Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I'll go along with that

In the New Republic, here's Jonathan Chait on Arlen Specter:

When a politician switches parties, it’s customary for the party he’s abandoned to denounce him as an unprincipled hack, and the party he’s joined to praise him as a brave convert who’s genuinely seen the light. But I think it’s pretty clear that Specter is an unprincipled hack. If his best odds of keeping his Senate seat lay in joining the Communist party, he’d probably do that.
And I'll go along with this too:

Obviously, it’s a disaster for the Republicans.
But I'm hearing echoes of "permanent Republican majority" here:

Obama’s approval ratings are high and holding steady, Democrats remain far more popular than Republicans, Democrats held the first special election, and now they’ve picked up a party switch. It’s still early, but Obama is starting to build a self-sustaining psychology of success.
Here's a plausible – even likely – scenario where it all falls apart for the Democrats and it's already unfolding here in Massachusetts. Throughout the campaign Obama and his buddies were happy to play the class warfare card while making this solemn promise that nobody making under $250,000 a year would pay a "single dime" in additional taxes. But when you have debt like this, there's simply no way that the filthy "rich" can pay for everything. In addition, this Wild Toad's Ride of spending is coming just as the bill is coming due for the Baby Boomers' Social Security and Medicare.

So we've started out by taxing the non-rich with a regressive cigarette tax and Obama floated the Blue Dogs idea of returning to PAYGO rules again where budgets deficits are offset by spending cuts or tax hikes. This gives Obama an "out" to say "hey, I didn't want to raise taxes, but I gotta follow Paygo rules." Others think that a European-style value added tax is inevitable. China is worried we're just going to monetize our debt by printing money and devaluing the dollar.

Back to Massachusetts. Here in the Bay State, the state government (including former governor Mitt Romney) happily adopted an expensive health care mandate "deferring until another day any serious effort to control the state’s runaway health costs." Beacon Hill could never get a handle on the unions and runaway pensions are commonplace. The Big Dig sucked up untold transportation dollars. Now the bill has come due and Beacon Hill is "forced" to raise the sales tax to 6.25% because they couldn't control spending when it mattered. A backlash is brewing against Governor Deval Patrick who (IMHO) has a steep climb for re-election. Even the moribund Massachusetts Republican Party is showing signs of life again.

If (when?) the Obama administration employs the Otter defense ("you screwed up, you trusted us!") to raise taxes on everyone to pay for all this stuff we bought on the national credit card, there will be a political reckoning where Americans need to decide whether we want a European economic model or the traditional American model.


Brian said...

Otter defense ("you screwed up, you trusted us!")There are several mistakes there: Otter and screwed...

Vermont Woodchuck said...

You might just see the taxpayers default on the national credit card.

The Feds say the underground economy is small; I don't buy that. I believe they are seriously worries about the size of it.

GO Galt!