• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • The Obama Tax Hikes: It's Not Their Money!

    America is having a serious conversation on taxes and their impact on economic growth: The Obama administration is making the case for raising taxes by not extending the Bush tax cuts; Opponents counter that raising taxes in the midst of a weak economy would be disastrous.

    For the record, we agree with the latter group. But this important discussion should not depend on a willful distortion of the English language. Yet, such an Orwellian perversion takes place every time people repeat that when government does not raise taxes it incurs a “cost.” Often this assertion is followed by the further twist that this “cost” must be “paid” by raising taxes elsewhere.

    The worst practitioners have become the ever-clever journalists who besiege politicians on Sunday news shows with the following question: “but how are you going to pay for extending the Bush tax cuts, Senator?” Usually, the latter is too dumbstruck to answer.

    This is wrong. It doesn’t cost our government anything to allow us to keep the money we have earned. When a tax is not raised, the people get to keep their money, and that’s it.

    The Obama Administration and the Pelosi-Reid Congress specifically love this linguistic doublespeak. They love it because it hides many truths, including that government spending money—which is what the Obama Administration and the Pelosi-Reid Congress like to do—does represent a cost to the Treasury. It must be paid with taxes.

    An otherwise sensible journalist in The Washington Post who is a strong supporter of Obama/Reid/Pelosi on Friday took things to new levels by referring to tax cuts as “government spending on auto-pilot.”

    This is even more wrong. The people either spend their money themselves or put it in the bank. But that is the people making decisions on money that belongs to them. That is not a government spending program.

    The reason we need to eradicate the Orwellian doublespeak is that it lulls us into the corrosive acceptance that all money belongs to the government; that when government does not raise taxes it is allowing us to keep our money.

    It’s the reverse: The money belongs to the people who make it, before the tax man takes it away.

    In his great essay, “Politics and the English Language,” George Orwell warned that the English language “becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts … if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”

    We shouldn’t let that happen. Let’s by all means have a debate on taxes and whether raising them or cutting them raises or lowers revenue for the Treasury. But let’s not pervert the English language.

    You can follow Mike Gonzalez on Twitter @Gundisalvus

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    15 Responses to The Obama Tax Hikes: It's Not Their Money!

    1. West Texan says:

      Stewards the progressive Democrats are not! Elite socialists maybe, but stewardship is not in their vocabulary.

    2. Gene, Pittsburgh says:

      There is, as you say, a lot of stinking thinking today in regards to taxes, government and corporations. I personally favor trusting corporations over government because when I look around my house everything I see was made by a company/corporation. Nothing I see in my house is made by the government. Oh, I forgot, yes there is, my tax forms I have on file, and yes, some loose change I have laying around. Ok, that makes me feel better.

    3. Lloyd Scallan (New O says:

      Debate? It's not possible! You cannot have a debate with anyone that is morally corrupt, dishonest, and has such a rigid ideology they cannot explore any views other than what they believe. Obama has an agenda to distroy this nation as we know it. He is following the teaching of Cloward & Piven and Saul Alinski. When you understand that every policy Obama is proposing is designed to complete

      his agenda, you will realize no honest debate could ever take place.

    4. Randall Holland, Ari says:

      I have a simple answer for the question on "how to pay for the tax cuts."

      "Who should spend your hard earned money, you or the government."

    5. Mark Lokowich says:

      VP Joe Biden, patriotic to pay your taxes…. , John Kerry, evading taxes with his new yacht docking out of state… un-patriotic?

    6. Drew Page, IL says:

      Obama, Reid and Pelosi spend irresponsibly. They have had 19 months to reduce unemployment and what do they spend their time doing? They armtwisted the Senate and Congress into passing a health care reform bill that no one, including the president, bothered to read. They passed a 2,000 page Stimulus bill that not only failed to reduce unemployment, but actually increased it. They came up with a Cash for Clunkers plan that temprarily increased new car purchases and a plan that gave home buyers an $8,000 credit. All these credits added to the national debt and unemployment still hovers at near 10%. When is the government going to recover the cost of its shares of GM and Chrysler? How much of the bailout money has the government recovered from AIG and how much is left to recover? How much has the government got back from Fannie and Freddie and how much is left to recover? Same question about the Wall Street bailout? Joe biden says the economy has recovered, so where's the payback?

    7. Dennis Georgia says:

      Socialist do not think, they spend your money!

    8. Weiwen Ng, Washingto says:

      This is a dangerously misleading article. Vital public services like the police, many large fire departments, libraries, many schools, the judicial system, roads and public transit are directly provided by the government or organized under government oversight. Social Security, a vital leg of our retirement security, is organized by the government. Medicare is organized by the government. These programs have to be paid for. Even if conservatives succeeded in privatizing Social Security and/or Medicare, the subsidies to the poor would have to be funded by the government and services would probably be provided under government oversight – which incurs a cost that has to be paid for.

      And conversely, a great part of our wealth is attributable to the government's services. If we had zero taxes, zero government and anarchy, I would not be able to earn as much as I do in the U.S. Much as I might like to think otherwise, I don't actually own every dollar I own – the same amount of hard work in Zimbabwe would produce far lower returns. Our public enterprise and private enterprises work together to make this nation great – and we need to ensure that our public enterprise is strong, well run and well funded.

    9. Ben C. Ann Arbor, MI says:

      Mike – the premise of the "left" is that the size of government is independant of the money required to operate it. The reality is that the bigger the government the more it costs to run it – not a hard concept to understand. Therefore those of us who are Taxed Enough Already look at the solution to downsize government to provide the services it was designed to do – not what some think it should.as the answer. But I agree with your article. How do you know when Obama is lying? his lips are moving.

    10. KLIMAX Baltimore, Ma says:

      If NObama thinks this money I have in my pocket is his let him come here and try and take it !!! This has to be the craziest thing I have ever heard !! If Nobama continues to follow this thought process and starts raising taxes (Not extending Bushes cuts is the same as raising taxes) and if he is crazy enough to implement the "value added tax" he will find more and more Americans not paying taxes at all !!! He can hire all the IRS enforcers he wants (He is hiring more to force us to buy health insurance) people will just become self employed and claim a loss like the Corporations do all nice and legal !! It is not about people not wanting to pay their fair share it is about how NObama spends (Wastes) OUR tax money !!! MY Money is not their money unless I want to give it to them and the last time I checked there are no more "debtor prisons" and as soon as the illegal aliens start paying taxes that total above the entitlements cost for them I will start paying taxes !!!

    11. West Texan says:

      @Weiwen Ng, get your facts straight. May I suggest a reading of the federalist papers. Such would enlighten you to the proper role of national governance. Over time it has insidiously been perverted and corrupted by political ideologues. It's plain you've been suckered by the progressive left's overreaching con job.

    12. Pingback: Stock Trading Basics 2009 > Stock Trading Techniques – Day Traders Online School | Profit Soft

    13. Stephen Coss Deltona says:

      I believe my facts are correct in this statement that follows.

      If we round up and send back every ILLIGAL immigrant then the following problems would go away. Prison over crowding, Gone! School funding and class size problems. Gone! Health care costs. Gone! I also believe that the unemployment problem would also go away because it doesn't matter how many times the left says "these are jobs that Americans won't do" I believe without the availability of low cost workers the fact is that wages would have to go up and unemployment would return to 4 to 5% which in effect is full employment.

    14. Pingback: When a tax is not raised, the private sector (the people) keep their money. #TCOT | Berk Advisory

    15. Pingback: Democtat-Socialists Love Blaming Tax Cuts For The Deficit—Huh? | Asian Conservatives

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×