Solving the budget deficit is not rocket science

Why and how did the shrunken tax rates of the George W. Bush era become sacrosanct?

They did not create jobs. Instead, along with two unfunded wars, they sank this country into a level of debt that’s not only crippling the Obama administration but eroding our nation’s infrastructure and increasingly deserting our poor.

Consider these words in an analysis by David Leonhardt of The New York Times.

[Without Congressional action] on Jan. 1, 2013, the Clinton-era tax rates would return …. This change, by itself, would solve about 75 percent of the deficit problem  over the next five years.

Put another way: If Americans returned to paying the same tax rates they did through the prosperous ’90s — rates that for even the wealthiest Americans would be 39 percent, barely more than half as much as during the Vietnam War,  our crippling deficit problem would in the short term largely dissolve.  (For a history of American tax rates, look here).

OK. Leonhardt goes on to note that more thoughtful tax and entitlement restructuring will be needed to keep the deficit problem from ballooning again. But five years buys time for the Congress to operate in something other than a state of brinkmanship.

It’s amazing that this rarely even enters the conversation these days, an example, I believe, of how the Republican Party today is controlling the agenda, not only in Congress but in the national news media.



About jerrylanson

I teach, write, coach and sing, though you're not required to listen to the latter. I'm a journalism professor at Emerson College in Boston. My third book, "Writing for Others, Writing for Ourselves," was published in November by Rowman & Littlefield Publishing. You can read a sample chapter at My passions are politics (generally liberal in outlook), music, mountains, golden retrievers and my grandchildren, though not in that order. Please stop by and mix it up with me. I always answer those who post.
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