By agreeing to temporary tax cuts, Republicans effectively transformed government’s burden of justifying restraints on freedom into a burden on voting taxpayers to justify their right to be free from government interference. Of course, there is no constitutional prohibition on ill-advised political bargains. But next time the proponents of bigger and more expensive government suggest that they will agree to tax cuts only if higher taxes are the default to which we must sooner or later return, defenders of liberty and limited government should reject the bargain.
A tax cut is a tax cut. After that, any increase in tax rates is just that — an increase in tax rates. Proponents of higher taxes should not be granted the political cover of insisting that the only thing they want to do is restore the norm. When it comes to regulation and taxes, the norm should always be the maximum amount of liberty consistent with equal liberty for all.
Jim Huffman is the dean emeritus of Lewis & Clark Law School, the co-founder of Northwest Free Press and a member of the Hoover Institution’s De Nault Task Force on Property Rights, Freedom and Prosperity.