Today's the day...income taxes are due no later than midnight tonight. Actually, my lovely wife and I completed our taxes and filed electronically over the weekend; with direct deposit available for any refund, one no longer needs to leave the home at all during the entire process.
It's fashionable to kvetch about taxes, of course, but some conservatives have taken it to extremes in recent years. But while some conservatives seem to believe that the only legitimate use of tax revenue is military spending (which doesn't explain Bush trying to pay for his war with a tax cut), the American public doesn't see it that way. Of course people will generally favor lowered taxes when surveyed, but when those tax cuts are tied to cuts in programs they favor, they oppose them. And a recent poll--from Fox, yet--showed that 60% of the respondents felt that between the war and Bush's massive deficits, now is not the time for new tax cuts.
Everyone's for getting rid of "waste, fraud and abuse," but such is a tiny percentage of overall government spending...unless the term is a code word for social programs. Check out the Balanced Budget simulation, and you'll see that fiddling around with bureaucrats' budgets does almost nothing to offset the big budgetary line items:
- Military spending
- Social Security
- Health care (Medicare and non-medicare)
- Interest on the national debt (which is money redistributed from the taxpayers to banks, don't forget)
Of course, one thing the Bush presidency has made clear is that his inflexible commitment to tax cuts--in wartime, yet--is not matched by spending discipline. No, Bush is just another credit-card conservative, and I suspect people sense that.
Kevin Drum has an interesting couple of posts on how the mortgage tax deduction (which certainly made a difference on our own return) doesn't significantly save homeowners money. In sum, by subsidizing the mortgage, it increases the amount of money homeowners are willing to pay, thus driving up prices; without it, taxes would be higher but home prices (and mortgage opayments) lower. Interesting stuff...read the whole thing.