I'm a Fiscal Conservative, But...

I am long overdue for my annual letters to Congress.  Here's what I just wrote my elected officials in DC.


Dear [Elected Official]:

I am a die-hard fiscal conservative, much to the chagrin of my many left-leaning friends in my neighborhood and social network.  I believe that part of why America is great is that we have unparalleled freedom to innovative, disrupt, create, and build.  The engine that capitalizes on that freedom is a uniquely American impulse, and it is important for government at all levels to fan that flame rather than tamp it down with taxes and regulations. 

That said, not all taxes are bad, and not all tax breaks are good.  By "bad" and "good," what I mean is their implications for a high-functioning economy that works for all and that works for the long run.  So as you debate policies in the halls of power in DC and on talk shows of all stripes, please know that this die-hard fiscal conservative supports the following:

(1) A carbon tax that more properly aligns human behavior - from producers to consumers - with its consequences on the environment and on geopolitics.

(2) A slimming down of the deduction employers get on health care coverage for employees, which improperly incentivizes them to "pay" workers in benefits rather than wages and creates the over-purchasing of health care that has contributed to a generation-long and unsustainable rise in health care costs. 

(3) A slimming down of the deduction homeowners get on mortgage interest payments, which benefits homeowners over renters (which can lead to housing bubbles) and which particularly benefits wealthy homeowners over less wealthy homeowners (which is inequitable).

This is obviously a far bigger topic with all sorts of nuances and trade-offs.  You have a budget to balance, a government to fund, and constituents to answer to.  This quick note is simply to remind you that there are people out there who are pretty far down the laissez-faire path who yet have in fact met a tax that they like and tax deductions that they don't like.

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