Can a nation remain a superpower if its internal politics are incorrigibly stupid?
Start with taxes. In every other serious democracy, conservative political parties feel at least some obligation to match their tax policies with their spending plans. David Cameron, the new Conservative prime minister in Britain, is a leading example.That last sentence triggers in me a feeling I have experienced more than once recently: a vicarious weariness on behalf of Democrats in Congress.
He recently offered a rather brutal budget that includes severe cutbacks. I have doubts about some of them, but at least Cameron cared enough about reducing his country's deficit that alongside the cuts, he also proposed an increase in the value-added tax from 17.5 percent to 20 percent. Imagine: a fiscal conservative who really is a fiscal conservative.
That could never happen here because the fairy tale of supply-side economics insists that taxes are always too high, especially on the rich.
This is why Democrats will be fools if they don’t try to turn the Republicans’ refusal to raise taxes on families earning more than $250,000 a year into an election issue. If Democrats go into a headlong retreat on this, they will have no standing to govern.