Wednesday, March 16, 2005

To Trump Bush on Taxes

To Trump Bush on Taxes
By John Podesta
Tuesday, March 15, 2005; Page A23
Washington Post
A presidential advisory panel has quietly begun work on the critically important issue of tax reform. It does so against a political backdrop that makes it appear increasingly likely that the president's twin domestic goals of reforming Social Security and the tax system will merge by the summer.
This is a time when progressives would be wise to apply some of the lessons from the battle over the president's 2001 massive tax cuts for the wealthy.
President Bush put the debate in a philosophical, value-driven framework. He asked, "Who do you trust with the people's money, the people or the government?" He then unleashed the special interest groups to lobby for the tax giveaways covered by this theme, which implied that they were fighting for the people instead of their narrow interests.
We ended up with a tax bill that produced exploding deficits, protected the special interests, undid the progressivity of the tax code, and laid more of the burden on wage earners and less on those with investment income. But our arguments against it were never heard; we didn't offer a larger progressive counter-narrative, and we didn't offer a tax cut alternative worthy of its name....