WaPo: 'It’s Impossible to Tackle the Federal Debt by Taxing Only the Wealthy'

In a post-Occupy Wall Street/Buffett Rule world, I bet you'd never expect a liberal news organization to admit that you can't solve all the country's problems by just raising taxes on the rich.

The Washington Post did exactly that in an editorial Monday:

[A]s we’ve been saying since Mr. Obama irresponsibly promised during his first campaign that he would never raise taxes on the middle class — it’s impossible to tackle the federal debt by taxing only the wealthy.

A rare bout of honesty from the Post?

Maybe, but in the end, the point was that taxes have to be raised on everyone:

As the cost of retirement and health care for an aging population rises, the middle class is going to have to pay more, and federal benefits are going to have to be adjusted.

Yet given the pending "fiscal cliff" of huge tax hikes and spending cuts at the end of the year, the Post expressed a modicum of sanity from that point, albeit briefly:

Everyone, including Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, agrees that letting all the tax cuts expire at once would land a powerful punch on a weak economy, especially since a package of spending cuts worth $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years would take effect at the same time. [...]

Allowing [defense] and all the other scheduled spending cuts and tax hikes could shrink the economy by about 3 per cent in the first half of 2013, at the cost of 1 million to 2 million jobs, the Congressional Budget Office estimated months ago. Given the deterioration in the economy since, that estimate might be optimistic.

Seems like a wise, reasoned point that many on the right are making. But:

[I]t would be even less responsible to extend all tax cuts indefinitely and revoke all spending reductions without any progress on long-term deficit reduction. It would cripple long-term economic growth, as the government’s financing needs drained capital from the private sector.

If the only way to achieve tax reform with a reasonable increase in revenue is to reset everyone’s rates at Clinton-era levels and then argue about which to reduce, that would be preferable to continuing on the road to catastrophe.

So, regardless of the negative economic impact the Post acknowledged exists, the recommendation was to go from the current tax rates

to these on January 1, 2013:

How do you think that will impact an already fragile economy?

Despite acknowledging the risks, the folks at the Washington Post admitted Monday they don't care.

2012 Presidential Economy Budget National Debt Taxes Washington Post George W. Bush Barack Obama Bill Clinton
Noel Sheppard's picture