Candid Liberal Kuttner Clamors for Tax and Spend

January 6th, 2007 6:52 AM

The detritus of Nancy Pelosi's imperial celebrations have barely been cleared, and already at least one member of the liberal punditry, Robert Kuttner, is demanding that the new Dem majority do more of what Dems do best: tax and spend.

It's as if one of the Smithsonian's dinosaurs, taxasaurus democratae, patiently gathering dust all these last dozen years, had suddenly roared to life, broken from its exhibit, and began slouching toward Capitol Hill to be reborn. To mix a metaphor and a poem.

Annotated excerpts from Kuttner's impassioned plea, Get Serious Democrats, from this morning's Boston Globe:

  • "Unless Democrats get serious about repealing Bush's tax cuts for the rich, the result could be further cuts in social outlays for the regular people whom Democrats supposedly champion."

Ah, "the rich" vs. the "regular people." Don't you love the smell of class warfare in the morning?

  • "On the spending side of the ledger, Bush has been hacking away at needed social spending for six years."

Hacking away? You mean, as in domestic spending so out of control that, as reported here, "the Concord Coalition, a bipartisan watchdog, calls this the 'most irresponsible year ever,' and the Heritage Foundation complains "the Republican party is simply not interested in small government now. They're worse than the Democrats they replaced."

  • "Did Democrats win a hard-fought campaign to take back Congress, only to govern like fiscally prudent Republicans -- delivering balanced budgets but with shamefully low levels of social investment?"

If only Kuttner were correct about the Republicans having been tightwads, but isn't it priceless [pun intended] to see a liberal criticize fiscal prudence?

  • "The solution, of course, is to embrace a progressive tax code."

Of course. Soak the rich! They would otherwise just be stuffing their ill-gotten gains into their mattresses or buying a yacht on the backs of the poor. It's not as if they ever invest in the economy and create more jobs, or anything

  • "If Democrats are to be more than Eisenhower Republicans, one good idea is to tie particular tax increases to valued public spending purposes. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has talked up the idea of rolling back tax breaks for the hugely profitable oil industry, and using the proceeds to fund research and development of alternative energy."

Come on, Bob. You're an economist. In theory. You know money is fungible and that this "good idea" is a scam.

  • "Democrats also need to begin undoing the damage of three decades of government-bashing. . . Maybe, once we remember that much of what government does is highly valued, we can have a serious conversation on why government needs to be funded by fair taxes."

Bob, please explain why you're right and Thomas Jefferson -- or was it Thomas Paine -- was wrong when he wrote "that government is best which governs least"?

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