What's the worst way to advocate for increasing revenue in today's fiscal fight? Talk about taxes. It only serves folks on the right to bring this topic front and center. Whether the pesky facts confirm it or not, they’ve cemented themselves as your money-saving alternative in governance – the Walmart of Washington. But progressives, a group of people who believe in a collective kitty, do our share of trashing taxes as well. We resort to this even when we mean to be defending them, hoping to make a case for government at the same time.
Consider the current debate about the fiscal crossroads; both sides are tripping over themselves to say “taxes” more often. Oftentimes this includes implying they’re something to be reviled. Democrats can be heard parroting variations on the pronouncement that allowing tax cuts to expire will “punish” the middle class. What does that tell you about taxes?
Even the official 2012 Democratic party platform managed to convey taxes are a bad thing -- an affliction, to be more precise, by using the phrase “tax relief” no fewer than eight times. This is bad enough. But the bigger problem is that there’s simply too much airtime devoted to talking about taxes.
When was the last time you walked into an Apple store and had them try and sell you an i-anything by rattling off “Have you seen the price? Look at the price. Did I mention the price?” Notice how, in that exclusive boutique with the seven artfully hung items, the price tags are about the size of your pinky fingernail. There’s a reason for that. Marketers know they need you to fall in love with the object – then let’s talk about what it will cost.