Two- thirds of Americans favor taxing the rich to reduce the deficit [Ed: Including about 50 percent of self-described Republicans. Huh!]
Well, the House Republican Whip Eric Cantor promises to cover his ears and scream loudly at the very mention of a tax increase until unemployment is under 5 percent (which means, what, six years at least?). Any other ideas, America?
Even though almost 9 of 10 respondents also say they believe the middle class will have to make financial sacrifices to achieve that goal, only a little more than one-fourth support an increase in taxes on the middle class. Fewer still back cuts in entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare or a new national consumption tax.
So the best deficit-busting measures are also the most unpopular. Not a big surprise. I'm guessing most respondents weren't flipping through CBO reports when they answered Bloomberg's questions, but this graph from the Congressional Budget Office makes perfectly clear that our long-term debt crisis is a surging Medicare flood spilling over a dam of tax revenue. The most logical way to avoid the coming inundation is to control the flood and raise the dam.
Ryan Avent has the right response for now. To lift that dark blue line of tax revenues in the next few years, we need to focus on short-term spending to reduce the unemployment rate and get these people some spendable, taxable income.
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