The trouble with Jindal's tax plan

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal was on the attack for much of the Republican undercard debate, mostly targeting his fellow GOP candidates. But he has a point: limiting the federal government requires more than voting for someone with an "R" next to his or her name.

But Jindal's call for taxing the poor rests uneasily with his calls for smaller government. Yes, in theory it makes sense for everyone to pay something and have "some skin in the game."

In practice, even many people who don't pay income tax do pay other taxes. Millions have had their tax liabilities wiped out by Republican tax cuts signed into law by Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush or enacted by the Congress led by Newt Gingrich. There's not much evidence that the families with children among them became more statist as a result.

A deficit-funded welfare state is going to have a lot of people who get more in government benefits than they pay in taxes. It is going to be difficult to fix that imbalance without hurting the economy and mathematically impossible to make the poor pay so much in taxes that they will vote against government benefits.

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