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Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Tax cuts:

Why aren't taxes ever seen as what they are: the way--the only way--to finance governmental operations. Take Will Saletan'snew article about Dean, Clinton, and centrism.
He says that it's not about offerring a clear alternative to the GOP, it's about picking battles:

"There are three problems with this "clear alternative" approach. One is that it misconceives and underestimates the alternative. As I argued a year ago, being a Clinton Democrat rather than a McGovern Democrat isn't about eliminating the differences between you and the Republicans. It's about choosing those differences. You eliminate differences that create bad policy or bad politics in order to focus the election on differences that create good policy or good politics. War? Yes, if necessary, but with allies so we don't get stuck holding the bag. Tax cuts? Yes, but for the middle class, not the rich."

But he assumes that you're either "pro-tax cuts" or not. But that's not the issue. Neither tax cuts, not tax increases, are "goods" in and of themselves. They're simply the way to pay for what the government does. So, you basically want to tax people at the lowest and fairest rates you can. You shouldn't be for knee-jerk "middle-class tax cuts" any more than for "tax cuts for the rich" any more than making the rich "pay their share." Saletan makes is seem that Democrats should be for a 0% tax rate for middle class people, which is crazy. You just want fairness and revenue--nothing more, nothing less.




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