Monday, July 25, 2011

Obama's Tax Hike Obsession

President Obama has been very adamant about including tax hikes in any budget deal. Congressional Democrats, on the other hand, seem to have settled for raising revenue by eliminating special tax breaks. If the congressional leaders come up with a plan that combines eliminating tax breaks with real, immediate spending cuts (as opposed to "future cuts" that may or may not happen), the Republicans would be stupid not to go for it.

However, the question still remains: Why was Obama so insistent on raising taxes? Pretty much every school of economics, and Keynesian economics in particular, says that raising taxes in a down economy is a bad idea. It seems like a more sensible argument for the Democrats would be that we need to keep up spending now in order to increase aggregate demand, and that we shouldn't worry about the deficit until the economy recovers.

However, it turns out that the Democrats' eagerness to raise taxes has a simple explanation: they want to spend even more. MUCH more. Three liberal think tanks devised 20-year plans to balance the budget and pay down the debt. On average, they want the federal government to collect 23.9% of GDP--15% higher than during World War 2.

This article from Reuters has all the gory details.

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