Raise taxes on everyone. Eduardo Porter, business columnist for the New York Times, previously covered economics as a reporter but now uses his perch to display his mistrust of free markets in favor of government, most recently in his call for socializing health care, pensions, and education. His latest entry is a call for higher taxes on everyone, not just the affluent, in the name of funding still more government programs: "A Tax Bite Tailored To Help All."
President Obama and John Boehner, the House speaker, agree that federal spending must be cut. But there are other options.
This is not, however, the only option we have. There is an alternative: raising more money from all taxpayers, including the middle class.
Nobody wants to talk about this. Republicans don’t want to raise taxes at all. “The tax issue is finished, over, completed,” declared the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell. President Obama does want to raise more money, but only narrowly. His proposals for tax reform are aimed carefully at high-income taxpayers and corporations.
Yet Americans would benefit from a discussion of this possibility. Higher taxes would undoubtedly stress many working families, especially after a decade of falling income for all but the most successful. But these families might nonetheless prefer paying more in taxes to losing government services they rely on.
Porter harped several times on how "other advanced countries" fund government programs with high taxes, as if high tax rates are a necessary sign of sophistication.
We might consider instead the experience of other advanced countries, which raise more money in taxes than we do to pay for programs like child care for working mothers and government-financed health care for everybody.
Citizens of other advanced nations appear to believe that a richer array of government services is worth the price. Standard V.A.T. rates in almost every European country exceed that in the Tax Policy Center’s analysis. Europe’s social democracies compensate for the regressive nature of the tax by spending the money on benefits that are particularly valuable for the poor.