The Occasional Joke

Nurse: Patient's name?

Centurion: Marcus Licinius Crassus

Nurse: And his date of birth?

Centurion: 115 BC.

Nurse: All right. And what is he here for?

Centurion: Cataphract surgery.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Death panels! GOP balances budget on the backs of seniors!

Just kidding.

But, now we know. (Of course, we knew already, those of us who can perform basic arithmetic calculations and/or let Excel do it for us.) You can't simultaneously raise revenue and hold it constant (let alone decrease it,) unless you're prepared to call it a quantum budget. So in order, hypothetically, to attract new jobs to Michigan, part of the Governor's plan is being reported to be: reduce business taxes while shifting some of the burden (not much, actually, if you read between the lines) to ... wait for it ... the evil elderly.

Actually, not all that many of the elderly, since the proposal is to tax public and private pension plan income. Other kinds of retirement income (except social security) are already taxed, and not many companies are doing actual pension plans for recent employees, so I guess this is aimed right at the shorts of (pick all that apply) the UAW, the UAW, the UAW, those expensive public employees we keep hearing about, and the UAW.

There are spending cuts involved, too, and already (Snyder hasn't actually given his speech yet,) (oops, yes he has) the Michigan Municipal League, the schools, the universities, the AARP, and many other radical organizations have expressed reactions ranging from outrage to outrage.

Me? Well, I don't have one of those pension plans, so if and when I do retire, I was kind of assuming that I'd continue to pay state taxes on my income, here or somewhere else. But more to the point, as I've said for, hell, decades now, you cannot cut taxes. You can't. I don't mean morally or ethically or philosophically, I mean it's an impossibility.

Unless you're living in a governmental area that provides no services at all, the cost of providing those services will go up along with inflation and the normal feature creep of human organizations. You can cut a department here or squeeze an entitlement there, but you can't beat the odds. Somewhere, somebody's taxes will go up. Anybody who thinks different, well, let's just agree to disagree, but maybe you should stay out of casinos. You probably think you can beat the house, too.

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