Thomas Sowell has done it again: he has punctured the helium-filled balloons filled with politician’s promises, using words without meaning. Who controls the meaning of words controls the conversation.
First are the words “fiscal cliff.” Peter Schiff had the best explanation: the fiscal cliff is a combination of spending cuts and tax increases which, taken in the aggregate, would cut the annual deficit by $500 billion. Period.
The “tax holiday” is the temporary reduction in payroll taxes funding primarily Social Security. And the debt ceiling is the imaginary limit to government spending that gives politicians the opportunity to promote themselves on TV before voting to raise it.
Sowell first wants to talk about the phrase “tax the rich.” The problem is that it’s all for show:
Despite all the melodrama about raising taxes on “the rich,” even if that is done it will scarcely make a dent in the government’s financial problems. Raising the tax rates on everybody in the top two percent will not get enough additional tax revenue to run the government for ten days. (my emphasis)
It’s not about raising revenue at all. It’s about “fairness”, to be determined by someone else who didn’t earn the money:
All the political angst and moral melodrama about getting “the rich” to pay “their fair share” is part of a big charade. This is not about economics, it is about politics. Taxing “the rich” will produce a drop in the bucket when compared to the staggering and unprecedented deficits of the Obama administration.
In other words, the discussion is about how to pay the bills run up by people who spent taxpayers’ money by using other taxpayers’ money. It’s like shuffling cards around on the card table. The players are playing using other people’s’ cards. The real owners of the cards have nothing to say about either how the game is played or how much it will cost them. It’s playing a game that they can’t win, but they can’t quit.
Sowell calls them “catchwords” and how they are used to cover their card-playing:
The very catchwords and phrases used by the Obama administration betray how phony this all is. For example, “We are just asking the rich to pay a little more.”
This is an insult to our intelligence. The government doesn’t “ask” anybody to pay anything. It orders you to pay the taxes they impose and you can go to prison if you don’t.
It’s a card game where the cards belong to us but the players hold not only the cards but the guns. No way to win. No way to quit.
Sowell isn’t done:
Then there are all the fancy substitute words for plain old spending– words like “stimulus” or “investing in the industries of the future.”
The theory about “stimulus” is that government spending will stimulate private businesses and financial institutions to put more of their money into the economy, speeding up the recovery. But the fact that you call something a “stimulus” does not make it a stimulus…
Does the White House come equipped with a crystal ball? Calling government spending “investment” does not make it investment any more than calling spending “stimulus” makes it stimulate anything.
Here’s a good rule: if we notice a politician of any stripe using words like “fiscal cliff,” “tax holiday,” “debt ceiling,”, “stimulus,” or “quantitative easing,” he means something much different. He means “force,” “theft,” “mandates,” “compliance,” and “higher taxes.”