Americans want someone else to pay for everything. That’s what they’re telling pollsters when they say the rich should pay higher taxes to close the federal budget gap. Higher taxes on the rich (IMHO those making over $250k/year) would be a start but not nearly enough to pay the piper. The poll is also quite revealing in that very few respondents – in the single digit percentages – are willing to cut Medicare or Social Security.
The truth is that everyone will have to pay more in taxes or give up more in benefits and services. That was the conclusion the deficit reduction commission reached before they adjourned without a consensus on how to implement it. In case you missed it, that was a story that briefly hit the news in December and then sank while Americans preoccupied themselves with a renewed consumption spree.
Let’s start by taxing the bottom third or so of wage earners who currently pay no federal income tax at all. It can be a small tax, just enough to give everyone some skin in the game. Then we can make ourselves feel better by taxing the middle class, the rich, your dog and cat, and anything else that moves. That’s what cutting the deficit will really take. Everyone will have to pay something. There is no “someone else” who can pay our bills for us.