A $21 Trillion Tax Cut
March 22, 2001 11:02 PM   Subscribe

A $21 Trillion Tax Cut
And you thought the Democrats hated President Bush's tiny $1.6 trillion tax cut. James Ostrowski offers a $21 trillion tax cut and thinks the government could be fund through voluntary donations. I'm a small-government guy, but even I don't think you can fund the government via PayPal or Amazon.
posted by shackbar (9 comments total)
Haw. Haw. Haw.

As satire, this is about as funny as Showgirls. Actually, Showgirls is much funnier, plus with naked chicks. As is PJ O'Rourke (sadly without naked chicks), who took this same idea (ham-fisted budget cuts) in A Parliament of Whores.
posted by Skot at 1:35 AM on March 23, 2001

The terrifying part is that I'm a genuine New York City yellow-bellied media-readin' Liberal, and I can't disagree with a lot of these ideas.

Except the FDA, they're the best agency in the whole government, with those well-designed labels. David Kessler oughtta be President.
posted by anildash at 3:04 AM on March 23, 2001

I am the safety net type (to catch people who fall through the cracks). In DC there are many like Ostrowski that are dead serious. Also like Ostrowski they don't know what some of the area they want to cut actually do. Over the last eight years we watched government get smaller by becoming more efficient.

Big government is a very strange place, there are times that I have been in awe (working with a *part* of the IRS) that things run like a business, are efficient, and done right. Other times the stereotypical view of bureaucracy and Federal Government employee shines through.
posted by vanderwal at 5:00 AM on March 23, 2001

I can't believe I just read the whole thing, but I did. The most telling part is where he talks up the militia movement. This is probably his intended audience.
posted by gimli at 6:12 AM on March 23, 2001

shackbar - that may be the only way Amazon can ever turn a profit. :)
posted by schlyer at 7:50 AM on March 23, 2001

and you thought pledge week on NPR and PBS were annoying? Imagine this coming from the federal government...
posted by andrewraff at 9:55 AM on March 23, 2001

I liked how Ostrowski just made rough guesses as to how much saving he could get by cutting programs. While his numbers are flaky and his idea of voluntary contributions is goofy, he does make the point that the federal government does do too much.

One other thing: before the federal income tax passed in 1913, the feds had to pay for government somehow. Was it solely via the tariff? If the federal government was cut down to its proper constitutional role, could a tariff provide enough revenue? As far a taxes are concerned, a tariff used only for revenue (and not as a trade barrier) may be one of the least deforming of the economy.
posted by shackbar at 12:29 AM on March 25, 2001

As an American taxpayer, I must admit I love the idea of using using import tariffs to make other countries pay to run my government. Of course, if we did that, would we need to formally represent those countries in our government -- "no taxation without representation" -- as opposed to letting them informally buy a politician or two as we do now?
posted by kindall at 11:16 AM on March 25, 2001

A problem I see with having a revenue tariff is it would destort the economy in favor of domestic firms. If the tariff was so high as to make imports too costly, the domestic firms would have less incentive to improve and/or cut costs.
posted by shackbar at 11:20 PM on March 25, 2001

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