Make the World Safe for Tax Increases

E.J. Dionne has another good column today. Last two paragraphs:

The larger problem is the emptiness of all the howling over the long-term deficits. Nibbling away at bits of Obama’s proposed budget will do very little about them. Talk of “entitlement reform” is empty unless we have health-care reform — and unless we acknowledge that we will never cut Medicare and Social Security enough to close the budget gap. In fact, Social Security is more important than ever, now that the value of so many 401(k)s has plummeted.

The task of those who genuinely care about deficits is to make the world safe for tax increases. Under current conditions, it’s a whole lot easier for politicians to talk a lot about deficits, and then just let them grow.

13 thoughts on “Make the World Safe for Tax Increases

  1. The other way to deal with long-term deficits that is getting short shrift despite the fact that Obama keeps pointing at it, is to do a really, really good job of laying a foundation for growth. There are so many places in this country that are STILL getting economic benefit out of buildings and infrastructure dating to Roosevelt and the WPA. We’ve gotten out of the habit of long-term, multi-generational planning in this country, but some really good infrastructure projects could be generating economic activity (with attendant revenue) for 60-75 years.

    Besides reforms that deal with our health-care-funding disaster which will cut our long term expenditures, we also need to focus on building things that will ensure our long-term economic growth exceeds projections.

  2. “The task of those who genuinely care about deficits is to make the world safe for tax increases.” The person who can run for office and make that statement has my vote. How can the US citizen continue to believe he/she deserves low taxes and good government services like fire, water, defense, and homeland security in the broad sense?? We are trying to live in a fairy tale where all the people are can aspire to individual wealth abundant enough to let the common good go to hell. The next pandemic, street violence, collapsing bridge can catch Bill Gates himself. No one can ever be rich enough to be secure in a troubled world where common good is neglected and even undermined. To paraphrase a “. . . man”, ‘it is not your money, it is the governments’ money,’ to be used by elected officials for the common good. At the moment, a tax increase is ridiculous maybe, but at the first sign of recovery a sign ‘tax increases ahead,’ may be the only choice. Here’s hoping China doesn’t get tired of supporting us before then.

  3. How was it that this country had its greatest growth in the post-WWII era?
    How were we able to construct our superhighway system, build the world’s biggest military (something I’m against, btw), send any Vet that wanted to to get a degree, put men on the moon (where were the women?), create God knows how many different industries, all on a graduated tax rate with a cap of 90% (yes, I know, good accountant’s knocked that down quite a bit).
    How were we able to do that? It must have been some miracle, like Jesus’ with the loaves and the fishes, I guess. Not other explanation for it that I can figure out.

    People, with government, just like with anything else, you GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR! You can’t get ‘champagne’ government at ‘ripple’ prices.

  4. I think the republicans have a long term deficit of sanity. Just today I saw some wing-nut from Tennessee on FAUX news; he actually is introducing a bill that would force recipients of Medicaid and or welfare to submit to drug testing. I wonder if they would ever ask all the money changers on wall-street (taking bail-out money) to take a pee test?

  5. For every dollar invested in the GIs’ higher education, the government and economy received at least $6.90 in return It may have been what put most of us in the middle class. Our fathers and grandfathers got an education they would never have afforded without it. The return of government investment investment in education is a priority. In the past few years, grants have been replaced by loans and as Pres. Obama said today, that just put a mortgage on a student before they have even bought a house. Damn funny way of managing a country. keeping its young dumb or in debt.

  6. Dyedinthewool…,
    Not funny at all. Part of the plan. If you can keep the middle class from expanding via education, and you can keep the masses dumbed-down, they are easier to control.
    I will say that one of the primary goals of the Reagan (and since) plan was to kill the middle class by starving unions, causing debt for those seeking higher education, and debt for the working class – even those who thought that they had educated themselves out of that ‘mc’ distinction. I won’t go into it again, I’ve posted about this before.
    Sadly, they have succeeded.
    I’m in Obama’s camp. But, if what he does desn’t succeed, we may need a revolution. You know the right is planning one of their own as we speak. Watch that certifiable loon Gelnn Beck if you don’t believe me.

  7. On a related note, check out Lynnley Browning’s NYT article March 26 on IRS giving a penalty break to offshore tax evaders who pay up within the next six months. Looks like “them as has gets” again. A list of all who take advantage of this license to steal at a discount would make interesting reading. Now I must go look for my torch and pitchfork. I do have a pitchfork, which I suppose marks me for the peasant I truly must be. I suppose it was improvident of me not to have stored up a torch, too, for times like these.

  8. “Social Security is more important than ever, now that the value of so many 401(k)s has plummeted. ” Among other things. Like the drop off the cliff in home values. And in the same breath they are talking about reducing Medicare benefits.

    If you go back to Galbraith’s article, he says the same. He calls increasing Social Security and Medicare benefits an “ace in the hole.” Geitner, et al, have it completely backasswards.

    Anyone besides me hear a putrid sucking sound?

  9. “Social Security is more important than ever, now that the value of so many 401(k) s has plummeted”

    Wow 2 really good ideas now have found each other in the wall-street swamp. Boy they don’t look very good anymore. Too fuckin bad. I think the only way we can really progress and move beyond this economic shit stain is that we need to find some reason. Follow the Bernie Madoff ripoff to the end. Just cause he’s locked up, don’t mean he has not escaped justice. Isn’t it funny that now it’s just over? He’s in Jail and end of story. (somehow we need to hear about Casey Anthony, But Bernie Madoff? Story over.) World wide economic collapse, head money man (former head of NASDAQ) announces ponzie scheme, same week no relation? 50 billion dollar case (true cost over125 billion) is settled in less than 2 months and a guilty plea is entered. (we spent 15 years sending OJ to Jail), A fucking D-list divorce takes longer than the Madoff settlement.. It was only his wife and his kids and him, his wife , his kids, and him? Bullshit, old Bernie has some connections, his money laundering should be followed and the guilty should reside next to old Bernie awaiting final judgment. Bernie was a bag man for some really powerful people. You don’t just walk around with 65 billion dollars on your own. (Bernie stole enough money to fund a small well armed Army) Good thing for alot of motherfuckers that old Bernie took the fall, or we would see the The rest of this has been redacted

  10. The current economic crisis is the second part of a two part conservative plan to destroy Social Security and Medicare. First came Bush’s failed attempt at privatization after the 2004 elections. When the privatization scheme collapsed and the 2006 and 2008 elections began a total erosion of Republican power, they doubled down on the second part of a scheme to destroy the nation’s retirement and health care resources.

  11. Yes, Orley. I am aware of this. It saddens me deeply to know (and be constantly reminded) that I live in the most hypocritical country in the world. The ruling class is comprised of the most hollow, greedy, and soulless beings (I refuse to call them human) ever to hit the planet.

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