In Real Terms, What Does It Even Mean To Say, “We Shouldn’t Balance The Budget On The Backs Of The Poor?”

In Real Terms, What Does It Even Mean To Say, “We Shouldn’t Balance The Budget On The Backs Of The Poor?”

In real terms, what does it even mean to say, “We shouldn’t balance the budget on the backs of the poor?” The poor already pay no income tax and since they have very little money, taxing them wouldn’t do much to balance the budget. So, it’s not that.

If it means that we should tax the rich, we already have an even more progressive tax code than Western Europe. Moreover, if we abandoned the country’s love of capitalism and free enterprise, embraced communism, and decided to take every dime of income the indisputably rich, the people who make more than 10 million a year, bring in per year, it would only amount to about 240 billion dollars. On one hand, that’s a large sum of money, but on the other hand, it amounts to about 1/6 of the deficit we owe JUST THIS YEAR, 1/56 of the debt, and 1/400 of our unfunded Social Security/Medicare liabilities. Moreover, if we were taking EVERYTHING the rich made, they’d have no reason to continue to work, which would put tens of millions of people out of work and dramatically reduce the amount of money we could bring in after this year. So, that doesn’t seem like what the term means.

Does it mean that we should never cut anything from any program that benefits the poor? Unfortunately, that’s not even an option at this point. We have 100 trillion dollars in unfunded Social Security/Medicare liabilities. We will not be able to even come close to borrowing that much money and to actually pay it, we’d eventually have to tax not just the rich, but the entire working population at a rate 80% higher than we pay today — FOREVER. That’s never going to happen. So, that can’t be it.

The simple reality is this: We are borrowing much, much, much more than we’re taking in and while raising taxes on the rich could erase a small fraction of the deficit, over the long haul, we’re going to either have to dramatically cut back what we’re spending or we’re going to have to dramatically raise taxes on everyone, including the middle-class.

The reason we’re going to have to make that choice is not because people are mean or because they don’t care about the poor; it’s because we simply can’t afford to continue to borrow massive amounts of money from other countries to give it away to people who aren’t earning it. Truthfully, we’ve already let this problem go unaddressed for far too long and it’s putting the entire country in an increasingly desperate position.

It’s fine to call for cuts to defense and for higher taxes on the rich. My guess is that the people calling for those things, one way or another, will eventually get their way. But, the reality is that even if you sliced our $529 billion defense budget to the bone and dramatically increased taxes on the rich, we would suffer greatly for it and we STILL wouldn’t even be to the halfway mark in paying off our deficit for just this year.

So, when people say “We shouldn’t balance the budget on the backs of the poor,” what do they mean? Do they even know what they mean? Do they have any magical solution to this problem — because if they do, now might be a great time to clue the rest of us in on what it may be.

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