Thomas Sowell
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 There was a time when the purpose of taxes was to pay for the inevitable costs of government. To the political left, however, taxes have long been seen as a way to redistribute income and finance other social experiments based on liberal ideology.

 Given that agenda, it is hardly surprising that some of the biggest spending liberals can go into hysterics over the national debt, especially when that debt exists under a conservative administration of the opposite party.

 This does not mean that nothing needs to be done about the national debt or about our tax system. A lot could be done about both -- but it would not be what liberals want done.

 Promoting the growth of the national economy would be one of the fastest and best ways of reducing the national debt. We could, for example, stop letting little bands of self-righteous activists stifle the building of homes or businesses under "open space" laws or stop the drilling of oil off-shore, on-shore, or anywhere else.

 As for taxes, we could stop taxing productivity and start taxing consumption. After all, productivity is what makes a society more prosperous.

 Someone who is adding to the total wealth of this country is not depriving you of anything. But someone who is consuming the nation's wealth, without contributing anything to it, is. Yet our tax system penalizes those who are producing wealth in order to subsidize those who are only consuming it.

 Tax reform is overdue, national debt or no national debt.

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Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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