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To govern responsibly, Democrats cannot simply raise taxes on the rich and call it a day. That's a world in which Republicans continuously force crises, refuse taxes and extract deeper and deeper cuts.
Which is not to say they should campaign for raising taxes. They should campaign against an outdated, inefficient, unfair tax code, as well as the Washington way of leaving hard problems for somebody else to handle.
Democrats will have exactly one chance to overcome the GOP's resistance to tax revenue. Next year, the Bush tax cuts expire. If Congress does nothing, we revert to Clinton era tax rates for everyone, and the federal coffers fill with $3.6 trillion in additional revenue over the next 10 years enough to stabilize deficits. This is a rare opportunity in which it's Democrats who hold the hostage and Republicans who have to compromise.
The debt ceiling deal simply proves the point. Let's say the spending cuts go exactly as the Republicans hope: We cut $900 billion now and $1.5 trillion later. That's more cuts than the White House Nike Air Max Independence
Let's start here: We cannot fund anything close to the government's commitments if we don't raise taxes, or if we let only the George W. Bush tax cuts for income over $250,000 expire. And that's true even if we make deep cuts across all categories of federal spending.
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The proof is in the plans. The Simpson Bowles commission called for almost $2 trillion in new revenue over the next 10 years. It got $800 billion of that from letting the Bush tax cuts for the rich expire and the rest from clearing loopholes and spending programs out of the tax code.
American tax debate: the Republican Party, which refuses to have a serious conversation about taxes, and the Democratic Party, which refuses to have a serious conversation about taxes.
to deal with costs related to the retiring baby boomers.
Perhaps this wouldn't matter if the Republicans were more reasonable. But they're not. They've made perfectly clear that they will fight to the last man, woman and child to keep taxes at historic lows. They will deny that tax cuts cost money and that deficit deals should include revenue. They will risk defaults and shutdowns, gridlock and unpopularity, all to make sure there's not a single corporate jet owner in this great land who has to pay a single extra dollar in taxes.
In the past year, there have been two major attempts to develop a bipartisan deficit reduction package: one by the president's fiscal commission, led by Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, and one by the Bipartisan Policy Center's commission, led by Alice Rivlin and Pete Domenici.
"Then we would go after discretionary spending and cap or freeze that. But after we did all that, we would realize we hadn't closed the gap. This happened on both commissions. And that's when everyone would realize you need more revenue and turn to improving the tax code."
The Rivlin Domenici commission's plan would have raised even more money by adding a value added tax on top of its tax reform proposal, and it won the backing of the panel's Republicans, who included Air Max Nike 2017 Price Bob Dole's former chief of staff and Bill Frist's former budget director.
says it would ever agree to, but ignore that for a moment.
But Democrats have another option. Just as Republicans planted a trigger for 2011 that ensures spending cuts, Democrats should use the Bush tax cuts as a trigger in 2012 to force revenues.
"We always started by asking how to slow the growth of entitlements, because that's what's driving the budget deficits," she says. "But then we would find there's nothing you can do that gets you much money in the near term.
Democrats get one last shot on taxes
Now let's say the tax side goes according to the White House's plan: Most of the Bush tax cuts are extended, but the break for income of more than $250,000 a year expires. Are we done?
I asked Jim Horney of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities to run the numbers. In 2021, that scenario would leave the debt above 75 percent of GDP and growing. That's well above the 60 percent of GDP most deficit hawks think we should shoot for, and it doesn't leave us prepared Air Max For Girls 2014
If the GOP refuses, the tax cuts will expire, our revenue problems will be solved, and Republicans will suddenly find themselves much more interested in tax reform.
That plan won the support of Republican Sens. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire and Mike Crapo of Idaho, three conservatives in good standing.
Rivlin, the first director of the Congressional Budget Office and one of the most respected fiscal hawks in Washington, had a particularly good vantage point on the two processes: She co chaired one commission and served on the other. And she says Republicans and Democrats on both panels came to the same realization.
The White House should announce that it won't extend any of the Bush tax cuts and will instead insist on a Gang of Six esque plan that cleans the code, lowers rates for everyone and raises $2 trillion or more in revenue.
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