Let the Bush tax cuts expire in their entirety.

Saturday, December 11th, 2010 @ 12:06 pm | Economy, Politics

Yeah, I said it. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: The Bush tax cuts were a bad idea ten years ago, they’ve bankrupted us for ten years straight with nothing to show for it with the worst market crash since the Great Depression, and they’ll keep sapping us every day down the road they’re in place.

I am only talking about returning to the tax rates of the prosperous nineties and having a decent shot at paying down our debt before interest payments spiral up out of control. That this is now thought of as some extremist lefty position, and that lefty ire over the bill satisfies the “if it pisses off liberals, it must be a good idea!” quotient for Krauthammer and Sullivan (oh, it means Obama will have an easier time in 2012, so it’s automatically good and I should shut up, you see…), does not strengthen my faith in American discourse. Once again, any rational position held by the left and supported by the public must be written off as beyond the pale.

I’m not immune to the suggestion that this constitutes a second stimulus. Indeed, I desperately hope so, if it passes. I just don’t have any faith that anything beyond the unemployment benefits are going to create decent returns. The Bush tax cuts didn’t get us anywhere but ten feet out from the ledge of a cliff doing bicycle kicks, so why would two more years do anything? The richest Americans are already sitting on their cash and not investing because there’s no demand, so why would more cash change their mind? Right now, tax cuts are the only way they’ll get more cash, not through investing. “Hey, I’ll go build a factory to make stuff nobody wants!” isn’t any more likely to happen now.

I have almost no hope that the deal will be held off or altered acceptably, so my hope that it will actually do some good is slightly higher. That’s not an endorsement, but I’ll be willing to say my reservations were wrong if I am so proven, ala TARP. But if this thing doesn’t pay off and provide enough inertia to the economy to get us over the hump, we’re gonna get screwed like Sasha Grey in prison.

-hw

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