Supermajority For Tax Hikes

Investor's Business Daily

December 29, 1998 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Tumblr

President Clinton's likely trial in the Senate suggests the Founding Fathers thought that some legislative action was so grave that a simple majority was not enough for approval. Removing a president from office is, of course, one of those actions. How about applying the same standard to tax hikes?

It takes a two-thirds supermajority of the Senate to convict and remove a president. Rising taxes is no less grave, however.

Taxpayers deserve as much protection from government looting as a president does from too-hasty judgments that can be made by a simple majority. A president has no greater ownership of his office than a taxpayer has to his money.

The Constitution identifies in 10 instances legislative action so weighty that it can come only through the near consensus represented by a two-thirds supermajority.

Republicans have been trying to add an 11th – an amendment that requires two-thirds approval of each chamber before a tax-hike bill can be sent to the president...

There's enough support outside the Beltway, though. Several polls show that seven in 10 Americans believe a supermajority should be required for tax hikes...

With only a simple majority needed for tax increases, the federal government has become a runaway train. Federal taxes have grown from 5% of a family's income in [19]34 to at least 20% today.

Before the GOP took Congress, 18 of the last 19 Democrat-controlled Congresses passed tax hikes. That includes the whopping $241 billion increase in [19]93 that would have been blocked had a two-thirds majority been required.

Four other tax hikes going back to [19]84 would also have failed had the two-thirds approval been necessary. They took a total of $660 billion more from taxpayers. With a supermajority requirement, lawmakers would doubtless try to find a way around it. Renaming tax hikes as revenue enhancements, user fees or technical adjustments have all been tried in the past. Don't forget costly regulations...

Clinton's defenders have endlessly cried that a Senate trial will paralyze the country. Hogwash. The Beltway elites on both side of the aisle think far too much of themselves. Americans will go on. Their daily lives won't be affected if the political class devours one of it's own.

Tax hikes, though, have a far more direct impact on the average American's life. Hard financial decisions must be made when there's less money left after bureaucrats get a bigger cut. Americans already pay more in taxes than they spend on food, clothing and shelter put together. Enough is enough. In this case, it's too much...