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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Bartlett: Fiscal Responsibility Requires Higher Taxes

Forbes: Fiscal Responsibility Requires Higher Taxes, by Bruce Bartlett:

Throughout most of our nation's history, political conservatives really only had one thing in common: They all believed in a balanced federal budget. They might disagree on religion, foreign policy and any number of other issues, but everyone who thought of themselves as a conservative believed absolutely in the necessity of balancing the budget on an annual basis.

Today, the notion seems quaint. Republicans pay lip service to balancing the budget, but only when Democrats are in office. When they were in power under George W. Bush, they all agreed with Vice President Dick Cheney when he told Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, "Reagan proved deficits don't matter." ...

This reversal of the historical conservative position has had enormous implications for our national finances. By effectively taking taxes off the table, conservatives unwittingly opened the flood gates of spending. ...

This reversal of the long-held conservative position proved to be extremely popular, politically, and had a lot to do with the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994. It is now Republican dogma that taxes must never be increased no matter how big the deficit. The last Republican to do that, Bush 41, got thrown out of the White House on his ear for doing so, Republicans believe.

Such a fate is not going to befall any congressional Republican today. Their mantra is that all tax increases must be opposed with every fiber of their being, and there is no problem that can't be cured by tax cuts. ...

Everyone knows that fiscal discipline must be restored eventually, or we will face truly horrifying consequences--defaulting on the debt, nonpayment of Social Security benefits, a collapsing dollar, and double-digit inflation and interest rates. Everyone also knows that this will involve a combination of higher revenues and lower spending. The idea that we can restore fiscal health only with spending cuts is childish ...

At some point, taxes have to be back on the table as the price that must be paid for profligate spending. Only then will the American people realize that they can't have their cake and eat it too, as Republicans have preached for the last decade. Only when the American people go back to believing that spending must be paid for will they stop demanding something for nothing and put the country back on the path to fiscal sanity.

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Comments

You might be right about Republicans - at least those who hold office. But there are alot of Republican citizenry who believe greatly in fiscal responsibility. Unfortunately there is a choice of a bad option or worse option when it comes to voting for candidates these days.

Posted by: phoenix life insurance | Sep 27, 2009 2:26:48 PM