A couple of days ago I read this column by Steve Chapman in the Chicago Trib.
Before I go on, I have to say that I have no idea of Mr. Chapman’s politics. I don’t read his work very often and frequently he seems to live on the same planet I do. But his column rubbed me every wrong way there is.
You can follow the link to read the whole thing, but here’s the crucial quote:
A sad example is the payroll tax, which impedes job creation in two ways. First, it imposes an extra cost on employers for hiring workers — a cost they don’t incur if they decide to replace workers with machinery. Second, it reduces the take-home pay of those hired, making it less attractive for them to work.
By “payroll tax(es),” he means social security, workman’s compensation (for injured and disabled employees), and Medicare.
By the same reasoning, one can argue against sales taxes, as they deter persons from buying (I am not a big fan of sales taxes, but that is another story); you can argue against income taxes, as they take money from consumers; you can argue against inheritance taxes, as they cause persons not to want to die (oh! wait!).
And so on.
Underlying it all is this: The Republican something for nothing society.
If an employer gets robbed, it wants police to investigate the robbery.
If an employer suffers from embezzlement, it wants the government to apprehend the embezzler.
If an employer manufactures products, it wants the government to provide roads to allow it to deliver the products.
If an employer has vacancies on its rolls, it wants qualified employees from accredited schools to fill those vacancies.
But God forbid anyone should pay taxes to provide for those police, for those qualified employees, for those roads, for anything else that benefits the public good.
The essence of Republican Economic Theory: A Free Ride.
They want something and they don’t want to pay for it.