When politicians – at state or federal levels — talk about cutting taxes and then start pondering how to “pay” for it, I lose all interest in the conversation. “Paying” for tax cuts renders the whole endeavor and even the conversation meaningless. Whatever such strategists are up to, one can be assured it has nothing to do with cutting taxes; they are simply scattering peas.

“Scattering peas” is terminology that stems from the juvenile practice of scattering peas around the plate so your mother thinks you ate some.

To carry on the conversation as though they are serious about tax cuts is nothing more than enabling a charade or playing the dupe. When cutting taxes means nothing more than shifting the burden to someone else, in the long term, it still undermines every one of us, despite any perceived short-term isolated benefit.

It’s a game that  pits one group against another. It divides us by the ugliness of envy and leaves people with a depressing sense of having been victimized and looking for someone to blame. It diverts our attention from the calamity of high taxes. And, most culturally destructive, it subtly shores up the immoral premise that somehow it is acceptable to steal from others if the government does it on our behalf.

The fact is, as a group, we should always put aside our envy, and herald and celebrate every hard –earned dollar that every citizen can retain in their hands because there is no greater good than private citizens doing good with their own resources.

Every dollar better serves the community and the overall economy if it remains in the hands of the private sector. We all fare better if those who created a dollar and who know how to create more of them, can keep as many dollars as possible. That is a fact. It was a well understood fact at one time, when government was structured to only do those things that the private sector could not do. It is that premise that has driven the great economic power house that is the US.

To have a large powerful government demands huge revenues and it is so much easier to capture that revenue if the owners of it are convinced it is their obligation to forfeit it. Confusing owners of wealth with the idea that it isn’t really theirs serves well that quest.

Any meaningful tax cut, anywhere in the economy, is effective only if it is achieved by reduced spending. There was a time when that was implicitly understood by everyone, because that is how we run our households. If our income is reduced it requires adjusting budgets that reduce spending. If spending continues economic disaster results, and that is just as true for government as it is for a household.

It was a very clever politician indeed (probably a lawyer) who came up with the idea of having to “pay” for a tax cut. It creates delicious confusion among constituents who want to trust and believe in their elected officials. Such people in their uncertainty will be reluctant to cry “foul.”

Politicians exuberantly embrace the idea because it allows them to have their cake and eat it too. They can appear to be reducing taxes and looking like good guys, but not really having to do so and not having to go through the pain of having to cut spending.

The idea of “paying” for tax cuts carries with it the most outrageous of all concepts in a country founded upon the principal of private property rights. It implies that the money individuals pay in taxes actually belongs to the government. Our leaders are saying that if middle class taxpayers get a tax cut, it is a taking of that justly belongs to government. It is something for which government has to be compensated. 

The absurdity of that is mind boggling.

That any citizen should accept that premise is very sad for the value they must be placing on their self-worth, and if it is a view prevalent in society, it spells doom for our future as a free and prosperous people.