending cuts is necessary at some point.
  2. Nothing is free.  Every country with nationalized healthcare has a VAT (value add tax).  That’s the most regressive tax politicians have ever come up with.  If we continue to want the government to provide more (healthcare, education, defense, put in your pet project), everyone will pay more.  For all of you that think the rich will pay for everything, remember this warning.  You’re going to pay too. 
  3. There is a lot of talk about the wealthy paying their “fair share.”  As I’ve written in the past, I hate the word fair.  We all have our own definition of fair.  The reality is taking 100% of the income of the top 1% of earners would barely cover our deficit.  See Table 1.  The top 1% earned $2 trillion in 2016 and paid $538 billion in taxes, leaving $1.462 trillion.  Our deficit is over $1 trillion.  I’m pretty sure a 100% tax rate will have an impact on how much people in the “evil” 1% work. 

It’s time to have an adult conversation on taxes and spending.  Unfortunately, it appears the adults have left the room.  We’re left with the equivalent of 8th graders running for president.  Sad. 

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