Don’t fear spending and tax cuts

There is plenty of room in our state and national budget to lower taxes and government spending.

by Josh Villa

A number of students on campus are upset with the Republican proposals âÄî both nationally and in the state of Minnesota âÄî for reducing government spending and lowering taxes.
Two recent columns in the Minnesota Daily âÄî Jan. 25âÄôs âÄúGOPâÄôs reverse-Robin Hood approachâÄù and Jan. 24âÄôs âÄúWe are the stewards of American civilizationâÄù âÄî are prime examples of this discontent.
It is rooted in the idea that government spending cuts will have devastating effects on the nation and that tax cuts âÄî especially for the wealthy âÄî are unfair and unbeneficial to most Americans.
The call for more government spending âÄî or keeping spending at its already bloated level âÄî is completely unnecessary. There are many areas that can and should sustain cuts.
K-12 education is a poster child for those advocating more government spending. It seems that every time it is proposed that education spending is cut there are numerous politicians guilting tax payers that American students will fall further behind other countries if we donâÄôt pony up some more money.
But more funding doesnâÄôt always correlate to student achievement.
As Jay Greene, the author of âÄúEducation Myths,âÄù said, âÄúIf money were the solution, the problem would already be solved âĦ WeâÄôve doubled per pupil spending, adjusting for inflation, over the last 30 years, and yet schools arenâÄôt better.âÄù
But there are more examples of increased funding not solving a problem.
After providing a $10 billion bailout of school districts around the nation (in the name of saving the jobs of teachers) last August, we hear that this year 21,000 teachers are expected to be laid off in New York City alone. Facing a similar situation, Minnesota school districts from Two Harbors to Lakeville and Eden Prairie have announced teacher layoffs or pay freezes to avoid them.
What happened to the money we have already spent? We continue to increase education spending and students continue to fail. We give emergency funding dedicated to saving teacherâÄôs positions, and teachers are still laid off. Where did the money go?
The answer is that government money isnâÄôt the solution. Throwing money at our education system wonâÄôt make it better. We need to ensure that the money we do spend is spent wisely.
Education is only one example of unnecessary and unproductive spending. Other areas where increased funding has not had its promised effect include stimulus spending and the bailouts.
A combination of spending and tax cuts is absolutely essential to reducing the deficit and helping spur new economic growth.
The fact is that the top 1% of income earners will pay nearly 21% of all federal taxes and the top 10% of earners will pay 48.5% of all federal taxes. Meanwhile 47% of Americans will pay no income tax at all.
Taxing high earners is bad policy because itâÄôs they who are creating jobs, developing new technology and making capital investments that help grow our economy. Taxing them excessively will result in those people making fewer investments, which in turn slows economic growth.
Lowering taxes for all and cutting spending across the board will help reduce the deficit, encourage greater government efficiency and encourage growth in the private sector.