E.J. Dionne: 'Make the World Safe for Tax Increases'
You know what President Barack Obama's real economic problem is? He's not raising taxes enough. On top of that he needs to raise taxes not only on the very wealthy but on almost everybody else. That is the opinion of Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, Jr.. Here is Dionne recommending that Obama in effect commit political suicide even faster than he already is:
The debate on the budget is phony, the howling on deficits a charade. Few politicians want to acknowledge that if you really are concerned about long-term deficits, you have to support tax increases.
That's why the most significant moment of President Obama's news conference on Tuesday was not his dodge of a question on AIG, but his defense of the least popular tax increase in his budget: limits on the benefits wealthier taxpayers get for their charitable contributions and mortgage payments.
After hailing Obama for suggesting that taxes be raised by cutting the amount of deductions for charitable contributions, Dionne informs us why raising taxes will politically backfire on any president who attempts this:
It has been a long time since a president was willing to defend raising taxes. You have to go back to Bill Clinton and his 1993 budget. The consequences for Democrats who voted for that budget — no Republicans did — were grave.
Republicans swept the 1994 elections and held on to the House for 12 years. No wonder politicians are so phobic about taxes.
So after displaying the political hazards of raising taxes, Dionne still wants to act as the Jack Kervorkian of the Democrat party by recommending that taxes be raised on almost everybody:
Obama himself is only going part of the way on tax increases. He is still arguing that he can fix things with hikes on just the top 5% of taxpayers.
He's right that a large share of any increase should hit those who enjoyed the biggest income gains over the last decade. But in the end, no politician (with the possible exception of libertarian Ron Paul) is willing to cut the budget enough to contain the deficit without a general tax increase down the road.
Somehow Dionne just can't seem to find anything in all the "stimulus" earmark pork that can be cut. Nope. Can't do it. The answer MUST be to raise taxes on almost everybody according to Dionne who bemoans the fact that those "nasty" voters will complain about their taxes being raised:
In an ideal world, Obama would come right out and say we'll need broad-based tax increases. But that would be suicidal right now. Witness the reaction to his effort to put a 28% ceiling on deductions. His proposal would affect only 1.2% of taxpayers, yet even that idea is about to die in Congress.
And those charitable organizations who find contributions made to them will decrease due to cutting back on the amount that could be deducted for charity? Dionne asks them to suffer for the "greater good" since the government is so much better at administering money than they are:
Is that too much for nonprofits to give up so the country can cover the costs of health care for the needy? The truth is that the opponents of making any changes in the amount the wealthy can deduct are using solicitude for the private charities to kill the whole plan.
Fine, kill it. But then, how else will we pay for health care reform? Obama's across-the-board limits on itemized deductions would raise $318 billion over 10 years. Does anyone have a less painful way to raise that much money?
Dionne apparently never figured out the concept that when you raise taxes you decrease the amount of wealth that can be taxed in the first place thus lowering tax revenues. It seems that his mission in life is to "make the world safe for tax increases":
The task of those who genuinely care about deficits is to make the world safe for tax increases. Politicians won't do this on their own.
Nope. Politicians won't do it on their own. They need liberals like E.J. Dionne, Jr. to guide the lemmings to the edge of the cliff. And one wonders if Dionne secretly wants to destroy the Democrats by speaking in public what most liberals say in private: raise taxes on everyone!