Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 7, 2009 / 19 Tishrei 5770

Lib ‘thinkers’ eyeing strategy to destroy economy further

By Robert Robb


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Democrats say they are serious about reducing the federal deficit, but the only policy proposals they are seriously considering would just add to it.


The next step in the Democratic playbook, however, is rounding into view: a value-added tax. The groundwork is being laid by the Center for American Progress, a policy and political organization with very close ties to the Obama administration.


The center recently published a paper on the deficit and accumulating federal debt with the plainspoken title, "Deal with It."


The paper's thesis is that the debt current policy will mount might cause economic problems. At a minimum, rising debt service obligations will crowd out spending for other good things progressives think the federal government should be doing.


This is a useful recognition of reality. Those who think the federal government needs to be highly proactive to combat recession are willing to excuse the current deficit as desirable and necessary. The universally disturbing thing about the Obama administration's budget projections is that total public debt rises from 41 percent of GDP in 2008 to 70 percent in 2011, but then never goes down for the remainder of the decade. The federal debt hasn't exceeded 50 percent of GDP since 1956.


Even for those not inclined to hyperventilate over deficits, this is a worrisome economic anchor.


The Center for American Progress says that the deficit can't be tamed either by tax increases only on the rich or only through spending cuts.


The former is a useful point. According to the center's calculations, it would take a 70 percent increase in taxes on corporations and individuals making more than $250,000 a year, on top of the increases President Obama has already advocated, to balance the budget.


The claim that controlling spending can't do the trick is dubious. From 1960-2000, federal revenues averaged 18.2 percent of GDP. The Obama administration projects that they will be 19.2 percent by 2019, or comfortably above the historical average.


Spending, however, is projected to be 23.2 percent of GDP, well above the 1960-2000 average of 20.3 percent.


If spending were brought back in line with its historical average, in 2019 there would be a deficit of only $250 billion, compared to the current projection of $917 billion. It would represent about one percent of GDP and be in the range of the long-term capital stuff the federal government buys annually and for which financing is a sensible option. In other words, not a worry.


And at the historical average in 2019, federal spending would still have increased at a rate of nearly 5 percent a year since 2000.


Keeping federal spending within the historical average will require tough choices since so much of federal spending is on autopilot. But it shouldn't be dismissed as undoable.


Liberals, however, want to expand the economic footprint of the federal government beyond its historical bound. And they are increasingly realizing that taxing the rich won't get them there.


Hence, the growing recognition that broad-based tax increases will be required if this level of spending is to be supported. The center's paper didn't specify any taxes for consideration. But its president, John Podesta, has publicly and conspicuously been discussing the value-added tax. He's clearly playing Mr. Trial Balloon man.


The value-added tax is a net receipts tax on businesses. It's worth considering as a substitute for taxes on income. But the left is clearly floating it not as tax reform, but as a way to finance an expansion of government.


That, of course, would run afoul of candidate Obama's highly prominent, incessantly repeated pledge not to raise the taxes of anyone making more than $250,000 a year.


That's a promise that's already been broken in what could be argued to be small or indirect ways: an increase in the federal cigarette tax, the cap-and-trade induced increase in electricity costs, the health care mandate.


A value-added tax would bust the pledge in a very big way. But even liberals are beginning to acknowledge that Obama's tax promise cannot be squared with his - and their — spending ambitions.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Robert Robb is a columnist for The Arizona Republic. Comment by clicking here.

Robert Robb Archives

© 2009, The Arizona Republic

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles