The expression “what goes up must come down” applies to many things on this earth, but the taxing power of government seems to be one institution which defies the law of gravity. Taxes go up and up, regardless of political party or economic prosperity, but hardly ever come down, and then only temporarily. In 1930, government on all levels took 15 percent of the personal income of Americans. By 1950, the government bite of our personal income had risen to 32 percent. At the present time, the government’s hand in our pocketbook is taking 44 percent. At the current rate of increase, by the mid-1980s, government will be taking 54 percent of our personal income.
Are we willing to resign ourselves to letting government spend more than half our income? Can a free people acquiesce in such a subordinate position of financial and psychological dependency — and still remain free? Is there any reason to think that politicians — whether they are of the Watergate variety or the ordinary run of the mill — are more capable and trustworthy of spending our money than we are ourselves? I think not.
Every time anyone tries to cut government spending, the bleeding hearts set up a clamor to prevent it. They make it appear that anyone who wants to reduce taxes really wants to deprive little children of their school lunches, or let hoof and mouth disease contaminate our meat. People who want to cut taxes are not heartless; they just
believe they can spend their own money as well or better than the politicians.
Governor Ronald Reagan of California has decided to put the brakes on the avaricious taxing power of Government. His first step was to manage state spending so efficiently that he ended last year with a budget surplus, thus proving that the state of California could get along with lower taxes. His second step is to pass a state constitutional amendment which limits state government spending to its current 8 3/4th percent of California’s total personal income, and then reduces it by 1/2 of one percent each year until it is down to 7 percent. His plan is called Proposition I and will be voted on in the California special election on November 6.
The heart of Proposition I is that state government expenditures must be tied to a percentage of state personal income. The state government budget can still grow with the population, with economic expansion, and with inflation. But it cannot grow more than that. And it should not grow more than that — unless we are willing to turn over to the politicians the right to spend more than half of our own money.
Proposition I provides plenty of safeguards to protect local government and to provide for emergencies. But it puts an end to blank check government spending and requires future surpluses to be returned to the people.
If Proposition I passes in California on November 6, it could be the turning of the tide for the oppressed American taxpayer all across the country. Special interests always have plenty of people to speak for them. In this election, taxpayers can speak for themselves.