Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tax the rich to balance the budget?

That's the majority of the plan put forth today by Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton. While taxes are never popular -- and judging by the comments following the original article you'd think that each and every bickering and illiterate jackal commenting was in that new top income tax bracket -- they seem to be one of only a handful of ways out of the state's $6.2 billion deficit.

Any plan which Dayton proposes will be unpopular. He was left this mess thanks to Tim Pawlenty who opposed raising taxes in any way and by doing so created this huge deficit. But he remained popular because everyone hates taxes. I hate taxes, my neighbors hate taxes and my co-workers hate taxes but they are an inevitable part of living in the society we have built for ourselves.

But Mark Dayton's budget proposal only raises income taxes on the wealthiest 5% of Minnesotans. If $150,000 is the cutoff for the wealthiest 5%, we obviously live in a rather middle-class state. But the majority of the remaining 95% below that magical $150,000 income threshhold are scared. Their thinking is probably along the lines of "well, if Dayton raises the taxes on them, he'll get us next". But that would be political suicide for a man who won the election by a less than 10,000 vote margin.

"But it's redistribution of wealth!"

To those 5% whose taxes are poised to increase (a mere $1,000-$2,000 per person per some reports) and those who didn't vote for Dayton that's how they see it. To me it's a few who can afford to pay their share who will now pay their share. Oh sure, call me a communist but if you have an income of $150,000 and can't afford to pay an additional $2,000 per year, you are obviously living far beyond your means. For all the yelling about people living beyond their means causing the huge collapse of nearly everything in the past three or four years, they need to take a look in the mirrors and realize that those who help their neighbors will be rewarded in the end.

And best of all, Dayton is calling the tax hikes temporary. If it balances the budget in the end, then it's a job well done.

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