L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 114, March 26, 2001
March Militia Madness
Sen. Reid Fears We'd Only 'Squander' Proposed Bush Tax Cut
by Vin Suprynowicz
Special to TLE
One thinks of some bizarre old horror film, in which the aging animal-trainer cannot imagine giving up either his furry friends or the little act which has supported him through the years (delighting young and old alike.) So he insists on going through the motions of setting up his little horns and balls and flaming hoops, at which point (to the sound of pre-recorded drum roll and fanfare) he brings out and begins issuing loud and cheerful commands -- the crowd first murmuring and then recoiling in dawning awareness and escalating horror -- to the stiff, embalmed remains of his long-dead animal friends.
Speaking before about 1,000 municipal officials gathered from around the country at the Washington Hilton Hotel on March 12, U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., tried to re-stage the old Democratic dog-and-pony show about the evils of tax cuts, asserting that "To take all this money that we have in the way of surpluses and squander it on the tax cut is really the wrong way to go. ... Don't you think it's a better idea to spend that money on our water systems and sewer systems than to give Bill Gates a bigger tax break?"
Sen. Reid's remarks reportedly drew applause "from sections of the audience" -- a group well chosen to appreciate promises of renewed federal largesse -- as he added promises of more federal aid to repair derelict schools, roads, and bridges.
But the dogs are still dead, and one feels increasingly embarrassed for aging redistributionists like Sen. Reid as they try to prop them up in their tattered, pastel tutus and shove them through the hoops one more time, bowing to draw that increasingly reluctant little scattering of applause.
As a refreshingly large and nearly unanimous group of letter-writers to the Review-Journal have been pointing out in response to the senator's remarks in the past week, the fact that those who pay a lot of taxes will get a larger "tax break" (Democrats will only be happy when all "tax breaks" went to those who never paid any taxes in the first place) doesn't change the fact that tax revenues have been growing far beyond what can be explained or justified by inflation and population growth, combined. Washington is raking in money far in excess of what the current tax rates were expected to produce, till even big spenders like Sen. Reid have to root around looking for ever more far-fetched federal programs to subsidize.
Just as if a merchant had accidentally overcharged for a piece of merchandise, so the correct response for the federal government now is to contact those who have overpaid, offering them a refund and a lower rate from here on in.
Sen. Reid believes that if the Nevadans -- all the Americans -- who work so hard to earn their pay are allowed to keep a little more of those earnings, we will "squander" them ... who knows, probably on such frivolities as groceries, children's clothing, housing, and utility bills.
But let Sen. Reid keep his hands on that loot, and he'll put it to much better use -- on such projects as (here I cite the spending items for which Sen. Reid was "honored" in last week's annual pork report of the Citizens Against Government Waste) a $2 million UNLV study of remote airport check-in sites, and another $36 million in dubious and unsolicited "energy project" grants to both of Nevada's major state universities.
Sen. Reid has now three times taken an oath of office in which he vowed to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
It's in Article I, Section 8 of that Constitution that the powers of the Congress are enumerated -- the stated purpose being to limit those powers to the ones enumerated -- among them being the power to coin money, to provide and maintain a Navy, and so forth.
One looks in vain for any listed federal power to collect direct taxes from the citizens to build or repair local schools or bridges or sewer systems, while the tenth amendment further reminds us that any powers not specifically delegated "are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
In slightly plainer English, Sen. Reid would have no business showering our money on this kind of stuff, even if our pockets were bottomless.
Every six years, big-spending Washington Democrat Harry Reid kisses his buddies Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein and Ted Kennedy on the cheeks, pulls on a plaid shirt and a pair of bluejeans, travels back to Nevada, and has himself photographed sitting on a hay bale telling us he's a conservative Nevadan. In fact, if he and his tax-and-spend brethren had their way, they'd be taking more than half our income, rather than leaving us even as much as we're now busy ... in their view ... "squandering."