The Conscience of a Conservative

By Barry Goldwater | Go to book overview

Chapter Seven
Taxes and Spending

We all have heard much throughout our lifetimes, and seen little happen, on the subject of high taxes. Where is the politician who has not promised his constituents a fight to the death for lower taxes -- and who has not proceeded to vote for the very spending projects that make tax cuts impossible? There are some the shoe does not fit, but I am afraid not many. Talk of tax reduction has thus come to have a hollow ring. The people listen, but do not believe. And worse: as the public grows more and more cynical, the politician feels less and less compelled to take his promises seriously.

I suspect that this vicious circle of cynicism and failure to perform is primarily the result of the Liberals' success in reading out of the discussion the moral principles with which the subject of taxation is so intimately connected. We have been led to look upon taxation as merely a problem of public financing: How much money does the government need? We have been led to discount, and often to forget altogether, the bearing of taxa-

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