Saturday, January 27, 2007

Billings Gazette cheats on headlines

Today a headline in the Billings Gazette tells us: Schweitzer tax-cheat bill again in trouble.

The only problem with that headline is that as far as one can tell from the article, the individuals and corporations that Schweitzer is after aren't cheating. On the contrary, they are doing something perfectly legal. Sort of like the way that rich liberals decry tax loopholes and beat the drum to tax the rich, but work like crazy to avoid paying the taxes they want to raise.

But, someone replies, conservatives try to pay as little tax as possible, too! True, but this is consistent with their belief that everyone should pay less in taxes. There is no hypocrisy when a Republican who works to cut taxes for all tries to minimize his tax burden. The hypocrisy involved when a liberal politician works to raise taxes that he has no intention of paying himself is mind-boggling. But this is a digression.

Reading the headline, one would get the impression that Republicans are in favor of helping people cheat on their taxes, which is quite an allegation.

Republicans actually have this annoying habit of being wary of any government taxation scheme, particularly when it could harm the practical interests of promoting business or go against the general principle of double taxation. For instance, will an out-of-state businessman who is forced to pay Montana state income tax also have to pay income tax in his state of residence on that same money?

The full details of the Democrat plan are murky in this and other news reports. The Democrats need to demonstrate specific examples of what they consider to be loopholes that need closing, and make specific proposals to close those loopholes.

Republicans tend to be in favor of fairness in taxing, so if there is something truly unfair, the measures should and will gain their support.