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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Against the Wonkosphere part II

I disagree with Brad DeLong, Josh Marshall and, well just about everyone I usually agree with. He argues that we shouldn't do anything with social security taxes because they are regressive. Huh ? Given the awfulness of current social security taxes, it is very easy to increase social security revenues while cutting almost everyone's taxes. That is, a grossly regressive tax which people think needs to be changed is the worlds biggest sitting duck. Even the Democrats might not manage to miss it.

I think Marshall is assuming that the Republicans are the natural party of government and, hence, that any spare money will go to tax cuts for the rich.

I'd say that if the Republicans are the natural party of government the USA is doomed no matter what we do.

Tying increased taxes on the rich to a wildly popular program seems to me to be the best strategy to make them irrelevant for the next few decades (note you seem to agree with Schmitt that they will be).

I diagnose an excess of honesty. When the debate was about Bush's partial privatization, it was rhetorically useful to argue that there was no social security problem, even though the only solution which had popular support was to eliminate the ceiling and raise taxes on the upper middle class and rich (no one asked about making the tax progressive or taxing capital income and capital gains too. I'm sure that less than 100% of respondents would have supported such a change but I would't go much beyond that).

Now that the debate is about, among other things, raising taxes on rich people, it is rhetorically useful to say we should top up the trust fund. I think the wonkosphere is unwilling to argue something that you recently said was false.

Fine by me if you don't want to be dishonest, but how about you talk about something else and get out of Obama's way.

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