Just Fix Things!

I read an article today in the New York Times website that set off one of my pet peeves.  The article talks about the amount of taxes paid by the people of Illinois.  In it, the Times quotes some stats about the percentage of state and local taxes paid by people in the low, middle and high income ranges.  The solution being voted on by the citizens of Illinois is a revised income tax that reduces the taxes on low income  residents and increases taxes on high income residents.

I really dislike it when the media and politicians conflate issues.

The statistics in the Times mixes state income taxes with local taxes and these are two different things.  Local taxes fund things like your schools, town and county governments, police, road departments and the like.  They are usually funded by property taxes and the amount of taxes that the property owner pays is based on the value of their home.  These taxes are often considered a burden on low income property owners because they are assessed without regard to the person’s ability to pay them.  Income taxes are scaled in brackets, with lower income people paying a smaller percentage of their income, often paying no taxes at all, and higher income people paying a larger percentage of their income in taxes.  Using the property tax burden on the poor to justify increasing income taxes on the rich is mixing apples and oranges, or as the media likes to say, it conflates the issues.  The politicians are using one issue as leverage for a tax increase on the other.

In Maine, the Democrat candidate for senator is running a political ad against the Republican candidate that conflates the issues also.  In it, she charges that Senator Susan Collins vote for corporate income tax cuts weakens Social Security.  This is another case of mixing apples and oranges.  You can debate corporate tax cuts and you can debate Social Security solvency but they are separate issues.  Social Security is funded by the employee payroll taxes and employer matching taxes.  Reducing a business’s income tax does not reduce the Social Security taxes.  Again, they are separate issues that politicians mix together to try to make their point without addressing the individual issues.  It is a form of lying.

The worst offenders are Congress’s consolidated bills.  The current bill being debated between the House and the Senate to extend additional unemployment benefits is a prime example.  The politicians will not just address the issue.  Instead, the House only wants to extend unemployment benefits if the bill includes vote by mail and increased immigration.  What the hell does that have to do with unemployment? 

Our politicians are a disappointment to us.  They do not work to resolve the problems of the American people.  If they did, they would take an issue, debate it, reach a compromise and vote on it.  Instead, they mix all sorts of other, non-related issues together, thereby practically assuring that nothing will ever get resolved, except to give each party a talking point about how bad the opposition is.  Frankly, I am getting sick of it.  PICK A PROBLEM, FIX IT AND MOVE ON TO THE NEXT!  That is how President Trump tries to work…and that is probably why they hate him so much.

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