In response to:

“The Unanswered Question”—On Taxes and Spending

Jack2894 Wrote: Nov 28, 2012 10:00 AM
Medved is correct in principle. But he stops short of reaching the political reality. REsolving our fiscal crisis will require lower spending AND increased revenue. The election dictates that increased revenue goes on top of the list. But it is more than the election. Spending cuts are not going to affect the wealthy. Spending cuts will affect the middle and lower economic strata. But, teh American public is not ever going to accept significant spending cuts if the wealthy are effectively held harmless. The only acceptable pathway to spending cuts is through revenue increases. Not the other way around. This leads to the question of how one can assure teh spending cuts actually happen. Rather than fighting teh tax increases,
FletchforFreedom Wrote: Nov 28, 2012 1:05 PM
Sadly, you may be correct about the political reality, but the problem goes deeper than that. Ultimately, what everyone needs (and the only thing that will ultimately satisfy everyone) is a stronger economy and EVERY spending cut advances that and EVERY tax hike undermines it. In the long run, particularly taking into account political realities, holding the line on taxes - so that things do not get even worse - and passing spending cuts when possible yields the best results.
Neal from PA Wrote: Nov 28, 2012 2:34 PM
Correct...no amount of tax hikes will solve our physical cliff problem...only meaningful spending cuts can do that.
Jack2894 Wrote: Nov 28, 2012 4:03 PM
You are both wrong. Fletch because he thinks there is something deeper than politics. In this case, there isn't anything. He's also wrong to think that every spending cut advances the economy: its not true. AND you, Neal, are wrong because you are still one of the remaining one siders, who think teh solution can be done without both parts of the equation.
Kenneth L. Wrote: Nov 28, 2012 8:10 PM
Jack, you make no sense. There is no excuse for increasing spending by 75% while the population grows 25%. The idea that "both parts of the equation" are needed is facile nonsense. Why are revenue increases needed? Do you know that if present tax rates were left in place and spending INCREASES were limited to 2% per year, the budget would balance itself? Read Dan Mitchell.

Editor's note: A version of this column appeared originally in THE DAILY BEAST.

In the debate on our fiscal crisis, one crucial question is never answered or even asked: if we’re supposed to go back to Clinton-era tax rates because they were good for America, why don’t we simultaneously return to that era’s spending rates?

In other words, what is government doing so much better today than it was then to justify vastly increased expenditures, totaling more than $1 trillion a year in inflation-adjusted dollars?

The question came up during our Thanksgiving holiday, when I honored my personal tradition—which reliably annoys...