26 December 2012

Too late for Grand Bargain/Great Betrayal, plenty of options for can kicking

I often disagree with Matthew Yglesias, but in this instance, I think he's got it just about exactly right. 

Apart from the relatively brief likely effect of Market nervousness from now until after the 1st, I think the way things have turned out in these negotiations is actually better for the prospects for long term benefit to the American people than if some deal had been struck this month. 

I fully expect that the Bush tax cuts for the under $250K income cohort will be extended or made permanent, and some version of can kicking will occur, but the fact that the idiotic plan to permanently cut Social Security under the so-called chained-CPI scheme, or other ill-advised cuts to essential services, will not be occurring, is a very definite plus. We in the reasoned liberal community can try like hell to sound the voice of reason and keep these terrible ideas from resurfacing, while lobbying for more revenue from progressive tax reforms, including a modest financial speculation tax, reform to increase tax rates on capital gains, dividends, and carried interest (possibly with a floor to protect middle class investors), real reform (i.e., elimination) of overseas tax havens, elimination of corporate and Agribusiness welfare, restoration of substantial estate tax, and a lifting or raising of the cap on income subject to payroll taxes. If anything like the bulk of these could be enacted sometime in the next decade, we could easily put this country on the road to quite sustainable fiscal health, and maintain the essential services which are an obligation of the government to its people, based on years of regressive taxes to pay for them, every bit as much as its bonds and securities are obligations to the investors who've purchased them. 

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