F.R. Duplantier reporting Behind The Headlines
Week of:
October 1, 2000
It's Our Money and We Want it Back!

F.R. Duplantier

by: F.R. Duplantier

The next President of the United States should reduce federal spending and cut taxes.

"Today, Washington spends the contributions of America's workers on an ever-broadening array of projects," declares Peter Sperry of the Heritage Foundation. "It preempts so many roles once effectively filled by local government, the family, religious organizations, and the private sector that it is doing few -- if any -- of them well. Worse," he adds, "it is failing to fulfill even its core responsibilities capably and effectively."

In a chapter he contributed to Issues 2000, the Heritage Foundation's candidate briefing book, Sperry argues that "America is entering the new century more prosperous, highly productive, and basically content. Most Americans enjoy and take pride in filling their own needs. Religious and civic organizations in local communities continue to provide assistance to those who need help and are not yet able to share in the general prosperity. The only services Americans really desire from their duly elected federal leaders," Sperry contends, "are national security, an efficient judicial system, and a sound foreign policy -- none of which is being delivered."

Sperry warns that excessive federal spending "undermines freedom and prosperity." He calls for the federal government to "focus on its core responsibilities and perform them well." Sperry urges the next Congress and President "to make the budget process more accessible and to force the unelected federal bureaucracy to be more accountable." He recommends that budget surpluses be "returned to taxpayers in the form of tax cuts," that federal programs be "devolved to the level of government closest to the people involved," and that middle-class entitlements and corporate welfare be curbed.

In another chapter of Issues 2000, Heritage Foundation analysts Daniel Mitchell and William Beach trumpet the advantages of a flat tax, which, they say, "would eliminate confusing and discriminatory special-interest preferences in the Internal Revenue Code. It would lower tax rates on work, savings, investment, risk-taking, and entrepreneurship. It would be so simple," they assert, "that the billions of hours that currently are needed each year to comply with the maze of tax forms, rules, regulations, and other requirements could be put to better use. And it would virtually eliminate the potential for bureaucratic abuse."

Mitchell and Beach complain that the current tax code "allows powerful and politically influential people to manipulate the tax system for their own advantage. Because the tax burden is at record levels," they observe, "many taxpayers understandably want to protect their earnings, but the system of loopholes, credits, exemptions, and deductions fosters a pervasive sense of unfairness and encourages lawmakers to impose even higher tax rates on any income that does not enjoy special status."

Mitchell and Beach emphasize that lower-income workers who pay little or no federal taxes "would benefit disproportionately from fundamental tax reform because it is the less fortunate who depend most on faster economic growth to improve their living standards. The best way to increase the income of workers," Mitchell and Beach argue, "is to increase savings and investment, yet those are the very activities that are subject to the highest tax rates today."

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