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Insanity in government taxing, spending

Editorial by Bobby Tingle

The federal budget in 2015 was approximately $3.8 trillion.  In February 2017, there were approximately 123 million full-time employed Americans.

Let’s assume the federal budget for 2017 remains at the same level as in 2015, $3.8 trillion.  Let’s also assume that employment remains steady at the February 2017 level, 123 million full-time employed Americans.  At the end of the year, if each full-time employee paid an equal share of the federal budget each would owe $30,894.

Our federal tax system does not work that way though.

If you make less than a certain amount or qualify for tax credits you do not pay federal income taxes.  Let’s assume only two-thirds of those employed full-time will qualify to pay federal income taxes.  In our hypothetical analysis, the number of full-time employees paying taxes would drop to about 81.2 million.  Each would owe $46,800.

That is insane.

Of course, you can argue with this analysis by saying that the federal government has other revenue sources.  The federal government, for instance, receives revenue from corporations doing business in the United States.  But where do those businesses get the funds to pay the taxes.  It is pretty simple; they add it in to the amount they charge consumers who buy their products and services.

It is insane for our federal government to spend that much.

Our current president has proposed a budget with cuts in some areas and increases in others.  Those who face proposed cuts are crying foul.

Take for instance Meal on Wheels.

Does it make sense for my employer to take money out of my check in the form of federal income tax withholdings, send it to Washington and then for Washington to send it back to Orange, Texas to feed some one in a Meals on Wheels program in my neighborhood? (Take a deep breathe, I know that is a run on sentence.)

It could be my next-door neighbor receiving the meal.

A cartoon published on the Editorial page of The Orange Leader in the March 18 edition identified public housing, climate science, helping low-income senior citizens find work, early childhood education, grants for teacher training and Meals on Wheels as items to be cut in the proposed federal budget.

It is very easy to cry foul.

But, if I send a dollar to Washington to buy meals for Meals on Wheels recipients in my neighborhood I wonder if Washington sends the whole dollar back?  I should reasonably expect a deduction for administrative costs, at least a nickel, maybe a dime or a quarter or two.  Possibly, if I drive to the Meals on Wheels kitchen and drop a dollar in the collection plate, they may use the whole amount on food, or gas, or a serving container.

The reality is it makes more sense for the dollar to be kept here and spent here.  Washington should not be involved.

Why do we put up with the insanity of allowing our federal government to do this?

In his 2017 State of the County report, published January 4, 2017 by The Orange Leader, Judge Stephen ‘Brint’ Carlton stated the county gave a grant of $40,000 to the Orange County Meals on Wheels program.  By doing so the county received a 2 to 1 match from the State of Texas from its Texans feeding Texans program offered by the Texas Department of Agriculture.

That makes sense.

When our Orange County Commissioners administer our local Meals on Wheels program we can go see Judge Carlton or Commissioners Trahan, Gothia, Burton or Crump.  We can look them in the eye and tell them exactly what we think, good or bad.

That isn’t an option when Washington is involved.

Bobby Tingle is publisher of The Orange Leader.  You can reach him at bobby.tingle@orangeleader.com.