Recent Op-Eds

Sometimes people, myself included, forget loved ones' birthdays or important anniversaries. History students complain about the memorization of names and dates, and come test time something always seems to slip through the cracks. Of course, some dates are not celebrated like birthdays and anniversaries, but are nonetheless remembered. For most of us, April 15th is one of those days.

According to the non-profit Tax Foundation, every dollar earned by Americans between January 1st and April 13th is used to pay federal, state, and local taxes. In other words, on average, Americans work for nearly one-third of the year just to pay our taxes.

Of course, taxes are a necessary fact of life in our society. Local authorities, states, and the federal government all need revenue to provide essential services, but South Dakotans understand that there are many instances where taxpayer money is wasted through inefficiency, overreach, and sheer uselessness.

Congress should not take the power to tax lightly. The Constitution entrusts the people's money to Congress, and it is our responsibility to see that it is collected and spent in ways that promote public wellbeing rather than wasted. Unfortunately, South Dakotans have reason to worry that responsible taxation and spending are a thing of the past based on the unsustainable amount of spending that has been occurring in Washington lately.

The Democrat majority in Congress, with the full support of the President, recently passed a budget that not only taxes and spends too much, it borrows too much money from our children, grandchildren, and other nations who may not have our best interests at heart. Irresponsible spending has been a criticism of Washington in the past, but what is happening today shatters all records, and somebody is eventually going to have to pay for it.

Congressional Democrats and the Administration have already looked for ways to raise taxes on energy, small businesses, and the President himself is even pushing to reduce the current tax deduction for charitable giving, which will hurt non-profits and charitable groups. Sadly, no one in the Democrat majority or the Administration seems to be asking how to reduce spending or ways to control costs, but rather they are looking for more ways to create federal programs, and that surely means more taxes.

Tax increases hit small businesses especially hard, which leads to fewer jobs. While many in South Dakota and across the nation are struggling to find work, increasing the tax burden on small businesses, the job creation engines of our economy, makes no sense. Instead of spending beyond our means, Congress should make it easier for families to make ends meet and small businesses to hire more employees through lower taxes.