Clark Hollow Ramblings: Time to raise taxes, really?

Just for a moment, make an assumption with me. Let’s assume that the last five times that taxes have been raised, it was the correct decision. Now, let’s assume that the next five times the board of supervisors wants to raise your taxes, that is also the right decision. Ultimately, the question becomes, when is raising the tax rate not the right answer? Is raising taxes always the right answer? Is there no tax rate so high that you can’t raise it again, and again?

Maybe 20 cents on a hundred dollars of assessed value was too low. Maybe 40 cents on a hundred dollars was too low. Maybe 58 cents is too low. People, some of them friends of mine, who believe that government should do more, are almost always in favor of raising taxes. For the government to do more, it must have more revenue, so taxes have to go up. What these people refuse to acknowledge, is that, incrementally, they are making more and more people dependent on the government. Unfortunately, I think that is what some of them want.

I propose that we don’t need more people dependent on government, because that is a cycle that only leads to ultimate disaster. What we need is more people who are able to make it on their own, and to achieve that, you have to quit taxing them into submission.

If 58 cents is not the correct rate, you have to wonder where this stops. Is 63 cents correct? Is 85 cents the top rate? Unless you are the federal government, you can’t just keep raising taxes. Somewhere, somehow, sometime, the government must learn to live within its means, just like you and I have to do with our budget.

Here is what is difficult: Managing is a difficult occupation. The reason governments raise taxes is because they are unwilling or unable to manage. It is easier to give all your employees a raise, than it is to single out the good ones, give them a raise, and get rid of the dead wood. Like water takes the path of least resistance, so, too, does human nature.

It is hard to tell people they are not doing the job. It is easier to give everybody a raise, so you can keep your good employees. Don’t worry about the huge morale problem you are causing for those employees who work hard, show up early and stay late.

So, why are the taxes going to be raised? And, yes, they will be raised. They will be raised because it is the easiest thing for government to do. They don’t have to tell the various department heads that they have to do the hard work of managing. The board of supervisors doesn’t have to tell the various offices you can’t have everything you want. No, it is easier just to raise your taxes.

Our federal government has come up with an ingenious two-pronged approach to this problem. First, they spend all the money they want, running up huge deficits and borrowing from China. Second, they blame the problem on the rich. Problem solved. You get lots of votes by funding all the groups and unions that will vote for you, and, hey, everybody hates the rich. This is the way to get reelected.

Consider the family with six children at home, and two milk cows, and one of the cows gets sick and has to be put down, and one of the older kids asks his mother, Mom, what are going to do? With a sad look in her eyes, she says, don’t worry, son. We’ll manage. And they do. And that’s what the people who run our governments should do. They should do what they get paid to do. They should manage. I didn’t say it was easy. I said they should manage.

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Richard Brady
About Richard Brady 131 Articles
Richard Brady was born and raised within sight of Rappahannock Peak, as was his father, grandfather, great-grandfather, great-great-grandfather, etc. He graduated from George Mason University and was employed for 35 years with various agencies of the federal government. He retired in 2001, and he and his wife, Linda, live in Flint Hill, Va.