When writers at the Clarion-Ledger attack the Mississippi Legislature for passing a tax cut, you know that the legislature did something right. The Governor, the Lt. Governor, and the Speaker of the House are being thrashed because they dared to cut taxes and shrink state government.
When the Democrat Party was in charge, state government grew at an accelerating pace. Friends of influential state legislators were hired into positions where there was little or no meaningful work to be done. But life was good. Money flowed from the state coffers like cheap wine. A state job was a wonderful thing with all of its benefits and perks. Personnel costs grew as the work force increased, and Mississippi became more and more dependent on its taxpayers and the federal government. Believe it or not, the bankrupt federal government, already $19 trillion in debt, sent millions of dollars our way. If the state could scrape up $2 the feds would match it with $8 in some cases. This is a very good deal if you love big government and borrowed money.
Now the landscape is changing and Mississippi is now front and center in this change. The national economy has tanked during the Obama presidency, and the national growth rate is now below 2 percent a year. Jobs are a scarce commodity, and thus, the tax base has been significantly reduced. Over 94 million Americans are unemployed. States throughout the nation are doing whatever they can to create financial stability and spur economic growth. Mississippi is no exception. Whatever it can do to create an increase economic activity must be considered.
One of the lamest arguments a big government liberal can make is, “Well, if we cut taxes over here, we must offset that cut and find money somewhere else to make up the difference.” How many times have you heard this absurd argument? When the Democrats were in control, you heard this nonsense often.
The key of course is to reduce the size of state government. In the economic times in which we live, we can either confiscate money from hard working taxpayers to keep the government at its present size or we can do what should have been done long ago and downsize. How many agencies could be eliminated? How many agencies are performing at an unacceptable level? How many employees are performing at an unacceptable level, and how many people does the government need to provide essential state services? With modern technology, it seems to me that a significant reduction in state personnel could be achieved without hurting or eliminating essential services.
One headline read: “Bankruptcy of leadership among State Leaders.” This was brought about by the fact that the Gov. Phil Bryant signed the largest corporate tax cut in the state’s history.” Good for Gov. Bryant. Let’s get our economics 101 textbook out and review what has happened. Corporations do not pay taxes. From my front porch, I can hear the liberals screaming, “Yes, they do.” The corporations may write the checks to the state, but you, my good friend, pay the taxes. Taxes are just a part of doing business. If a corporation can produce a product at a profit for $10 before taxes, and the taxes cause the product to rise by $2.50 per unit, the increase will be passed along to the consumer. The actual cost of the product will then be $12.50. The consumer, therefore, pays the taxes. It is simple economics.
Everyone will scream when their “ox gets gored.” It is happening in state government with the decrease in funding. The only issue I have with the legislature is that they did not eliminate several agencies. Some of these agencies are out dated and have served their usefulness.
Don’t misunderstand me. I feel really bad for the poor state worker who is about to lose his or her job, but this day was coming. Democrats at the federal level and Democrats at the state level have set the table, and now all of us must go on a highly restricted diet. State government is big business and should be run as a business. The sad facts of life are that state government, like the federal government, grew too large, and the economic situation we find ourselves in has rearranged the table. Fewer people will be dining at the table of state government, and this will be a good thing. And I do hope the “handringers” at the Clarion-Ledger will step back and take a second look at the economics of the situation.
The world as we know it is not coming to an end.