How to learn nothing:
That was fast. A mere two days after Democrats capture Congress claiming they wouldn’t raise taxes, former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin tells them they should do so anyway.
“You cannot solve the nation’s fiscal problems without increased revenues,” declared Mr. Rubin, the Democratic Party’s leading economic spokesman, in a speech last Thursday. He also took a crack at economic forecasting by noting that “I think if you were to increase taxes right now, you would have probably about zero negative effect on the economy.” The economics and politics here are worth parsing.
It’s premature to assume that this is The Path™ for the next two years because much political wrangling has to happen before we see this implemented. My reaction is more exasperation than anything, which is to say that this is not “buyer’s remorse.” I’ve said many times that a (massive) spending cut is the way to fix our fiscal crisis. But politicians aren’t to be trusted, so I reasonably expected this. Democrats can’t comprehend that spending is too high rather than
revenues tax receipts are too low. They’re stupid.¹
Aside from the ridiculous notion that Mr. Rubin believes tax increases would have zero negative effect on the economy, Mr. Rubin seems to be misreading the results of the Democratic victory last week. This is not 1992, when then-candidate Clinton ran on the promise to raise taxes. Everyone knew it was coming with a Clinton victory and still he won. However right or wrong the decision was, its inevitability was obvious. Clinton had the political capital to “encourage” Congress to increase taxes.
The 2006 election signaled no such preference from voters. Democrats could be expected to misinterpret their victory, as its lack of political leadership and foresight has been evident for many years. So, again, I think no one will be surprised if the 110th Congress attempts a tax increase. But they should not be surprised when they find themselves on the outside looking in at control of the 111th Congress.
The rest of the Opinion Journal editorial is reasonable, although it glosses over the deficit considerably more than it should.
¹ As further evidence:
“The middle class is being squeezed,” Mr. Reid said. “Squeezed. The rich are getting richer; the poor are getting poorer. We must do something about education. We must do something to relieve the tax burden on the middle class.”
It doesn’t take a genius to decipher that.