The economy is not some theoretical concept or ivory tower idea. A strong economy means that Americans have jobs and growing incomes. It means that families can provide their children with the care and opportunities that will provide for a bright future. Conversely a weak economy means fewer jobs and less opportunity. It means lower incomes and it means that families have to do without.
Too often big government slows the economy by taxing and spending too much. Those who support more and more government taxes and spending always argue that government can do something good with the money. But the problem with that argument is that families and businesses also can do a lot of good with that money if government doesn’t take it away from them. Businesses can hire and pay more. Families also have many good uses for their earnings — they may purchase a home, repair or upgrade a home, buy a car, or buy goods and services that their family needs. But if the government takes more of their income to spend on things that the government claims are useful, families and business have less to spend on the things that matter to them.
In all honesty, do you really think that the federal government will spend that money better than you can spend it? Who cares more about your family and your future? The federal government or you?
So we need to stop talking about all the good that government might do if it had more money to spend because it always comes at the expense of the good that Americans could do with their own money, if only government wouldn’t take it from them.
One clever trick that those seeking to grow the government use to trick Americans into giving more and more of their earnings to the government is to promise that the taxes will be paid by some big business that can afford to pay the taxes. Such is the case with energy taxes and carbon taxes.
Energy taxes and carbon taxes may appear to be a taxes on big oil companies or energy providers, but they are, in fact, a tax on Americans who will simply pay a higher price at the pump or in their utility bills or for every other product they buy — clothes, food, household items — literally everything.
But who will really pay these energy taxes and carbon taxes? Average everyday Americans, families, and small businesses.
Despite the truth, a carbon tax will be dishonestly sold as a tax on big energy companies who can afford to pay more. But that is simply a cynical lie. Average, everyday Americans — many of whom who are struggling to pay their bills — will be the ones who pay the carbon tax. Small businesses will be forced to further downsize which means more unemployed Americans just so that the government can collect more taxes.
Those are the facts. Those supporting energy and carbon taxes, or other new taxes will not honestly or candidly admit who will pay the taxes or what the costs will be. They will simply make it sound like someone else will pay the tax and that the benefits will be huge and widespread. But none of that is true.
The costs will be placed squarely on average everyday Americans and the benefits will be concentrated on those special few who have bought friends in high places and can get the laws slanted to favor them.
So Frontiers of Freedom opposes any net tax increases and we oppose the imposition of an energy or carbon tax. American families and small businesses cannot afford these new tax burdens.
In particular, a carbon tax would purposely and dramatically increase energy prices. It would increase the pain at the pump, and the cost of electricity and home heating fuels. It would increase the cost of anything that is made using energy or transported using energy. It would make everything more expensive — groceries, clothes, housing, fuel, electronics — everything. And it would destroy millions of jobs.
That means millions of American families would struggle well beyond the higher prices. They would see greater unemployment and shrinking opportunity.
To make matters worse all this additional federal income that would be extracted from Americans — wouldn’t be used to pay down the debt — it would simply fund the growth of more government — more bureaucrats and more rules and regulations which would further harm the economy, kill jobs, and reduce opportunity.
Americans do not need more taxes. They need more opportunity. They need more jobs. To get this, they need a government that takes less and leaves more to be used to build a brighter future. Thus, no one who cares about their or their children’s future can reasonably be expected to support these stealth taxes.
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George Landrith is the president of Frontiers of Freedom, a public policy think tank devoted to promoting a strong national defense, free markets, individual liberty, and constitutionally limited government. Mr. Landrith is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, where he was Business Editor of the Virginia Journal of Law and Politics. Mr. Landrith was a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from Virginia. You can follow George on Twitter @GLandrith.