April 15 might become the biggest tax-and-spend protest since the Boston Tea Party of 1773. Politicians fear spontaneous citizen outrage. That's because when the public realizes they have been scammed, bamboozled, defrauded and hustled by politicians who take and then misspend their money -- mostly to enhance their own power -- they'll run like scalded dogs.
Unlike in the 1958 cult movie "The Blob," which featured a creature from outer space that consumed everything to which it attached itself, government is a homegrown monster, consuming ever-increasing amounts of capital. And this government blob doesn't discriminate. It grows no matter which party is in charge. While the deficit last week raced past $1 trillion, the federal government and many state governments are trying to pry more of our money from us so they can finish creating a dependency culture from which we'll never escape.
Governments never have enough of our money and they'll never ask if we have enough. Whatever they do is sold as noble, even righteous and if the people rebel, they are uncaring and greedy. The cry at these tea parties should be "not a penny more" until governments get their houses in order, just as we must do. Most people have been forced to reduce spending during the recession, but not the federal government, and likely not the government in your home state.
Take New York (puh-leeze). The state legislature has approved a $131 billion budget, which represents a 9 percent increase in spending over last year. There are stories that Rush Limbaugh and Donald Trump have threatened to abandon New York over higher taxes.
A New York Observer editorial asked the right question: "...why did legislators refuse to deal with the need to control their own spending -- the real source of the state's fiscal problems -- and instead increase it, blowing millions in public funds on pork barrel programs like 'Urban Yoga,' gun clubs and other member-driven spending items?"
California is a close second to New York's high tax rate, having just raised its top income tax rate to 10.55 percent. This means that with the Obama administration's plan to increase federal taxes, successful residents of New York and California will be paying more than half of their incomes -- when payroll, sales and other forms of taxes are included -- to governments. When is enough, enough? Now!
To further increase your outrage, read the "2009 Pig Book" from Citizens Against Government Waste, www.cagw.org, which is released today. Like its previous editions, the latest "Pig Book" chronicles some of the most outrageous examples of wasteful government spending.
It wouldn't take much to get the attention of politicians. If the current level of outrage can be maintained after the tea parties, individuals will have two choices. They can reduce the amount of taxes they pay government, thereby sending the message that if we have to cut back then so should government. (Government can't put everyone in jail. The tax system has worked only because of a docile and compliant citizenry.) The other choice is for the successful to either defer income until a tax-cutting administration succeeds this one, or deliberately limit their incomes to no more than $250,000 a year, depriving government of the new income sources it needs to maintain its obscene size.
On March 28, 2007, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) commented on the Bush administration's proposed fiscal 2008 budget: "The gross federal debt is now almost $9 trillion, or more than $29,000 per person. That is how much every man, woman and child in America owes to this debt. This is the fiscal mess that we have to clean up." The debt and the per-person cost are now far greater. Do we hear a peep from Rep. Maloney or the many other Democrats who were critical of the Bush deficits? Nope.
It's time Maloney, the rest of Congress and state legislators hear from the people. Not a penny more until you put your house in order!
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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