Dakinikat has compiled an excellent piece
on the likelihood that Social Security will be gutted as Obama and Republicans spar over the debt ceiling. Her piece includes the graph seen to your left.
My questions are simple: Why was it politically possible for Ronald Reagan to increase taxes so massively? Why is doing so impossible now? What has changed?
Today, tea party conservatives would be begging Sen. Jim DeMint to primary the Gipper.
Polls indicate that the majority of the American people would support tax increases to keep Social Security and Medicare solvent. Why, then, is that course of action impossible? If the will of the people no longer matters, do we still live in a democracy?
If the debt ceiling is not raised and economic Ragnarok ensues, we must all do everything in our power to insure that the Republicans bear the brunt of the blame. And I say that as someone who thinks that Obama has been one incredibly shitty president. Somehow the message has to get through: This country must raise
taxes. We need a jobs program. We need to decrease unemployment and to increase demand.
Americans are in these straits because Bush waged wars without raising revenue to pay for those wars. If the public understands that military action inevitably carries a hefty price tag, this country will embark on fewer reckless adventures. The piper will always need payment.
Much of our current debt would disappear if Congress would rescind Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy. Taxes on the rich were much higher in previous decades, when the country was more prosperous. If we raised taxes to the level they were at throughout most of the Reagan era, our debt would be manageable.
Tax cuts have been tried. They did not work.
When the Wall Street collapse hit in 2008, Bush responded with tax cuts, having few other ideologically permissible weapons in his arsenal. The economy continued to suffer massive job losses.
Obama's stimulus package primarily consisted of tax cuts (a fact which most Americans do not know
); those tax cuts did not help.Obama made a deal to keep the Bush tax cuts in place.
Result: unemployment rose
Last December, he signed legislation giving more tax cuts to businesses
, on the theory that those cuts would accelerate hiring. Did you
feel a rush of acceleration?
The lesson of recent history is clear: Tax cuts don't work. Tax cuts don't work. Tax cuts don't freakin' work.
Libertarian refuse to accept the lessons of lived experience; they have their beloved theory, and for them, theory is enough. Libertarians are magicians who keep reaching into the top hat, absolutely confident that -- one of these days -- they will find a rabbit in there.