John Stossel

He says he supported the 2001 cuts because of pending budget surpluses, but now that huge deficits loom, new revenues are needed.

Why? Brian Riedl of the Heritage Foundation says that since the cuts, "The rich are now shouldering even more of the income tax burden" (). The deficit has grown not because we are undertaxed but because government overspends. "Tax revenues are above the historical average, even after the tax cuts," Riedl writes.

Given the stagnant economy, this is the worst possible time for tax increases. (Is there ever a good time?) Taking money out of the economy will stifle investment and recovery, and it's unlikely to raise substantial revenue, even if that were a good thing.

Finally, the stupidest thing said about tax cuts is the often-repeated claim that "they ought to be paid for." How absurd! Tax cuts merely let people keep money they rightfully own. It's government programs, not tax cuts, that must be paid for. The tax-hungry politicians' demand that cuts be "paid for" implies the federal budget isn't $3 trillion, but $15 trillion -- the whole GDP -- with anything mercifully left in our pockets being some form of government spending. How monstrous!

If cutting taxes leaves less money for government programs, the answer is simple: Ax the programs!


John Stossel

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at >johnstossel.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. ©Creators Syndicate