sales taxes

Why You Need To Read This Blog: Wilder Impact, We Had It First

Not to pat ourselves on the back, but we're not bad. Pretty good, in fact. Yesterday, in our almost daily Virginia News Stand we commented that the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce and Fraternal Order of Police endorsements, as well as former Governor Doug Wilder's non-endorsement of fellow Democrat Creigh Deeds, had put momentum back on the side of Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell Guess who confirms it today? The august editorial page writers at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, whose lead editorial, "Election 2009: Wilder Rules," sees it as we do. 

As the T-D put it:

The only thing better for Republican Bob McDonnell would have been a formal endorsement. There is no way Democrat Creigh Deeds can put a happy face on this. ... his statement implicitly underscored the Republican's electoral strengths and the Democrat's electoral weaknesses. Wilder's criticism of Deeds' willingness — eagerness? — to hike taxes for transportation echoed one of McDonnell's themes. Wilder cited the regressive nature of most of the proposed revenue enhancements — such as higher gasoline taxes or higher sales taxes generally.

In 2006, it was perceived that Mr. Wilder was flirting with endorsing George Allen in his re-election bid to the U.S. Senate. When he endorsed Jim Webb, many thought it wasn't that he preferred Webb over Allen, but interpreted the political tea leaves correctly and wanted to be relevent to the election and his endorsement important. That's our Doug. So could this non-endorsement mean that this historic figure, who has some of the best political radar in the country, thinks Deeds is going down to defeat?

Let's put it another way. The former governor and first strong mayor of Richmond in 60 years is saying this: Creigh, you have no plan. What you do have is a raise-taxes-for-every-problem-approach. Attacking your opponent is not telling us what you would do. He even went so far as to say Deeds is offering no leadership! As anyone who knows Doug Wilder knows, he wants to know what you will do and knows those who don't say are normally doomed to defeat.

The Unreported Cause Of Inflation

Everyone is concerned about inflation and well they should. It's a debilitating monetary disease that cripples the value of money: One can earn more money in a given period but still have less purchasing power when inflation infects the economy. It hurts working families and endangers what parents can provide for their children. Inflation comes in many forms, such as commodity-based inflation (such as what we are experiencing now with oil prices affecting almost everything type of product). Economists are good at tracking the causes of inflation and how much those causes tack on to the prices we eventually pay at the cash register. Then there are the demagogue politicians who scream for windfall profit taxes to punish companies that charge to keep up with demand for their products while ignorantly using the phrase "windfall profits." (Hint: it doesn't mean "large profits.")

However, in all the media circus, what never gets reported is the biggest cause of price increases: Taxes. That's correct. The largest percentage cost of most items is the added cost created by excessive taxes. Unfortunately, economists never factor taxes into inflation rates.

Into that breech steps Americans for Tax Reform. Here are some shocking examples, courtesy of ATR and FiscalAccountability.org, of how much taxes increase some very basic products and services:

Cable Television Service: 46.3%

Cell Phones: 46.4%

Hotel Rooms: 50%

Car Rentals: 60.6%

Soft Drinks: 37.6%

Restaurant Meals: 44.8%

Gasoline: 51.2%

Landline Phones: 51.8%

Domestic Air Fare: 55%

The figures include the cost of sales taxes, corporate income taxes, payroll taxes, property taxes, capital gains taxes, unemployment insurance taxes, workmen's compensation taxes and other payments to federal, state and local governments. Not that taxes aren't necessary to pay for necessary and proper functions of government, but is there any excuse for government to punish its citizens by limiting their ability to save, invest and spend their hard-earned money for what they want and for how they want to provide for their families with such excessive ad-ons to the actual production and service costs of a product?

So with all the speechifying about making "corporations pay their fair share" be aware of how much that fair share is inflation in the form of high taxes. Let's call that government-inflicted tax inflation.