Late yesterday, the Washington Post editorial board determined that the “Opening bids on ‘fiscal cliff’ talks are too small“. After spending most of the opening part of the editorial attacking John Boehner’s opening bid (surprising, eh?), we learn
What’s worrisome, though, is that the two sides are slipping into a kind of tacit agreement to scale back the size of an ultimate debt-reduction package. The president billed his plan as $4.4 trillion worth of debt reduction over 10 years. But $2.4 trillion of that comes from lower interest payments, alleged savings from winding down overseas wars Mr. Obama never planned to fight and discretionary cuts that were legislated a year ago. Mr. Boehner’s letter similarly identifies only $2.2 trillion of new revenues and cuts.
Well, I’m glad they finally told us that Obama’s plan, which he has been playing with for over a year now (and which he formalized once the presidential debates were over with) is a load of mule fritters chalk full of imaginary savings and cuts already planned. The rest of Obama’s plan pretty much comes from tax increases, from raising the marginal rate on “the rich” (which starts with the upper middle class), taxes through Obama(not)Care (which will also hit the middle and lower classes), raising capital gains, and many others. We’ll supposedly get a whopping $2 trillion in debt/deficit reduction out of it over 10 years. Which we all know will never be used for that purpose. Boehner’s is not much better, but at least the plan actually reduced the debt/deficit.
It will take more than that to dent the debt. A new report from a Bipartisan Policy Center task force headed by former senator Pete Domenici, a Republican, and former budget director Alice Rivlin, a Democrat, suggests that it would take $2.8 trillion in fresh cuts and revenue to stabilize the debt at 69 percent of gross domestic product by 2022 — above historical levels but sustainable. It would appear that Republicans and Democrats must not only come together but also raise their sights.
What we have is a spending problem, not a revenue problem. The government spends too darned much, and wastes it. Government is inherently wasteful. They fail to treat the money as their own and spend it wisely. The whole system is foolish. Yet, if we want to increase revenue, the best way is to get the economy roaring, to get people working, and to get those “evil rich” people to spend their money, which would mean more money ending up in governmental coffers after it has flowed through the private economy.