with TennCare, Tennessee stands to be the very first to drown in its Medicaid debt.
* Remember that Tennessee's population growth is a good thing. Don't be alarmed by statistics that 150 people a day arrive in the Volunteer State. News reports often act as if these new arrivals do nothing but drain public dollars. These new arrivals, in addition to demanding roads and water, also bring energy, labor, wealth, enterprise and tax revenue. Population growth generally brings wealth. It's only in countries where private property is not secured or legally protected by the courts that population growth is a burden.
Then Mr. Johnson points out legislators should do little else. He suggests a simple strategy that "the legislature must weed out bad taxes or simply stay the course, doing nothing but naming a new state pie or state lizard."
Not a bad idea, huh?
If we could do this, perhaps we could teach their Washington counterparts to take a similar approach? As April 15 came and went once again, and the hassles of Tax Day subsided for another year, one question crosses the minds of many Americans: "Isn't there a better way?"
Given the hours spent fretting over lost receipts, the long nights spent triple checking math over coffee and the last minute race to the post office, filing income taxes has become the Great American Chore.
According to the National Taxpayers Union, the average American filing a 1040A spends a mind-numbing 11 hours and 32 minutes preparing their taxes. Unbelievably, the 1040A is known as the "short form." Preparing a 1040 form with Schedules A, B and D, takes 28.5 hours on average.
American taxpayers recognize that the current income tax system is broken and desperately needs a comprehensive fix. It is time that Congress seriously considers the benefits of a federal sales tax. Lawmakers in Washington would be wise to write off the income tax, refund the hours Americans spend preparing their taxes and deduct the stress and inconvenience of Tax Day.
Winston Churchill once said, "No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worse form of government, except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."
Arguably, the worst thing about democracy is that elected leaders tend to believe they are responsible for a lot more than they really are. Like the little boy on his first plane trip "helping" the plane by flapping his arms as the Boeing 747 begins to ascend, legislators often seem to believe that somehow they run the economy and solve lots of problems.
In reality, government tends to muck up everything it touches. If a legislator is busy, it should be because he or she is busy repealing current laws and getting the state out of the people's business. In fact, Drew suggest that elected officials should heed the words of Adam Smith: "Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism but peace, easy taxes and a tolerable administration of justice; all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things."
Today, Mr. Smith would probably also advise the Tennessee legislature to install hammocks in their offices, to relax, and maybe enjoy a good dinner on a lobbyist's credit card. The free enterprise system will do the rest. It's happened before and it will happen again.
I am a huge fan of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research and Drew Johnson. Their work is unending, but not unnoticed. I hope you will consider contacting them and letting the Tennessee Center for Policy Research know you support their efforts. The Tennessee Center for Policy Research, can be reached by mailing PO Box 121331, Nashville, TN 37212 or email Drew Johnson directly at email@example.com. If you really appreciate him, send that tax deductible check.
--J. C. Bowman is a public policy analyst who resides in Tallahassee, Florida. He can be reached by email at: