Paul Krugman touts a plan by progressives in Congress to reduce the deficit. 1) Higher taxes for the rich. 2) Rescinding most of the Bush tax cuts, including some that benefited the middle class; 3) spending cuts, heavily focused on defense; 4) an increase in the Social Security cap. It has the obvious benefit of preserving Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. So why doesn’t it get attention?
The answer, I’m sorry to say, is the insincerity of many if not most self-proclaimed deficit hawks. To the extent that they care about the deficit at all, it takes second place to their desire to do precisely what the People’s Budget avoids doing, namely, tear up our current social contract, turning the clock back 80 years under the guise of necessity. They don’t want to be told that such a radical turn to the right is not, in fact, necessary.
But, it isn’t, as the progressive budget proposal shows. We do need to bring the deficit down, although we aren’t facing an immediate crisis. How we go about stemming the tide of red ink is, however, a choice — and by making tax increases part of the solution, we can avoid savaging the poor and undermining the security of the middle class.
ALSO: The coming vote on raising the U.S. debt limit is the focus of much commentary. Brummett derides the framing of this by the ‘baggers. A Washington Post writer questions the seriousness of the threat not to raise it.