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.