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July 10, 2011

Democrats Propose Surprising, Innovative Method of Deficit Reduction: Slashing the Pentagon and $2 Trillion in New Taxes

Thinking outside the box for a change!

Senate Democrats have drafted a sweeping debt-reduction plan that would slice $4 trillion from projected borrowing over the next decade without touching the expensive health and retirement programs targeted by President Obama.

Instead, Senate Democrats are proposing to stabilize borrowing through sharp cuts at the Pentagon and other government agencies, as well as $2 trillion in new taxes, primarily on families earning more than $1 million year, according to a copy of the plan obtained by The Washington Post.

With debt-reduction talks under way between Obama and congressional leaders, Senate Democrats are unlikely to adopt the blueprint. However, it has gained broad support among those eager to chart a path to solving the nation’s budget problems without making politically painful cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

“The very strong feeling was we needed to get this into the conversation, because it provides an alternative view,” said a Senate Democrat familiar with the blueprint, who spoke on condition of anonymity because it has not been publicly released. “What’s striking is how modest the changes need to be to get us back on track.”

No editorializing here from the WaPo reporter -- the plan is "sweeping" in its benefits, it seems, and yet perfectly "modest" in its actual changes. Wow! Sounds awesome!

...

“If they’re calling for $2 trillion in tax hikes in the middle of a jobs crisis, it’s little wonder that it’s been 800 days since Senate Democrats passed a budget,” said McConnell spokesman Don Stewart.

By the way, the WaPo's headline is very misleading -- only later in the article does the reporter admit the Democrats will never actually propose or vote for this plan -- it only has the support of about half the caucus.

But the article is headlined, and written in the early going, to suggest the Democrats have finally proposed a budget.

They have not.

An actual budget would make clear that they either want to punish the middle class with steep tax increases or simply permit the United States economy to implode by weight of forbidding debt.


The actual WaPo editorial board actually has a different take.

When it comes to Social Security, the no-benefit-cuts caucus argues that the program is not the major driver of current deficits. This is correct but irrelevant. The program is on a course to run out of enough money to pay promised benefits in 2036. The longer policymakers wait to make adjustments the more painful these adjustments will be — and the more risk they pose to the most vulnerable beneficiaries that Democrats assert they want to protect. Fixing Social Security is important for its own sake; it is going to have to happen sooner or later. If the debt ceiling debate presents a sensible occasion for getting that done, at least in part, so much the better.

...
Insisting on no change to scheduled benefits for any retiree, no matter how affluent, ignores the twin imperatives of protecting less affluent seniors and ensuring that society retains enough resources for programs for the non-elderly. It is not a responsible position — nor, at bottom, a progressive one.



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posted by Ace at 02:17 PM

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