Taxes Are The Elephant In EVERY Room

Dave Johnson

Ten years ago we were on a path to paying off the country’s debt. In fact, if we had stayed on the same trajectory the debt might be paid off already. But then we cut taxes even more, and raised the military budget even more, and the deficits and resulting debt exploded. This sequence — debt-payoff trajectory to deficits caused by tax cuts and military spending increases — should be stated clearly at the start of every meeting that discusses deficits and debt.

I am in Chicago to cover the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) – America, which is discussing practical, scalable projects to create jobs here. I will write more about the meeting but wanted to hit a few of the points right now.

Obama: President Obama gives a press conference today and talks about how taxes have to be part of the deficit equation. Republicans scream.

Clinton: Here at CGI-America, former President Clinton carefully says that we need taxes to be higher, and the crowd of millionaires and billionaires breaks out in spontaneous applause.

Peterson: Also at CGI “deficit hawk” Pete Peterson says that “our long-term debt threatens our long-term economic future,” and he’s right. (I wish he would get off of Social Security because it doesn’t contribute a dime to the debt, but otherwise he is right.) He also says the defense budget is “unchecked.” Wow is he right about that.

But ten years ago we were paying off the debt. Then came the Bush tax cuts and the huge increase in military spending. We need to get the money from where the money went.

Of course there was the dot-com bubble, and of course we stopped modernizing infrastructure and don’t even adequately maintain it since the Reagan years. So we really need to go beyond just undoing the Bush tax cuts, we need to go back to the pre-Reagan years for real solutions, back before we had a deficit crisis, when we had a modern infrastructure, when we were competitive in the world…

Bill Scher today, in his post The President Shames Republicans For Resisting Shared Sacrifice,

The debate has now been properly framed.

Are we going to cut the deficit by gutting what makes America work? Or are we going to cut the deficit by having the wealthiest Americans contribute what they can easily afford?

We need to make sure this call for shared sacrifice continues to reverberate through the halls of Congress, and weaken the negotiating leverage of conservatives trying to hold the economy hostage.

Go to OurFuture.org/SharedSacrifice to demand your House and Senate representatives draw a firm line in the sand: for every dollar cut on services for all, a dollar in higher taxes on the richest Americans.

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