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President's Ponderings: Basic Economics

By Edward Luttrell - President's Ponderings Blog (7/28/10)

  JULY 31, 2010 --

I just don't quite get why so many politicians seem to be missing the common sense boat when we talk about the economy. It would be truly discouraging if it required a degree in economics to see some of the solutions.

I've had a checking account since I was about 16 and at an early point in life, I knew that if a person writes a check or charges a debit for more money than they have in the account, the check bounces, the debit is declined and the bank punishes you with a hefty overdraft fee. When you don't pay a bill, someone is going to ask some tough questions. If you constantly spend more than you make, you will go bankrupt.

It is seems obvious to me that when you increase taxes, there is less money being spent to hire people by businesses. Undoubtedly there is a tax rate that will generate the maximum revenue for the government with the least negative impact on the economy and while I am not sure what it is exactly, I just have a hunch it is somewhat lower than the total bill we have today.

The bottom line is that the government as a whole doesn't create wealth and wealth is what increases our standard of living. Without wealth generation, the ideas, services, food, fiber, and widgets that are produced, the economy just can't grow.

It is also painfully obvious that when you increase taxes on the rich, that many people find themselves being classed as rich who really are not. Most importantly, if the amount of taxes I pay as a percentage of my income goes up, it is a tax increase. The more of my money that the government takes, the less that I can use for the things I think are important. Now don't think that I oppose paying taxes, I just want a civil discussion on how much I should pay.

It would seem to me that there are some simple solutions to help stimulate the economy.

First stop spending more than is received in revenue. I realize that means making choices, but that is what people normally do when they run out of money.

Second stop raising taxes, especially the ones aimed at business. All they seem to do is discourage hiring. While we're on this subject, maybe just following a bit of Grange policy and make the tax system simpler would aid the economy. If farmers, businesspeople, and the rest of the taxpayers knew the tax system was consistent and predictable it would be a lot easier to make investments that would lead to new jobs.

Third quit using taxes as a partisan position and as a wedge between voters and start talking about our nation's financial health. After all, we are all citizens of this great nation.

I have a hunch that just these three basic ideas would keep Congress busy for a couple of years while the rest of us keep working and building the secure financial future we want for our families.



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