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A Fiscal Conservative’s Case For Tax Increases

by @ 5:42 pm on September 30, 2009. Filed under Economics, Politics

Bruce Bartlett, a fiscal conservative who held positions in both the Reagan and Bush 41 Administration and who most recently is the author of Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy, was on Fox Business Channel recently making an argument for why fiscal conservatives should not take tax increases off the table in the current economic climate:

I’m not sure that I agree with him completely, but Bartett has a point. We have a tremendous deficit problem that needs to be dealt with, sooner rather than later, and there are only two ways to reduce the deficit — massive spending cuts, including cuts in social welfare programs like Medicare and Medicaid, or a combination of spending cuts and tax increases.

Given that I seriously doubt that the political will exists in this country, or even in the the Republican Party, for the kind of spending cuts that would be necessarily to seriously attack the deficit without touching taxes, the second choice may be the only one we realistically have. It’s a crappy choice, and not one I’d make in the best of all possible worlds, but we’ve backed ourselves into a corner and there aren’t a hell of a lot of options left.

6 Responses to “A Fiscal Conservative’s Case For Tax Increases”

  1. [...] accelerating agenda for “fundamental change” toward a Marxist state is inviting upon America. A Fiscal Conservative’s Case For Tax Increases – belowthebeltway.com 09/30/2009 Bruce Bartlett, a fiscal conservative who held positions in [...]

  2. Another option is inflation, which, as a devalutation of one’s wealth, has the potential to make tax increases look like a walk in the park.

  3. Let's Be Free says:

    Sure, let’s go back to tax increases, just like in the days of Jimmy Carter. And make them windfall taxes no less to ensure that nobody can be too successful. What are you thinking? It will sooon be time that people start talking Ronald Reagan on economics and Jack Kemp on taxation.

  4. LBF,

    Bartlett’s point is a simple one — if we are going to tackle the deficit problem not to mention the National Debt, then we either have to massively scale back the welfare state or we have to cut where we can and consider increasing taxes.

    Do you seriously think there’s enough support out there for option 1 ?

    I don’t like Barlett’s proposal, but we may have no choice.

  5. Let's Be Free says:

    Doug,

    Clearly I have no magic bullet but I don’t think there is support for higher taxes either, except when linked with higher spending, which leaves us absolutely nowhere.

    In the last year or two I finally began to understand the logic of the supply siders who for a couple of decades I had thought to be self-centered and simplistic.

    I don’t have the answers but I think people like us (God help me, I never thought I would use that phrase) are doing a disservice if we cave in up front on the tax issue.

    I do know that increasing taxes without greatly simplifying the system (get rid of the complications that crept back in during the last 25 years) is a loser.

    We need a new Jack Kemp.

  6. LBF,

    I generally agree but I’m beginning to think that the debt problems we face today, and will face in the near future, are so severe that we may not have the luxury of relying on the supply sider’s arguments.

    Either that, or we just default on the debt and face the consequences.

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