The Tax Reform Tide Is Coming In
26 Mar 2009 16:09
The Tired Donkey is on a plane on his way to New York as he writes these words. He is going to that sad epicenter of our current crisis to do the kind of business that donkeys do, but the trip is also making him consider the good that may emerge from New York’s brutal humbling. Now—you may ask yourself—what good could the Tired Donkey possibly see coming out of this time of troubles? Is he friends with someone who got an AIG bonus and wants to blow it on a gluttonous, hedonistic dinner in the Tired Donkey’s honor? Is he staying at a luxurious, over-the-top hotel almost for free because no one can afford to travel anymore after paying for the AIG bailout? To these three questions, the Tired Donkey answers, in order: (1) he will tell you below, (2) no (but—he promises you—he will be eating well) and (3) yes.
On, then, to the good that can come from our current suffering. You may have read various paranoid commentators who have asserted that Great Donkey Ronald Reagan ran up huge deficits on purpose so that the federal government would be forced to get smaller by virtue of not having enough money to feed its massive bulk. The Tired Donkey—while paranoid at times—is not one of these commentators. Great Donkey Reagan ran up those deficits to destroy the Soviet Union without having to fight a war with them, and the Tired Donkey thanks him for it. But that is neither here nor there; there is a point to all this. A deficit is an increase in the nation’s debt, and that debt must be repaid. With money. And the government is soon going to run out of that unless the tax base gets broader. There is simply not enough donkey money in the United States to pay for everything Myrmidon Donkey Obama wants to do and—at the same time—pay the vig on all this new debt. In short, our economic woes have finally done what the paranoid commentators have always accused Great Donkey Reagan of doing: they are making our national debt so huge that we may crumble under it. And the tax reform discussion has already begun.
Just yesterday, the Tired Donkey heard a piece on NPR in which a very bright woman from the Tax Policy Center made exactly this point: MD Obama’s administration is going to have to start thinking about broadening the tax base because they have no choice but to think about it. Having read this last sentence, you may feel a vague sense of dislocation and unease, as if something is not quite right with the world. The Tired Donkey understands, and he will help you. You feel strange because that quote is from a program on National Public Radio, the propoganda arm of the Freeloaders and home to many Stockholm Donkeys. And you may now be saying to yourself, “My God! If NPR is having a discussion about broadening the tax base—even a short discussion—a crisis must be brewing, a fiscal crisis that is going to force the country to inject some fairness into the tax code.” You would be right to say this to yourself. But not too loudly. There are still many miles to go before we sleep, and we don’t want the Freeloaders to recognize that the tide has turned until it is too late.