Readers of this blog have probably seen me say at some point that I think the biggest threat to the promise of America is our out-of-control and ever-widening gap between the wealthiest Americans and everyone else.
That being the case, you might not be surprised to learn what I think of a long-term budget plan that continues to slash top tax rates when they’re already at historic lows, and then slash trillions from programs like Medicare and Medicaid: it’s a transfer of wealth from the poor to the most privileged. With our current fiscal structure in this country, I find that unconscionable and immoral. So I’ll turn it over to James Fallows to unload:
1) A plan to deal with budget problems that says virtually nothing about military spending is neither brave nor serious. That would be enough to disqualify it from the “serious” bracket, but there’s more.
2) A plan that proposes to eliminate tax loopholes and deductions, but doesn’t say what any of those are, is neither brave nor serious. It is, instead canny — or cynical, take your pick. The reality is that many of these deductions, notably for home-mortgage interest payments, are popular and therefore risky to talk about eliminating.
3) A plan that exempts from future Medicare cuts anyone born before 1957 — about a quarter of the population, which includes me — is neither brave nor serious. See “canny or cynical: take your pick” above.
4) A plan to reconcile revenue and spending, which rules out axiomatically any conceivable increase in tax rates, is neither brave nor serious. Rather, it is exactly as brave and serious as some opposite-extreme proposal that ruled out axiomatically any conceivable cut in entitlement spending or discretionary accounts.
5) A plan to reduce the federal deficit by granting big tax reductions to the highest-income Americans, at a time when their tax rates are very low by historic standards and and their share of the national income is extremely high, and when middle-class job creation is our main economic challenge, is neither brave nor serious. See “cynical,” above.
Read the whole thing.