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I think most people understand that the government has no money except that which is taken from the people through taxes and fees. Even corporate taxes are paid by us as individuals through higher prices for the taxed goods. The government can’t print money, since that would devalue it and result in runaway inflation.

My question is, “How much should be taken from the people?” It seems to me there are two boundaries: a lower bound, below which national security is imperiled, an orderly society is not preserved and human suffering is allowed; and an upper bound, beyond which the growth of wealth and entrepreneurship are disincentivized and the work ethic and self-reliance are devalued. Clearly, there will be disagreement on the exact boundaries, but I think most will agree that they exist. As a society, we have generally managed to find a middle ground within the borders, with government services growth reduced when conservatives govern and increased when liberals govern.

I truly believe our political parties are trying to operate outside the two boundaries, giving rise to the border wars that created the gridlock we have today. The conservatives will not allow the tax increases necessary to pay for the two wars we have fought this century plus the ongoing homeland security measures instituted after 9/11. This violates the funding of national security boundary, since taking on debt is not real financing. The liberals have created a regulatory environment inimical to business and have proposed tax policy that will stifle the growth of business and national wealth formation. They have also increased entitlement spending to a level I believe will reduce individual self-reliance and work ethic. These violate the upper boundaries.

Statesmanship on the part of all parties will be required to put an end to the ugly and damaging border wars we are experiencing. I hope those we have elected will seek the middle ground. Perhaps starting points might be for each political party to define their ideological taxation boundary and for we the electorate to do the same and make our views known.

Larry Neal

Albemarle