Of Deficits and Derps

by evanmcmurry

Matt Yglesias needs all of three sentences to explain why David Brooks’ theory of the day—that Obama’s ramming through tax increases on the wealthy will kill all of his political capital with an intransigent Republican House—is ludicrous. But here’s the most interesting bit of Brooks’ logic:

Obama could probably triumph in a short-term confrontation, pushing through higher tax rates on the rich that wouldn’t even produce enough revenue to cover a tenth of the deficit.

Catch that? The Bush tax cuts were the largest single factor in creating our current debt. But if eliminating them won’t solve the entire deficit, then Obama is guilty of going for some sort of short-term Pyrrhic victory.

Much of David Brooks’s New York Times-sponsored existence is predicated on the argument that cutting spending on programs benefiting middle and low income families, which compose a miniscule portion of the deficit, is part of the necessarily painful sacrifice that we as a mature and moral civilization must make, we in that sentence excluding David Brooks. But if eliminating tax cuts on the wealthy won’t solve the entire problem (that the tax cuts themselves created), then it shouldn’t even be attempted, even though leaving the tax cuts in place will continue to drive the deficits that are supposedly so terrible in the first place. Makes sense!