Yes, Obama Will Have to Raise Your Taxes

The problem with trying to pass a $1.3 trillion universal health care plan, on top of raising the price of carbon emissions, on top of spending over a trillion dollars to stimulate the economy is that, as they say, a trillion here and a trillion there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money. So let's talk about real money. Where're we gonna get some? Your paycheck. How're we gonna do it? Raise your taxes.


So I'm pleased to see the Economix blog is putting together a motley crew of economists and journalists who have said just that: Taxes are coming. With federal revenue less than 19% and federal spending surging over 20% with the bailouts, it stands to reason that even if health care reform miraculously turns deficit-neutral in a decade, we're going to need politicians to get serious about higher taxes -- and maybe not just for the rich.

Enter Economix. The blog's "Club Wagner" -- named after 19th century economist Adolf Wagner -- is a group of diverse journalists and economists who have publicly stated that taxes in the United States must rise, eventually. There is no consensus on an explicit time line for raising taxes, at least in this debut mission statement. Nor is there a specific breakdown of which taxes they would like to see increased.

Indeed, the group is somewhat all over the map. You've got Peter Orszag, Obama's budget director, alongside Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Sen. John McCain's former economic adviser, alongside a few middle-of-the-road senators who aren't exactly fighting over Club Wagner bumper stickers to paste to their minivans. Indeed the members who are in government -- Orszag, Sen. Judd Gregg (R) and Sen. Kent Conrad (D) -- are all pretty sketchy in their "support" of higher taxes. So it's a big tent, but the occupants are few and far from enthusiastic.

But it's a start. I would join the club. Would you?

Presented by

Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A Stop-Motion Tour of New York City

A filmmaker animated hundreds of still photographs to create this Big Apple flip book

Video

The Absurd Psychology of Restaurant Menus

Would people eat healthier if celery was called "cool celery?"

Video

This Japanese Inn Has Been Open For 1,300 Years

It's one of the oldest family businesses in the world.

Video

What Happens Inside a Dying Mind?

Science cannot fully explain near-death experiences.

More in Business

Just In