The latest data show that our nation’s economic eagle is starting to fly again. The unemployment rate is the lowest since September 11, 2001, we have seen 25 consecutive months of job gains, and 15 straight quarters of positive GDP growth. Federal tax revenues are growing and the budget deficit is shrinking, due to President Bush’s 2003 cuts in income and capital gains tax rates.
Unfortunately, two pillars of our nations’ economic infrastructure threaten to cage our economic eagle, diminishing our economy’s potential to soar to unprecedented heights. The income tax code suppresses the economy with its complexity, inefficiency, and waste of people’s time keeping records and filling out all the forms. The Social Security system suppresses opportunity by taking 12.4% of a worker’s income and dumping it into a system where younger workers will receive no return on their years of forced contributions.
Every time Congress tries to simplify the tax code it becomes a greater burden, and the cage gets smaller. As we get closer to the year Social Security will pay out more than it receives in revenues, the cage around our economic eagle gets tighter. Congressional Democrats continue to say there is no crisis, while countries like China and India continue to threaten our global economic leadership. It is time to stop talking about the problem. We must replace the tax code and restructure the Social Security system.
The Congressional Democrats and liberal media outlets have stonewalled fixing Social Security by smearing the optional personal retirement accounts proposal. They continue to offer no solution other than raising taxes and reducing benefits. Unfortunately, too many people are falling for their empty rhetoric.
It will not matter what plan the president puts on the table for cleaning up our toxic tax code mess. Just as Congressional Democrats did with the optional personal retirement accounts proposal, they will demand that any tax plan be taken off the table. This will be accompanied with the usual cries of, “it’s a tax cut for the rich.” I will bet anyone a pepperoni pizza on that prediction.
Herman Cain is the National Chairman of the Media Research Center’s Business & Media Institute. He is the former president and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, Inc., and currently is CEO and president of T.H.E. New Voice, Inc., a business and leadership consulting company.
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