Taxes are stran­gling work­ing Amer­i­cans

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary -

The folks are get­ting hosed. Ac­cord­ing to the Amer­i­can Debt Ad­vi­sor out­fit, 80 per­cent of us now owe money to cred­i­tors. If you ex­clude mort­gages and car pay­ments, about 50 per­cent of us are in debt. And that’s why the econ­omy is hav­ing so much trou­ble.

Con­sumers have to be very care­ful about what they buy, or risk sink­ing into in­sol­vency.

Some pun­dits place the blame on un­em­ploy­ment, which is cur­rently just over 9 per­cent. But that’s not what is driv­ing debt. Tax­a­tion is.

The mean salary in Amer­ica is just about $50,000. But if you live in Los An­ge­les, Bos­ton, San Fran­cisco or New York, earn­ing 50K means you’re poor. The cost of liv­ing in most ur­ban ar­eas is now so high that a $250,000 salary is mid­dle in­come. Pres­i­dent Obama might not un­der­stand this, but we, the peo­ple, do.

Let’s take the sit­u­a­tion in New York State. New York­ers like me pay fed­eral in­come tax, state in­come tax, New York City in­come tax and prop­erty taxes if we own a home. In fact, per capita prop­erty tax in the Em­pire State is about $1,900 a year. Sales tax per capita, an­other $1,700 per year.

Gaso­line tax in New York: 45 cents a gal­lon. Cell­phone tax and fees of 23 per­cent are added to your monthly bill. There are also tolls, and taxes on your driver’s li­cense, cig­a­rettes and al­co­hol. The hits just keep on com­ing.

The only re­lief for New York­ers is know­ing the tax sit­u­a­tion is worse in New Jersey.

All over the USA, work­ing folks are bleed­ing take-home pay. Obama says he wants to ex­tend the pay­roll tax cut, and that’s fine. But that’s a prover­bial drop of water into a bot­tom­less well.

Folks just don’t have much money to spend. So how on earth is the econ­omy go­ing to im­prove? Who’s go­ing to buy stuff? With so much money be­ing taken from ev­ery­day Amer­i­cans by their elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives in Washington and in the state cap­i­tals, there’s sim­ply not enough cash be­ing spent in the mar­ket­place to re­turn the na­tion to eco­nomic pros­per­ity.

Re­cently, I saw a bumper sticker that read: “Taxes buy civ­i­liza­tion. Pro­gres­sive val­ues are Amer­i­can val­ues.” Well, balder­dash. Taxes are stran­gling work­ing Amer­i­cans. They are cre­at­ing a so­ci­ety not of self-re­liance (al­most un­af­ford­able), but of de­pen­dence on in­sti­tu­tions we can’t con­trol: banks, credit card com­pa­nies, govern­ment-gen­er­ated hand­outs. Now the feds have seized con­trol of the health in­dus­try. That will mean even more tax­a­tion down the road.

Obama made a bet that his big-govern­ment vi­sion would cre­ate jobs and pros­per­ity. It has not worked.

It never works. Ask Cubans and Venezue­lans. Amer­i­cans now find them­selves strug­gling to pay the bills and ut­terly de­pen­dent on who­ever is pay­ing them a salary.

Up­ward mo­bil­ity? Please. Most Amer­i­cans are just try­ing to sur­vive. This is not what the pur­suit of hap­pi­ness is all about.

Bill O’Reilly is author of the book “Pin­heads and Pa­tri­ots: Where You Stand in the Age of Obama”.

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