Ah, springtime: that magical season of beach weather, budding blossoms and income taxes.
As Americans rushed to submit their income tax returns Tuesday an act that may not be in the foreseeable future for some, given the current job climate customary protesters were in full force. But though the days traditional pageantry includes lamenting the over-taxation of all Americans, Tax Day 2012 saw protesters actually advocating for higher taxes as long as theyre paid by someone else.
The Tampa Bay area featured competing protests, with a Tea Party-sponsored Anti-Tax rally over the weekend and an Occupy Wall Street-inspired Tax the Rich soiree in St. Petersburg Tuesday. Yet what the class warriors dont seem to grasp in their attempts to fix the ailing economy is the sheer scope of out-of-control government spending. Our astronomical national debt and interest are the main catalysts in our countrys race to financial ruin.
Spending will once again have to enter the conversation, as President Barack Obamas Buffett Rule, named after his favorite Wall Streeter Warren Buffet, was defeated this week by the Senate, which valiantly let common sense win out over competing desires to raise taxes, spend other peoples money and get re-elected.
This tax, which would place a minimum tax of 30 percent on American millionaires, was little more than a shortcut around the inflating budget. The U.S. Congress Joint Committee on Taxation found that the $47 billion generated over 10 years by the tax would only amount to about 0.7 percent of the estimated $6.4 trillion in spending over the next decade planned by the Obama administration for the 2013 budget, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has also countered the class rhetoric with solid statistical evidence. In October 2011 on NBCs Meet the Press, Ryan showed that a 100 percent tax rate on U.S. millionaires only produces enough cash to operate our bloated bureaucracy for four months.
Today, the national debt exceeds $15 trillion and explodes at a rate of $3.5 billion per day and $2 million each minute, according to defeatthedebt.com.
Washingtons drunken sailor-like spending priorities have created such a huge problem that the U.S. Senate has even refused to produce a budget proposal for three years, according to the U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee. And with 2012 a presidential election year, the chances of any real solutions being offered in the near future are slim to none.
USF students working through college are undoubtedly aware of the bite taxes take out of every hard-earned dollar, and in light of high unemployment and rising prices on everything from food to fuel, tax increases on the uber-rich or the soon-to-be-uber-poor will do little to balance Uncle Sams checkbook.
Since my first day at USF in 2009, gas prices have rocketed from $1.81 per gallon to $3.89 per gallon nationally, according to floridagasprices.com, making transport to school or work a balancing act against the needs for food and shelter.
Americas financial problems reach far beyond the Buffett Rule and empty suggestions from Washington. Hopefully those footing the bill will keep that in mind this November.
Anastasia Dawson is a junior majoring in mass communications.