n our political culture, tax increases have become "unthinkable," says David Leonhardt in The New York Times, "even to pay for benefits people want." Yet we're facing gigantic — and growing — budget deficits that will remain "frighteningly large" over the next decade unless we slash spending and raise taxes. President Obama is pushing tax reform to make the affluent pay more, but "while those increases will certainly help, they're not enough." The Republican solution is "even fuzzier," with calls for cutting taxes for the wealthy, and eliminating mysterious, unidentified tax breaks at the same time. So what's the solution? Our "best hope for deficit reduction" may be for Congress to do nothing at all, and simply let all the Bush tax cuts expire on Dec. 31, 2012. Here, an excerpt:
If Mr. Obama wins re-election, he could simply refuse to sign any budget-busting tax cut for the rich — who, after all, have received much larger pretax raises than any other income group in recent years and have also had their tax rates fall more. Republicans, for their part, could again refuse to pass any partial extension. And just like that, on Jan. 1, 2013, the Clinton-era tax rates would return. This change, by itself, would solve about 75 percent of the deficit problem over the next five years.
Read the entire piece in The New York Times.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- How my boyfriend and I learned to live on one income
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Why the poor's investment of choice is so alarming
- Affirmative action is doomed. Here's what progressives should do about it.
- Why China's Communist Party is headed for collapse
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- How to make perfect fried rice in 6 easy steps
- Why Texas Republicans may want to cool the anti-Obama land-grab talk
- Why conservatives see rural America as the 'real' America
Subscribe to the Week