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Big Government is Back
Posted by: Jon Henke on Thursday, February 28, 2008

Robert Kuttner sounds the warning: Big Government liberalism is back, baby... Unfortunately, Progressives only ever seem to make progress in one direction: towards Washington, DC.
Can the Democrats Think Big?
[The] Democrats' task is to place the responsibility squarely where it belongs—on market-fundamentalist ideology and the related right-wing policies that have undercut mechanisms of security and opportunity—and to offer something dramatically better. This requires not just a repudiation of George W. Bush but a reversal of an entire philosophy of how to run an economy. That philosophy has now been revealed as a proven, practical failure both for working Americans and for the solvency of the system.
Unfortunately, Progressives only ever seem to make progress in one direction: towards Washington, DC.

But don't worry! They'll pay for it! With your money!
Repairing America's broken infrastructure will cost public money. Financing green energy and creating good jobs along the way will cost public money. Converting the low-wage jobs in the human service sector into good middle-class professional jobs will cost public money. Disconnecting health security and retirement securities from the vagaries of employment will cost public money. And improving the economic horizons of young Americans will require serious public outlays, too. ...

And finding the revenue to finance that social outlay will require reviving progressive taxation.
And where will they find that money? They'll use...imagination!
Reverting to the tax schedule of the pre-Bush code, but preserving the lower taxes on Americans with incomes under $200,000, could easily raise an additional $300 billion a year.
$300 billion just from raising the taxes on the rich. That's quite a lot. Perhaps somebody should hook Robert Kuttner up with the Hillary Clinton campaign, which only estimated the additional revenue from "increasing high-end tax rates" at "$52 billion a year". And perhaps somebody should hook Robert Kuttner and the Hillary Clinton campaign up with the Congressional Budget Office, which estimates the revenue from "Rais[ing] the Top Two Ordinary Tax Rates" back to pre-Bush levels at $29 billion.

So, Kuttner is only off by a single order of magnitude.

But that's par for Kuttner's big-thinking course. When he dreams of electric, socialist sheep, he dreams big...
Reversing the catastrophic damage to the financial system and its tendency to generate dangerous asset bubbles will require New Deal–scale re-regulation. Reversing the 30-year trajectory of increasing inequality and insecurity will require very substantial public spending. It's time for Democrats to stop flinching at both ideas...
The Democrats are again trying to become the Party of Ideas. Sadly, the Democrats only ever have one idea: spend more of your money.

UPDATE: Ok, the title of this post was wildly inappropriate. Big Government never left. It's just that the Democrats seem tanned, rested and ready to make it so much bigger.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Back? It was gone?

Written By: Jeff Medcalf

Progressives only ever seem to make progress in one direction: towards Washington, DC.
It’s where the jobs are (if you’re a Democratic consultant or want to become one).
Written By: Dave Schuler
The title might be more accurate to say "unapologetic big government is back".
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
Back? It was gone?
Good point. I won’t change it now, but that really was a bad title. Perhaps it should have been something like "Democrats bid higher."
It’s where the jobs are (if you’re a Democratic consultant or want to become one).
That’s not the problem. The problem is that they seem to think the way to solve problems is through government. They’ve grabbed hold of the hammer, and everything is now a nail.
Written By: Jon Henke
So based on this, I assume you’re voting McCain?
Written By: shark
URL: http://
shark, I think Jon gave a stronger indication in this post.

With regard to this article, what mechanisms of opportunity have been undercut? How will raising my taxes rectify that? This highlights the fact that the Democrats are the best reason to vote Republican.
Written By: J Sterlace
URL: http://

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