Extend the full Bush tax cuts for two years and then kill them forever, former budget director Peter Orszag writes, fresh from his job as budget director for the first two years of the Obama administration. As for his former employer, the White House has consistently said it will seek to extend the bill for the bottom 98 percent but let taxes rise on families making more than $250,000. So ... awkward?
Orszag has a nice frame for thinking about the tax cuts. It's a balancing act of fixing the jobs deficit today and
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lowering the budget deficit tomorrow, he writes. But the most important point about this-ed isn't about his argument, it's the guy disagrees with it. That would be President Obama, the erstwhile boss.
In a sit-down with moderate liberal bloggers a few weeks ago, Treasury said the administration wasn't about to change its position on the Bush tax cuts just because some Democrats seem nervous about raising taxes in the budding recovery. The White House will seek higher taxes on the top two percent, the official told me, no questions asked, period, full stop.
That makes this op-ed ammunition for the folks seeking to extend the Bush tax cuts this fall. Republicans can -- and probably will -- turn the old TNR quip ("even the liberal New Republic thinks...") on the White House: Even your former budget director thinks raising taxes in 2011 will "crimp consumer spending, further depressing the already inadequate demand for what firms are capable of producing at full tilt."