More Tax Oppression; and It's Unnecessary for Revenue-Raising

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), July 2, 2009 | Go to article overview

More Tax Oppression; and It's Unnecessary for Revenue-Raising


Byline: Richard W. Rahn, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Why did a bare majority (219-212) of the members of the U.S. Congress vote for the largest tax increase in American history this past Friday, under the claim it was a vote to save the climate?

Before you answer the question, consider the following facts. The proponents claim this tax bill will reduce U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, which are purported to cause global warming. First, despite the claims of President Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and many in the media, there is no consensus in the scientific community about how much climate change, other than the normal cycles, is taking place, nor how severe it will be, and how much man-made CO2 is responsible. None of the climate models predicted the unexpected global cooling of the last decade.

It is known that the legislation will have a negligible effect on global CO2 emissions, particularly since the big polluters, such as China and India, are not playing ball. It is also known that the cap and trade system that the legislation calls for has been a failure in Europe, where it has been in operation for the last few years, in that it has proven to be far more costly than envisioned, has not met the CO2 reduction targets, and has been highly susceptible to corruption and abuse.

In addition, because the legislation requires Americans to use more inefficient energy (wind and solar) sources, it cannot help but raise costs for American businesses and citizens, and hence will kill jobs rather than create them (as contrasted to what Mr. Obama and Mrs. Pelosi have incorrectly claimed).

In sum, serious people understand the legislation will hurt the U.S. economy, reduce the standard of living and yet not accomplish its claimed intent; therefore, why were so many members of Congress willing to vote for it?

Are they idiots, or do they have another agenda? Yes, a few are not that bright, but many more see this as an opportunity to extract wealth from one group of Americans, give it to other groups of Americans they favor, and to their political cronies who will reward them in campaign contributions and in other ways - both seen and unseen. They are willing to engage in more tax oppression in exchange for more political power to themselves.

The tendency for political leaders - even those fairly elected - to look out more for their own personal interests rather than the greater good is not confined to America. The Organization for Cooperation and Development (OECD), whose 30 members are the major industrialized democratic countries, was formed half a century ago to promote policies to increase economic growth and free trade.

Unfortunately, political leaders in high-tax states (notably France and Germany) have captured part of the OECD and are using it as an instrument - by creating black and gray lists - to squash tax competition from low-tax-rate countries and financial freedom and privacy (which are important for global economic growth). …

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