Stupid human! Macroeconomics do not work that way!

Posted: 6 July 2010 in human rights, obamanation, politics, republicans, war

I hear a lot about “belt tightening” and “if I don’t make enough money to eat out, I don’t” and whatnot coming from people who are attempting to make the argument that, despite their tax burden being the lowest it’s been since 1960, they are being taxed too much.  It’s like a kid with a 5-scoop banana split complaining because there are only three cherries, really.

The whole notion that the average taxpayer’s financial habits are in any way comparable to larger economic institutions is laughable.  When it comes right down to it, the government has very little in the way of discretionary spending that the average tax protester would accept as a way to save money.

Government budgets deal with billions and trillions of dollars.  When the average person gets overcharged or otherwise spends $10 that they didn’t intend to, the government equivalent to that is millions of dollars.  The problem then becomes that people see that millions of dollars and try to wrap their $30,000/year salary around it.  They try to fit it neatly into things like “how long will I be paying for that cock-up,” all the while forgetting that it is, essentially, a drop in a very large bucket.   The exception to this rules is, almost universally, when that extra couple million dollars is misappropriated on some military endeavor.  Had to re-route a military cargo plane because someone missed a flight?  Pff, what’s a million dollars in logistical support when we’re keeping them fighting! Did I mention that defense spending occupies the single largest part of the budget, accounting for 22% of all federal spending?

Ask the average Glenn Beck viewer if we should start there, and they will, almost without fail, attempt to sell you the idea that we should cut some sort of entitlement program.  Usually, this is a nebulous concept that congeals only to the point of Reagan’s “welfare queens,” but occasionally, if you’re real quiet and let them rant, they’ll move up to Social Security or even Medicare.  And then, they’ll shriek about belt-tightening.

See the connection there?  They want belt-tightening from the government “just like they would,” but what they’re essentially saying is this:

  1. There might be threats in my neighborhood, therefore, I need to occupy parts of my neighbor’s houses to protect my interests.  I will, of course, pay them rent for the space I occupy, unless they are actively working against my economic interests, at which point I will take their house by force.  I will continue to upgrade my armaments to this end.  I cannot reasonably expect to cut costs on this, it is far to important.
  2. The fact that the infrastructure in my house is crumbling due to a lack of funds to sustain it is in no way indicative of my need to bring in more revenue.  I will simply cut costs elsewhere, perhaps by shutting off unnecessary utilities like water and gas (but not electric, because I cannot live without cable.)
  3. To further cut cost, I will stop supporting my children, those entitled brats who need to learn to fend for themselves.  I should not be paying for their food, clothing or healthcare when they’re perfectly capable of working for a living.  I don’t care if they’re only two and three years old.  I also refuse to spend even a cent to educate them.
  4. Simply because other households in my area have expenditure systems that produce healthier, better adjusted and more well-educated children is no reason to suspect that they are any better or should even be looked to for viable alternatives to my current system, which is obviously the best system in the neighborhood.
  5. And,  most importantly, as the duly elected representative of my household, I am a corrupt moneygrubber who deserves to be tossed out on my ear.  I will have hell to pay in the next election.  (please ignore the fact that I’ve been saying that for 10 electoral cycles now but still vote for myself).

Governments have obligations far beyond that of the normal household.  Conversely, they also have the ability to offset costs by raising taxes, something that normal households cannot do.  Ask anyone who’s screaming for budget cutbacks, and they’re likely to demand cuts to programs that directly benefit them – until you point that out.  At which point, they’ll find a program that doesn’t, and demand that be cut.

“I h’aint flushed the terlit all damn day, why’s I gots to pay fer water what comes bubblin’ right out the ground?”

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