An impasse has been created by Obama’s insistence on including tax increases for the wealthy in his alternative, while Republicans in the House, in particular, have demanded achieving the budget goals only through cutting programs. Exit polls after last week’s election showed that 60% of voters favored tax increases for those who earn the most.
More than 60% of Americans believe that a failure to compromise would hurt the U.S. economy and about that number feel their personal finances would take a hit. If the two sides can’t compromise, 90% of Americans will see their taxes go up — with the biggest jumps for top income earners.
Economists said that broad loss of disposable income, combined with cuts to defense and other programs, could throw the economy back into recession.
Wait, what? James Rainey is arguing that we need to keep the Bush tax cuts? James Rainey is recognizing that the Bush tax cuts were broad-based and extended to 90% of Americans? Sure, we can tell the truth now . . . if we’re planning to blame Republicans for their going away — and especially if we’re planning to blame a future recession on Republicans.
But hit the rewind button for one second. What was that about exit polls saying “60% of voters favored tax increases for those who earn the most”? I went searching for a story about exit polls and here’s what I found, from the Wall Street Journal:
One exit poll question on Tuesday asked “Should taxes be raised to help cut the budget deficit?” The answer was no by nearly 2 to 1. A second question asked if tax rates should “increase for all” (13%); “increase only on income over $250,000″ (47%); or “not increase for anyone” (35%). Three quarters of the latter 35% voted for Mitt Romney, which means they are represented more or less by Mr. Boehner, whose House majority also won re-election. On taxes as with so much else, the country is still divided.
Now. I suppose that if you add 47% (the “tax the rich!” crowd)* and 13% (the “tax everybody!” crowd), you can find 60% support for taxing the rich, since the rich are a subset of everyone.
HOWEVER. If the very same poll says that Americans oppose raising taxes to cut the deficit — and oppose it by a 2-1 margin — then an honest pundit might want to tell the folks that.**
So either Mr. Rainey is looking at a different exit poll with scary different results, or he’s not telling you the truth about this exit poll.
Guess which I think is happening here? (There is a typographical hint in the preceding paragraph.)
By the way, since you asked . . . what should we do?
THE PATTERICO PROPOSAL: I think the Republicans should propose $10 trillion in tax hikes over the next ten years, and demand only $5 trillion in spending cuts.
Under my proposal, the tax hike for the first 5 years will be $1 billion per year for a total of $5 billion over 5 years; beginning in the sixth year, tax hikes will be several hundred billion dollars per year, increasing to over a trillion per year by 2020. Unless, of course, Congress changes its mind in the interim, which, hey, you can’t tie future lawmakers’ hands.
Meanwhile, the spending cuts will start with $2 trillion next year, taper off to $1 trillion the following year, and go down from there. This may (read: will) necessitate a massive entitlement overhaul, but sssshhh!
If by now you have recognized this proposal as a parody of the “let’s cut $1.5 trillion over ten years starting with $21 billion next year!” model of “spending cuts,” then you earn a pat on the head and are allowed to graduate to the next blog post.
*Weird how it’s 47%, huh?
**Yes, these numbers don’t add up. If 66% of the people oppose taxes in question #1, and 60% of the people support taxes in question #2, this means a sizable percentage of people both believe we should not raise taxes and that we should raise taxes. This suggests an infirmity in the polling question, or that a sizable percentage of the voters are morons, or both.