Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What Next from Obama

Chicago Tribune's Dennis Byrne has this:
Where will they strike next?

Now that we've been flattened with the crushing weight of what Democrats imagine is health care reform, what additional burdens will follow? Some say it'll be "comprehensive" (there's that word again) immigration reform, providing a "path" for millions of expatriates here illegally to be rewarded with citizenship.

But you've got to be careful when trying to figure out the direction of the next Democratic blitz. The Democrats are likely to surprise you by suddenly veering off in a different direction, or sneaking in the unexpected. Like they did with the federal takeover of the student loan program while we were distracted by the sizzling health care debate. While similarly distracted, they also zapped us with another exorbitant "stimulus" package of "investments" in roads, bridges, "clean energy" and whatnot. What have I forgotten? Oh, yes, Race to the Top, another futile showering of public schools with billions in a continuing campaign to concentrate education powers in Washington.

It's as if liberals had been waiting for years for their chance to launch this frenzy, and now with a gigantic, satisfying belch, they have issued forth every invention, concoction or scheme they've been unable to launch since President Lyndon B. Johnson. I guess they figure this is their one chance in a generation of getting them all enacted, and in that, they'd be right.
Unemployment and jobs--that legislation is not doing so well. All that other crap the Byrne lists is done so what is next?

The Value Added Tax (VAT). Now for those of you who don't know what this is, check out this primer at wikipedia. Now, one of the items missing from that primer is how does a country calculate "value added?" The problem of course is that determining a VAT at any stage is largely a political exercise not an accounting one. For example, you can be sure that calculation of VAT on gasoline will be stricter than calculation of say bio-diesel or ethanol, despite the fact that the latter processing is more expensive and thus more "value" put into the final product than refining of oil in to gasoline.

Of course, if the government can figure out a way to calculate a VAT without so much overtly political decisions, perhaps we can talk about it as a substitute. I don't necessarily mind a VAT if I don't have to pay VAT on top of my income taxes and sales taxes and business taxes. So if VAT is a substitute for income taxes, fine, but if it is in addition to income taxes, in the paraphrased words of Jim Lovell, "Washington, we have a problem."

Of course, consideration of a VAT is almost inevitable. Our current political leadership seems to think we should be more like Europe and most of the European Union have a VAT--which has been crushing economic growth for decades. Do you think the Danes or the Swedes or even Italians like to pay 30 Euros for a pizza? That is what it costs for a take out pizza because of the VAT. But after Obama and the Democrats in Congress have passed all that crap that is costing trillions of dollars, they have to find a way to pay for it without bankrupting the country or causing run-away inflation by simply printing more money. Hence the VAT.

If healthcare was a major battle, Republicans and independents and pro-growth Democrats in this country need to dig in like the 101st Airborne around Bastogne because that is the battle now.

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