Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Whose money is it anyway? The government's money or the people's money?

The answer to this seemingly simple question is important.

"Republicans have a different view," Barack Obama noted Tuesday when remarking on the tax cut and unemployment extension compromise. "They believe that we should also make permanent the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans. I completely disagree with this. A permanent extension of these tax cuts would cost us $700 billion at a time when we need to start focusing on bringing down our deficit."

Is the $700 billion the people's money or the government's money?

The truth is that an increase in the tax rates would cost the American people $700 billion in additional payments to the government.

It's money out of people's pockets and into the government coffers.

Would you prefer to keep your money or give more of your money to the government so that bureaucrats can decide how to spend it?

This month, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform released its report titled, "The Moment of Truth." Running a slight 65 pages with only four pages of facts and figures, it is microscopic when compared to the language packed into the recent stimulus or health care bills. It is also much more understandable, using common language and phrases. One of my favorites is, "Other taxpayers underreport their income and taxes, hoping to avoid the audit lottery."

Before delving into the details of the proposal, it's helpful to review the assumptions inherent in the report.

The section of the report titled "Our Guiding Principles and Values" lays out the commission's understanding of where we are and how we should approach the government budget. They are:

We all have a patriotic duty to make America better off tomorrow than it is today.

Don't disrupt the fragile economic recovery.

Cut and invest to promote economic growth and keep America competitive.

Protect the truly disadvantaged.

Cut spending we cannot afford -- no exceptions.

Demand productivity and effectiveness from Washington.

Reform and simplify the tax code.

Don't make promises we can't keep.

The problem is real, and the solution will be painful.

Keep America sound over the long run.

The guiding principle and value that is not mentioned is the understanding that the government gets its money from the people. It's the people's money.

Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.