Imagine, if you will, that I am 18. I have a really nice car that I partially paid for through a labor-intensive part time job and partially paid for through the beneficence of my parents. The car is very fast and very good looking, possibly the nicest car at my high school.
One day, a good friend of mine who is well known at school for "souping up" cars offers to take it to his house and modify it. He promises, based on his own relevant experience and research he's done on the internet that he can take my car and a small amount of my money for parts and give me at least a 15% boost in performance, without any risk of damaging the car's drive train. I hesitate, because the car is so valuable to me. But the promise of 15% gains in horsepower, torque, and speed with just a tiny monetary input is too good to pass up. I give him the keys.
A couple days goes by and he calls me. The parts were installed, the 15% boost achieved, but something unexpected happened and the engine is totalled. The car is a total loss, he says, unless we replace the engine. Furthermore, when he was testing it out and the engine failed he ran it into a lightpole, causing significant damage to the front bumper.
I report the bumper damage to my insurer, who will pay to replace the damaged parts but it will cost me a $500 deductible plus my premium will go up. These things I can tolerate, as I convinced my girlfriend to loan me the money, temporarily (I spend a significant amount on gas driving her places and I put up with her crap, so she sees the advantages of having my driving available in the future).
However, what to do about that engine? I do not have money to replace it; I will need some sort of loan. So my dad cosigns on a small personal loan and I buy the engine. But the payments are high, as is the interest rate. I quickly realize that my current cash flow is about 60% of what it needs to be to afford to live like I am now but also make payments on that personal loan.
The current government in this country suggests the solution to this fiscal problem would be to eliminate other parts of the car that aren't needed in order to save. So I stop using my seatbelt. I stop using the radio. I stop using the backseat and spare tire. Yet, having stopped using those parts of the car I am no closer to being able to afford payments on the replacement engine. Furthermore now my car is less safe, and less fun. If I get a flat tire down the road, I will be stranded.
Surely, the sensible thing to do is to never let my friend be trusted with my car again. I should learn to live with the power that it has, and be content to live my life without that extra (high risk) 15%. But even this hindsight wisdom puts me no closer to paying for that new engine for my poor car. Plus, how will I cover the increased insurance premium I am now required to pay?
My parents can not afford to make the payments for me. They already have loaned me a lot, or at least spend a lot supporting me and paying for various things I need in my teenage life. So I can't get money from them. I am 18; the thought occurs to me I could get a credit card to pay off the personal loan, but that just seems insane.Then what should I do? The answer, of course, is to increase my hours at my labor-intensive part time job. This will mean I lose some of my free time. My relationship with my girlfriend might be strained. My grades at school could potentially suffer. I will not have as much time with my friends. I'll have fewer free Saturdays for a while, because I'll be working more to pay for the engine. Certainly, I can stop eating fast food - saving about $25 a week. But that wasteful spending turned saving is a tiny scrap of the total cost of getting that car fixed.
Simply put: I cannot possibly hope to pay for that engine unless I start sacrificing for it.
And yet, raising taxes in this country is an anathema bordering on insanity to our government. In fact the idea of Americans changing their fiscal habits at all is pure communist psychosis. I do not disagree with the individuals who suggest that before we raise taxes we should cut waste. That is a prudent thing to do. I do not disagree with people who suggest that raising taxes might "kill jobs" somehow. Though I do not see it, I cannot prove them wrong. What I can prove is school districts are facing massive deficits nationwide, which without additional funding will certainly - certainly - kill jobs, namely those of teachers. So the question becomes which jobs you want to kill: the small businessperson who owns a barely profitable gift shop in a strip mall, or the teacher who is educating our youth? 95% of small businesses fail no matter how low taxes are. You choose the safer bet there.
I do not disagree with people who suggest that higher taxes might "slow growth" somehow. Copious growth would be really nice, and certainly if this economy came up like a buoy I would laud the high employment that accompanied it. Meanwhile, there is a reason our parents told us to avoid "get rich quick" schemes. Slow growth requires patience and fortitude...this country is fueled by greed and ambition.
I am sorry, fiscal conservatives, because I know some of you out there truly believe that lower taxes means higher economic growth and higher economic growth means salvation. I know some of you believe that somewhere in every local, state, and Federal government book there are pages and pages of waste - and that waste makes up a sizable portion of our budget. I know some of you believe that social welfare programs do nothing but accommodate the lazy. But we tried it your way for the last 10 years and it was a huge freakin' disaster. Now it's time to pay the pied piper.
Unless, of course, you think that "educating children" is a codeword for "wasteful spending."
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