That promise that taxpayers earning under $250,000 won't see their taxes go up (“not one dime!”) will be non-operational soon. Here's the Washington Post with an editorial on “Who pays taxes”
This matters because the simple truth is that in the coming years, taxes will have to go up to help close the government's gaping fiscal hole. Much of the budget gap should be covered by spending cuts, but judging from recent budget proposals by both parties, neither has an appetite for reductions anywhere near what will be needed.This last point was the crux of a significant argument I had with an old friend on election night: Exxon now pays more in taxes than the bottom 50% of taxpayers. When half the population is indifferent the cost of government, there's no brakes on its expansion. Q.E.D.
When taxes go up, they should be increased in a way that makes the tax code more progressive. Income inequality has widened for the past three decades, and it only makes sense for those who have benefited to pay more. But there is a limit to how much the tippy top should bear. President Obama has promised that taxes will not be increased for families making under $250,000. That is a promise that will probably have to be dropped down the road. There just isn't enough revenue to be found above that figure unless we create a system so lopsided that voters would always want more government spending because it would come at such a low price.