One of America's leading authorities on technology and telecom policy, Motley is a writer, television and radio commentator, political and policy strategist, lecturer, debater, activist, and policy advisor to The Heartland Institute.
Latest posts by Seton Motley (see all)
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The late Supreme Court Chief Justice (amongst many other impressive gigs) John Marshall rightly noted “The power to tax – is the power to destroy.” The power to OverTax, of course – will destroy even more.
We have in our nation established a very anti-human nature approach to government. We punish things of which we claim to want more – and reward things of which we claim to want less.
We tax income generated by work – and give money to people who don’t work. Human nature empirically tells us that we will get less of the former – and more of the latter. Why do something to get something – when you get something for doing nothing?
Human nature works on a sliding scale. The more you tax work and reward non-work, the higher up the human nature industriousness ladder you go – to pull people climbing upward off and into the Do Nothing pit.
And of course, the harder and more complex the work is – and the higher the investment costs required to do it – the more likely being taxed more will drive people out of that work.
To wit: The Alaskan energy sector. Extracting energy under the best of circumstances ain’t cheap. Doing it in the climactically and topographically challenged Last Frontier – is even more expensive.
Thankfully, there is much oil and gas to be culled – and that sector is a significant portion of the state’s overall economy. Nearly one out of every three Alaskan gigs – is energy sector related. This, of course, generates a whole lot of government tax money.
The energy sector – is Alaska’s Golden Goose. Unfortunately, state House Democrats are looking to kill it.
Alaska is facing a fairly precipitous government budget shortfall – $2.5 billion. Which, ironically enough, is almost exactly how much the government increased spending…IN JUST ONE YEAR: “Between fiscal years 2014 and 2015, total government spending in Alaska increased by approximately $2.4 billion – from $11.4 billion in fiscal year 2014 to an estimated $13.8 billion in 2015. This represents a 17.22-percent increase.”
Here’s a thought: Go back to pre-MASSIVE spending increase spending levels. Problem solved.
But as with most people in government everywhere, Alaska Democrats don’t even think to perhaps, maybe…cut spending a smidge or two. Of course not.
Nigh the entirety of the government budget shortfall discussion – has been about from which Alaskans the government should take more money.
One-trick-pony state House Democrats – are again looking to wring the Golden Goose’s neck. They want to hike taxes on the energy sector. For the same reason Willie Sutton robbed banks – because that’s where the money is.
Except that – the money isn’t there so much anymore. Besides the already high taxes and expenses the energy sector faces – it has been rocked by the protracted fall of global energy prices. The industry’s threads – have been getting increasingly bare. And here come Alaskan Democrats – looking to cut even more cloth.
This time, the state’s Democrats’ desire to OverTax – could very well destroy the Alaskan energy sector. Needlessly. Pointlessly.
All to avoid even the merest thought of rolling back any of the government’s recent gigantic spending increase.
Alaska’s Donkeys should be told what government big spenders everywhere need to hear:
It ain’t a revenue problem – it’s a spending problem.
[Originally Published at RedState]