Marvin's Window:budgets and taxes

I looked out my window this week and saw someone walking up my driveway.

The individual was wearing a white shirt and a tie.

He was carrying an official looking briefcase.

This could only be either the taxman or some one from a government agency wanting to know what programs I qualified for.

No one else would be dressed that way in rural Mohave County on a hot summer day!

My thoughts turned to the recently passed budgets in Washington and in Phoenix.

Both approved budgets with substantial increases over last year amid cries of "crisis" and "reduced revenue."

Arizona Governor Jane Hull insisted the legislature was not being conservative enough in the face of a "slowing economy." The Arizona legislature could not find enough ways to spend the estimated five percent more money the taxes would bring in next year.

The stare economy has "slowed" so they did not have the six to eight percent growth figures to work with.

The alarming thing to me is that no government ever seems to get enough money.

There is always something else to spend the money for—all good causes of course.

President George Bush got approval of a federal budget "limited" to a 5.2 percent increase over Bill Clinton's last budget.

That budget had an eight percent increase over the previous year.

The federal budget is now measured in trillions, a concept I simply do not understand.

How much money is eight percent of a trillion dollars?

Democrats in Congress howled about the "deep" cuts in "necessary' educational and social programs such an "austere" budget contained.

After Bush had included a 14 percent increase in the education budget, Senator Ted Kennedy went on a speaking tirade insisting Bush had made large cuts in the educational budget that would "cripple" programs to teach children to read.

Are Americans so uninformed that such distortions can be broadcast without anyone seemingly able to see what is going on?

Earlier in Bush's term, the same big spending liberals were crying about the "huge" tax cuts that were "unfair" and gave too much to the rich.

I want tax cuts of any kind.

The budget arguments are tied to the tax cut arguments.

Kennedy, a liberal who has never had to look for a job, wants more money to spend.

The more money Washington spends the more Americans will have a stake in keeping the budget—and the tax bill—high.

How do you get voters to support a tax cut when only 40 percent of the people pay any income tax at all? How do you give a tax break to someone who pays no tax any how?

Did you get your EITC check?

That is a reverse tax bite for lower income people.

If they earn more than a certain amount and less than the maximum cap for the Earned Income Tax Credit, they get a check from the government.

This is NOT because too much income tax was taken out.

They need not have actually paid any tax at all!

I am not criticizing the people or the EITC.

My point is tax breaks can only go to people who are paying taxes.

It is pretty obvious more money in Washington means more government.

It seems clear some Americans want more government.

I do not.

Steve Forbes gave an example about Washington and money that illustrates my point.

He was speaking at a rally in Kingman.

He said that bears love honey.

If there is a tree in the forest that contains honey, the bears will find it.

If you leave a pot of honey somewhere in the woods or in your cabin in the woods, the bears will find it.

Forbes said we should not get angry at a bear with his or her paw in the honey left in a cabin or in the woods.

"Eating honey is what bears do naturally," Forbes said.

Money is just like honey for politicians in Washington, he said.

Forbes did not point at one party.

His view was that money is a bipartisan issue.

He contends that all politicians like money as much as bears like honey.

You should not be surprised that politicians will get their paws in any pot of money left in Washington, he said.

He did not infer that the politicians take the money for themselves; just that they love to spend all the money they can get in taxes on some favorite programs.

If tax dollars are left in Washington, politicians will find a "great need" for the money.

Sending it back to taxpayers is the last thing they think of!

So, I do not really care who gets the tax cuts in Phoenix or Washington.

I want less government, fewer state and federal programs and more money left for individual Americans to spend.

I grew up thinking that was a definition of free enterprise.

Guess they changed the meaning since I was in school.

Oh, that fellow coming up my driveway wearing a shirt and tie in the hot May sunshine was an insurance salesman.

He was lost.