Dangerous for unelected officials to set tax rates

*Dangerous for unelected officials to set tax rates

Dangerous for unelected officials to set tax rates

Re April 12 Op-Ed by Aaron Goldzimer and David Gamage, “Let the Fed, not Congress, set tax rates”: While I would be the first to defend the esteemed legal lights and their right to speak their poorly thought out drivel, I maintain that it’s a great example of speech that has every constitutional right to be said, but no protected right to be heard. What distilled poppycock these extraordinarily well educated fools have somehow convinced the Los Angeles Times to print. News must have been in short supply that day.

The concept that tax rates should be set by an unelected body of any sort is antithetical to the principles of the founding of our Republic, the blood shed to do so, and the practice of those principles for all of it’s history. This silly (and dangerous) idea is the functional equivalent of having the Food and Drug Administration [FDA] mandate that all citizens take vitamins and dietary supplements of certain types and in certain doses daily because FDA experts are sure our good health depends on it.

Or perhaps having the Department of Transportation [DOT] require that we all purchase a new car every five years because DOT geniuses just know that the economy would then be stronger.

Our highly educated, advanced degree-holding, prestigious law school affiliated, loonies have failed to notice that their own piece contains the best arguments against itself. Three examples of the internal contradictions should suffice:

1) Stating that “in modern times politicians have not been able to raise taxes much” (Really?) Messrs. Goldzimer and Gamage seem to believe that one benefit of their idea would be to “better match taxes to Congress’ spending over time.” They thereby overlook that during the Obama Administration taxes collected have been raised to the highest levels in history. It is utterly impossible to “match taxes to Congress’ spending” over time. Congress has outspent it’s revenue every year (save three) in my entire 52 years of adult life.

2) The brilliance of their academic achievements obviously outshines mere common sense (it’s so “common” you know) allowing Goldzinger and Gamage to ignore that the “relatively good times (as in the late 1980s and the mid-aughts)” to which they refer were caused by tax cuts (Reagan and Bush) that wouldn’t have been made under the magnificent rules they wish to promulgate, since there were budget deficits then as well.

3) Desiring to not only damage the Republic, the postdoctoral associate and the assistant professor then attempt a coup de grace to the Constitution by saying that “if this reform were paired with the gradual elimination of special tax breaks” it would be “even better.” Their meaning is clear. The “special tax breaks” that would be eliminated would be chosen by the Federal Reserve. Sort of like having the DMV [Department of Motor Vehicles] decide (as it did about a decade ago) that registrations just had to increase in price about 75 percent. We citizens all got a say in that, right?

We already have a diverse patchwork of locally elected boards deciding school, fire, sewer, and other taxes and fees which we are required to pay. However, those taxes (if one is required to pay, it is a tax) are set by elected boards, although because of low voter turnout, those boards are nearly unelected, but that’s our fault, not the government’s.

Please give the authors of this Op-Ed piece a well deserved Bronx cheer for their sophomoric and frightening idea. Either we have, and use a Constitution, or we don’t. The sole power to tax is given to Congress (at the federal level) and the sovereignty of the people over Congress can only be maintained by the power of the ballot. If you give it away, you will never get it back.

Rob Dickson

Clifton Park

Categories: Letters to the Editor

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