Bill Murchison

At present, says the Heritage Foundation, we're looking at a permanent 3 percent expansion of the federal share of Gross Domestic Product. Some of the spending money we'll borrow, and the rest we'll tax away from those with -- in the Democrats' judgment -- money to spare. Over the next decade, the president's budget calls for increases of $3 trillion in federal taxes, with levies on the two upper brackets rising, respectively, from 33 percent to 36 percent and 35 percent to 39.6 percent. Taxes on capital gains and dividends are to rise from 15 percent to 20 percent.

Given this scheme, where's the room for treating the producers of wealth with even minimal tact -- cutting their taxes, say, to encourage hiring and investment? The last time we saw the present degree of nuttiness was the '70s, when the Carter administration proposed to encourage the expansion of energy supplies by slapping "windfall profits" taxes on the suppliers of energy. Back then, the refrain was work, slaves, work!

Every Easter/Passover ABC returns the old DeMille semi-classic, "The Ten Commandments" for renewed viewing. We all could benefit by watching the Egyptians try to build a city by flogging the Hebrews half to death. It works only up to a point: The point at which the taskmasters reduce the work force to stuporous failure or rebellion. Along comes Charlton Heston. We know the rest of the story.

The pharaohs of the Beltway have a comparably odd way of inspiring ingenuity, inventiveness, vision, sacrifice and risk. It amounts to telling the risk takers, thanks, good work, now hand over. An intuition arises concerning the federal method: Namely, that the risk takers won't be taking much risk before November in the way of new hiring, business expansion, etc. They will sensibly wait to see the American people's judgment, delivered at the polls, on their government's half-baked formula for putting Americans back to work.

We'll see what the Republicans offer by contrast. It helps to remember that Charlton Heston was a Republican.

Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
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