Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Left wing budget fantasy counterproposal

Paul Ryan’s budget is a Republican fantasy that puts most of the deficit cutting actions into spending cuts.  Obama’s counter budget is little more than a political campaign position paper for his 2012 run.  So, where is the Democrat counter-fantasy budget proposal that puts most of the deficit cutting into actions tax increases?

It turns out, there is one, by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, labeled “The People’s Budget” (progressives endlessly recycle old leftist/socialist/communist labels like “The People’s Something-or-other”, they need some new branding)

It has no more chance of becoming law than Ryan’s cutting fantasy, but it’s not a bad left wing fantasy counterpoint to the Ryan fantasy.  They keep entitlements intact, close corporate loopholes, raise taxes on the rich, and get to a budget surplus in a decade (which is long before Ryan’s fantasy gets to a surplus).  Aggressive taxation of the rich (I think a top rate of 50% is what they are wanting), higher income tax brackets, rescind the Bush tax cuts passed in December, impose an estate tax, create a public option for health care, governmental negotiating power to reduce drug prices, spending on job creation, infrastructure, housing, reduce military involvements around the world, and gut defense spending. 

I would temper their predicted revenue increases with their tax increases because the left never takes into account how tax changes end up changing the behavior of the taxed – they find ways to delay, defer, and avoid the taxes.  But, still, increasing taxes will increase revenues, just not as much as they promise in their budgets.  My preference is restructuring taxes by eliminating all loopholes – corporate and personal – and lowering the rates.  I believe this can raise revenues for the government and still stimulate the economy.

So, there we have two bookends to the deficit reduction imperative – cut spending from the Republicans, and increase revenues form the Democrats.  Now, how to get Washington to actually start negotiations with these two ends of the spectrum on the table?

There is only one way for that to happen, and it has to be by the leadership the president of the United States.  If Obama doesn’t do it, the next president will.  And, that might be what gets the next president elected, a plan that combines elements of both the cutters and the taxers into a workable budget.

Wouldn’t it be nice if Obama would do that now?  Who knows, he might even get re-elected as a result.