The Popcorn Stand: The unkindest (tax) cut of all |

The Popcorn Stand: The unkindest (tax) cut of all

In March, The New Republic published an article calling for the elimination of the federal income tax as a liberal argument.

The reasoning? (In general terms) states that voted for Donald Trump (i.e. conservative states) receive more in federal funding than they provide, while states that voted for Hillary Clinton (i.e. progressive states) provide more than they receive in return. Put another way, conservative states aren’t paying their share.

The outcome? Progressive states will thrive with the extra investment while conservative states will self-destruct.

(The above is an extreme simplification of a complex argument. The article can be found at

For 20 years, I lived in conservative states. Many of the people I knew — and millions more I never met — struggled to carve out lives with low pay, bad jobs and poor or even non-existent social services. Eliminating the federal income tax and, thus, the support many people need daily will make their lives worse and add millions more to their ranks.

Many of those people would support eliminating the income tax. In my conversations with poor conservatives I did not gain an understanding of why they voted the way they did. Many of them were good people who cared about their families and their communities, qualities that are found among people throughout the political spectrum. But, it seemed to me, they voted for candidates and policies that were going to make their lives more difficult.

Our politics are cyclical, I’m told. “The pendulum” swings between liberal and conservative. We seem to be at a time in our country when the perceived worth of a person is largely based on that person’s net worth. In such a system, the poor can be expected to do little but suffer. Cutting what social safety net exists will mean millions more will suffer.

America has all the money it needs to handle its problems. It’s agreeing on what the problems are, and if they are worth addressing, that seems to be the issue.

Eliminating the income tax is an interesting argument. But it would hurt millions of Americans who can least afford to be hurt.

— Rick Hoover