In today's New York Times, their editorial staff is urging the President to raise taxes. No surprise, there, even if they are slightly Constitutionally challenged -- it is the House of Representatives that gives birth to taxes, not the President.
They start off their assertion with a real bang:
A week later and we are still amazed at how the Republicans in Congress pulled it off. They held the economy hostage, won some cheap political points, and all of us will spend the next decade paying the ransom as government programs — $900 billion over 10 years in the first round — are slashed and the recovery is put at risk.
I observe the new tone of civility just leaping off the page with that start -- hostage taking, slashing and 'recovery at risk.' The reality, of course, is the opposite -- we will be spending the next several decades paying off the ransom of foolish and out of control spending that has been going on, nearly unabated, since the 70s.
The good folks at the Times are hoping that the President will 'finally fight' to increase taxes, lamenting that
Each year, the government provides $1 trillion in tax breaks. Some of the largest breaks — for itemized deductions and retirement savings — should be retained because they subsidize important goals, like home ownership and old-age security. Right now, wealthier taxpayers get the greatest benefit.
Here again, the editorial board shows their understanding to be lacking -- but their agenda is clear. The government is not providing $1T in tax breaks, as if they are mailing checks to somebody. What the government is doing is allowing people to keep the money they already have. Why is this such a hard concept to grasp? But the second part of the quote is the 'money quote' because the NYT is in favor of government subsidies of things it considers 'important goals' and it sees the tax code as something to be adjusted to meet social engineering, rather than revenue collection.
The NYT is correct in its assertion that the gap between spending and income must be closed -- but they run off the rails by asserting that tax rates must be raised (clearly on 'the rich') to close the gap. They also view the spending cuts as an anathema to society.
However, the Heritage Foundation has clearly shown that the issue is that we're spending about 40% more than the historic norm for taxes collected, and that this mismatch between revenue and spending has been a feature of our federal budget for quite some time -- with one brief respite when the Republican led Congress led to a brief surplus before the "dot-com" bubble burst the economy followed by 9/11.
Not to be deterred, the NYT thinks that allowing the Bush/Obama tax breaks to elapse (raising the tax rates on all incomes), adding a value added tax and a carbon tax to the mix will be what's needed to solve the debt crisis.
Congress should consider raising revenues in other ways, like a value-added tax, or carbon taxes. That way all of the needed revenue for deficit reduction, and for what government provides, does not need to be squeezed from the income tax. A value-added tax is conducive to saving, and a carbon tax helps protect the environment.
Amazingly, they seem to actually believe this! Adding cost on top of cost to goods produced, the VAT and the Carbon Tax would make our goods completely non-competitive in the global economy and would significantly decrease demand for goods. And once again, their agenda is clear -- we must not stand in the way of the government providing for its citizens. There is no discussion about what the proper role of government is, or what limits should be placed on 'what government provides' -- the only topic worthy of discussion is how to increase revenue so that spending over one quarter of the nation's GDP can continue.
The NYT, trying to go for the "debated is over, the topic is settled" stance, asserts:
The public is open to new taxes, and the economic facts are clear. Until tax increases are considered in equal measure to spending cuts, there will be no budget fix.
However, that may really not be the case. While polls by CBS and Gallup showed support for a mixture of tax increases and spending cuts, a poll by Washington Wispers found support for increasing taxes was pretty low...the most anyone seemed to be willing to additionally add to their own tax bill was 1%. While some 'may be open to new taxes,' the issue invariably becomes how to tax somebody else. We are so entrenched in using the tax code to punish success and get someone else to bear the burdens, we all are 'open' to making somebody else pay. But the truth is, the rich contribute an enormous amount of the total revenue already, and nearly half the country contributes nothing.
It's clear that the liberals aren't through with this fight...they want to continue the class warfare rhetoric and the bombastic language. They will insist on compromise, but as Senator Marco Rubio so aptly put it from the floor of the Senate (h/t YouTube):
I would love nothing more than compromise. But I would say to you that compromise that's not a solution is a waste of time. If my house was on fire, I can't compromise about which part of the house I'm going to save. You save the whole house or it will all burn down. We either save this country or we do not. And to save it, we must seek solutions.
We need to save the whole country, Red States and Blue States, rich or poor. We are either going to solve this as a nation, or we will fail. The policies of tax and spend and Keynesian management of the economy have failed. It's time to return to common sense, Constitutional principles and clear, consistent and enduring laws. Changing the tax code every year, creating and solving each 'crisis' with more and more governmental control and destroying individual initiative are eroding the greatness of our nation. It's time to restore the things that made us great, while there is still time.