14 April, 2011

“Spending Reductions In The Tax Code” Worse Than Orwellian

Yesterday, during his speech, President Barack Obama (D-USA) employed a curious turn of phrase: “spending reductions in the tax code”. Many on the right have rightly criticized this phrase as Orwellian for “tax increases”.

But it’s far worse than that. Look at his exact words (emphasis mine for clarity):

This is my approach to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over the next twelve years. It’s an approach that achieves about $2 trillion in spending cuts across the budget. It will lower our interest payments on the debt by $1 trillion. It calls for tax reform to cut about $1 trillion in spending from the tax code. And it achieves these goals while protecting the middle class, our commitment to seniors, and our investments in the future.

In the coming years, if the recovery speeds up and our economy grows faster than our current projections, we can make even greater progress than I have pledged here. But just to hold Washington – and me – accountable and make sure that the debt burden continues to decline, my plan includes a debt failsafe. If, by 2014, our debt is not projected to fall as a share of the economy – or if Congress has failed to act – my plan will require us to come together and make up the additional savings with more spending cuts and more spending reductions in the tax code. That should be an incentive for us to act boldly now, instead of kicking our problems further down the road.

Basically what he’s talking about is getting rid of tax deductions, like the home mortgage deduction. But the phrasing is very telling. He thinks of a tax deduction as “government spending”. In other words, he’s stating directly that when the government allows a deduction, they are giving you some of their money, not letting you keep more of your own.

We’ve known on the right that those on the left feel this way for some time, but this is the first time I can remember a prominent Democrat politician, much less the President, actually say it in words out loud.

It’s possible that I’m even giving him a benefit of the doubt here that he doesn’t deserve. I’m assuming he’s talking about deductions, but he may consider any kind of tax cut or lowered tax rate as “spending in the tax code”. It’s not really clear, and it’d be easy to make the even scarier interpretation.

Regardless, the conclusion here is inescapable. We’re past “slippery slope” territory. We’ve even zoomed right on by “carried to its logical conclusion”. Once you start down the path the President laid out yesterday, there’s only one possible destination.

And that’s that the government owns everything, and you only get what the government decides to give you.

Congratulations, everyone. You went to bed on Tuesday night in the United States of America. You woke up in the United Socialist States of America.

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