An Endangered Tax Deal?

That tax deal I wrote about yesterday may be in trouble. The biggest potential obstacle resides in the outcry on the Left. They feel betrayed by “their” president. They can’t stomach the idea that no one making more than $250,000 will be penalized by higher taxes. In their Marxian worldview, this appears to be unfair. There is no guarantee that enough Democrats in Congress will support this deal.

On the Right, there are concerns as well. Sen. Jim DeMint is indicating he may filibuster against it because it extends unemployment benefits without any way to ensure they are paid for, meaning that this will drive us deeper in debt. Another point of heartburn is the revival of the inheritance/death tax. In this case, it would only affect those whose estates are worth more than $5 million, yet there is a principle at stake here: this is a penalty that falls on those who will inherit the estate, and it’s really a form of double taxation. Inheritance taxes in the past were so high at times that the inheritors had to sell the estates even to pay the taxes. Are we heading down that icy road again?

Those are legitimate concerns. In one sense, I wouldn’t mind the deal failing right now. The new Congress, populated with a higher percentage of constitutionally minded representatives, will undoubtedly come up with a better bill. Maybe that would be for the best.

At the same time, the commission that Obama set up to address the deficit has unveiled what it would like to do. It’s a grab bag of less spending and higher taxes. The first sounds good, but the second will work against economic growth. And the “solution” for items such as Social Security is no solution at all—just more of the same band aid approach that doesn’t fundamentally change anything. What about Obamacare? Untouched.

Well, this is such a complicated issue, you know—how is it possible to come to an easy solution for our deficit woes?

We have a tendency to make things harder than they really are, and it doesn’t take a doctorate to figure out the best way out of our sad situation. What we lack is the determination to do what’s right.