Tax Cut Apathy

October 6, 1999

I guess I'm amazed at how little is being said these days about the tax cut that wasn't. But maybe that's the biggest lesson out of this budget cycle: the American people really don't care that much about a tax cut.

Let me rehearse the last few months. The government is running a surplus--not a bogus surplus, but a real surplus. Congress decides that some of that surplus should be given back to the American people in terms of a tax cut. Critics worry that giving a tax cut wouldn't be prudent if the economy falters. So the Republican leadership puts in provisions that keep a tax cut from being given unless certain economic factors are achieved. Congress passes the tax cut but waits to submit it to the president in August so that they can build support for it. Congress returns in September, submits the budget, and the president vetoes the budget.

What's the reaction from the people? Overwhelming apathy. Those who do talk about it at all, say it wasn't worth the fight for a few dollars. After all, maybe the government needs the money more than I do anyway.

Well, let me put some of this in perspective. Not so many years ago, Americans held a tax revolt when the government was taking far less of our income than it is taking now. And a few centuries ago, Americans were willing to fight in a revolution over taxation that is insignificant compared to the rates today.

I believe that the American people are becoming used to high taxation. Oh sure, they complain about high taxes, but they don't do anything about it. Tax freedom day is later and later every year, but Americans no longer seem to care. If you ask me, that's the real reason the tax cut bill went down to defeat.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.