Obscene debt, capital gains and Obama's poll numbers

Posted: Monday, May 25, 2009

The federal budget deficit will be $1.84 trillion this year. That's about four times the record set just last year, The Associated Press says.

For every dollar that it spends, the government will borrow 46 cents.

Deficits will never fall below $500 billion any year between 2010 and 2019 - and the cumulative total will be $7.1 trillion.

That's deficits - the amount borrowed, and billed to our children and grandchildren, to pay for today's excesses.

If we don't go on this government spending spree, it has been argued, the recession might last another 10 years.

History suggests otherwise.

But even if it were true, how can we, in good conscience, do this? Why not bear the burden ourselves, instead of shifting it to future generations?

Debt service alone will impoverish just about everybody but the ultra-rich in the future - or gobble up money needed to provide legitimate government services.

Capital gains taxes

Liberals scoff at the idea of cutting capital gains taxes to create badly needed jobs. "Tax cuts for the rich," they call it.

Not really. Most people, not just the wealthy, pay capital gains in their retirement funds.

Besides, it really works.

"Business investment contracted at an annualized rate of 1.14 percent during the 14 quarters preceding the 2003 capital gains tax cut," writes talk radio host Michael Medved in his book "The Ten Big Lies About America." "But it grew at a rate of 13.03 percent over the three quarters following it."

The president's spend-borrow policies aren't helping. To the contrary, 2 million jobs have evaporated since he took office, and his own administration concedes that it will get worse before it gets better.

Now that he has tried something that doesn't work, why not try something that does?

Obama's popularity

Let's put to rest, once and for all, this nonsense about President Barack Obama's high approval ratings.

Since World War II, the Gallup organization says, presidents have averaged a 66 approval rating at the end of their first three months in office.

Obama's rating - 63 percent.

Not a Christian nation?

Eighty-two percent of Americans, according to a Rasmussen poll, believe "Jesus Christ was the son of God who came to Earth and died for our sins."

Yet, many pundits insist this is not a Christian nation.

Too much protection

Florida law mandates 51 different coverages for health care policies in this state. That, the National Federation of Independent Businesses says, adds as much as 20 percent to the cost of being insured.

People have to pay for a lot of coverage that they'll probably never use, at a time when everyone agrees premiums are too high. It's another example of government "helping" you.

Double standard

A study, according to a New York Times columnist, found conservatives give nearly twice as much money to charity as liberals, on average.

The headline said it all: "Bleeding Heart Tightwads."

Hmmm. That reminds me of something that a liberal acquaintance once told me: "I'm a conservative with my own money - but a liberal with other people's money."

There they go again

The House recently passed an energy tax increase that will cost a typical American household $1,600 a year, says U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw, R-Jacksonville.

Just what we need - a big tax increase in the midst of a steep recession.

Good job, Congress.

• Phil Fretz is a columnist for the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville.

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