In this "new era of responsibility", as the budget document is called, it would have been better for Obama to signal that huge and desirable initiatives like universal health care will impose at least some costs on all Americans. It is literally impossible to make the rich pay for everything, and telling 95% of voters that they can have all these things at no cost is not good leadership. It has even less to do with shared responsibility.True, that. My chief worry about the governing compact Obama forged during the campaign is his promise not to raise taxes on any household with less than $250k in income. Obama's core domestic policy premises were that the U.S. needs to repair its safety net, reduce income inequality and improve opportunity through education. That means higher taxes for the affluent and some tradeoff of tax and benefit for the middle class, if lower tax burdens for the poor. I fear that on this point David Brooks was right: Obama boxed himself in on taxation during the campaign.
Friday, February 27, 2009
After praising Obama's willingness to tackle health care reform, impose a cap-and-trade program on carbon emissions, and do away with accounting gimmicks like placing war spending off-budget, Clive Crook offers a major caveat about the Obama budget: