The Student News Site of Northern Michigan University

The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

Meet the Staff
Katarina Rothhorn
Katarina Rothhorn
Features Writer

The first message I ever sent from my Northern Michigan University sanctioned email was to the editor-in-chief of the North Wind asking if there was any way I could join the staff. Classes hadn't even...

The North Wind Editorial Sessions
About us

The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

Taxes should increase to rid national debt

With the filing deadline for income taxes here, I would like to take this time to gripe about my taxes. I pay far too little in federal income taxes. Yes, you heard me right: I feel my monetary contribution to my country is too wimpy. After child tax credits and deductions for this and that, I shamefully admit I contributed a measly two percent of my income to the common good of our country this past year. So, as I gleefully eyed the big fat refund coming my way on line 72, I also felt a sense of guilt, like I wasn’t doing my fair share to help our nation wage war upon the most insidious, most potentially destructive enemy we have faced in recent time. This vile enemy is not a rogue nation or shadowy terrorist organization; it is our $12.6 trillion national debt. To put this in perspective, every American taxpayer owes $115,000 dollars to our creditors. Our creditors in this case are our children, grandchildren and foreign countries that have financed our debt.  China and Japan alone account for $1.7 trillion in financing.

The contention that “deficits don’t matter” is true if you are a savvy politician looking to regain your office, but they do matter to the millions of baby boomers about to retire. The boomers will soon be looking to reel in the money they have paid into Medicare and Social Security. Deficits do matter when you need to repair crumbling infrastructure. Deficits do matter when a nation’s public schools are failing and college tuition is spiraling out of control. Deficits do matter when we need to defend our country, but we can’t get the financing to do so.

We are quickly approaching a scenario not seen since the end of World War II, when our national debt exceeded our Gross Domestic Product. Thankfully, we were able to quickly pay down this postwar debt during the next decade due to tremendous economic expansion and the budget-conscious leadership of Dwight D. Eisenhower who maintained that taxes could not be cut until the budget was balanced. Ike understood sacrifice; he had watched nearly 450,000 soldiers die in service to their nation in WWII and in Korea. As a Five-Star General, he expected sacrifice as well from the average American citizen. The tax rate for the wealthiest Americans at that time was 90 percent. Despite calling on his country to be fiscally responsible, he left office as one of the most popular and revered presidents in our nation’s history.

In contrast to Ike, George W. Bush cut taxes and dramatically increased federal spending during his two terms in office. He inherited a $128 billion  annual budget surplus in 2001 and left office with annual deficits around $350 billion. His cut-and-borrow strategy bought him temporal popularity, but Bush left office as one of the least popular presidents of all time.

Story continues below advertisement

With the economy now seemingly stabilized since the free fall in late 2008, President Obama needs to take on the deficit as his top priority. First, Obama will need to conduct a complete audit of federal spending at all levels, even at the Pentagon. Once he has identified opportunities for greater fiscal efficiency (spending cuts), he must call the nation to sacrifice. As John F. Kennedy challenged our nation to get to the moon in one decade, Obama must challenge this nation to erase the debt incurred by members of Congress who have repeatedly promised the moon in order to stay in office.

In addition to demanding our government be more accountable and more efficient, it is also incumbent upon us, “we the people,” to be willing to make financial sacrifices for the good of the republic. We are taught as children to sing the song My Country Tis’ of Thee. Well, it is “our” country, and just like citizens who preceded us, we must be willing to make sacrifices in order to ensure our country’s long-term viability. We must take ownership of “our” country, or China and a host of other foreign creditors will when they decide to call in the $3.7 trillion we owe them.

So, if a politician musters the temerity to ask the American people to sacrifice, don’t complain: salute him or her for joining the ranks of our greatest leaders like old Ike. Politicians who promise “tax relief” paid for with borrowed money do so for the sole purpose of buying your vote today. Those who call a nation to sacrifice for the purpose of achieving tomorrow’s grand vision provide true leadership. Here’s to hoping for courageous leadership, more efficient government and a tax increase to pay off our national debt.

More to Discover