Friday, December 07, 2012

Not an honest soul in Washington

Via Hit & Run here's "Americans don't need higher taxes.  But they do need an honest appraisal of their choices."
The real problem here is that the public isn’t getting the sort of honest appraisal it deserves. Republicans tend to focus on tweaks to the entitlement system that won’t produce big savings. Democrats heavily emphasize tax hikes on the wealthy that won’t come close to providing the sort of fiscal course correction the federal government needs. But neither side talks seriously about the fundamental budgetary challenges the country faces—or the kinds of policy solutions that addressing those challenges might require.
Yet what the CBO has made clear over and over again is that what we need are big changes, the kind that won't be easy: “Making policy changes that are large enough to shrink the debt relative to the size of the economy—or even to keep the debt from growing—will be a formidable task.” Right now it’s a task that neither party is up to. And that goes a long way toward explaining why we're our current impasse. We don't necessarily need higher taxes to resolve our budget woes. But we do need politicians willing to level with the public about the scope of the policy changes that will eventually need to be made. 
Maybe I should go full libertarian and be done with it.  The other day, Drew Musings had two simple charts showing the utter inadequacy of Obama's tax hikes in addressing the deficit.  What's even more shocking, in my opinion, is that letting all the Bush tax cuts expire still wouldn't cover half of what we're currently borrowing.  On the spending end, we can't even agree to raise the eligibility ages for Social Security and Medicare even though Americans are living much longer and the costs of entitlements are poised to overwhelm the entire federal budget.

It used to be that politicians needed to make hard decisions.  Now they choose not to choose...and they get re-elected.

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