This is good. We all would have preferred the Bipartisan Deficit Reduction Commission to find ways to reduce the deficit by lowering taxes and spending more. But that is not ordinarily how arithmetic works. Politicians know this, but can’t say it. Hence bipartisan commissions.
It won’t be abrupt and it won’t end up exactly as described in this draft report. The mortgage interest deduction on second homes and for loans above $500,000 might or might not be phased out (see, for example, here) and the Social Security retirement age might or might not rise to 69 by 2075 (here). (Gosh, would 65 years allow people enough time to prepare for the change?)
Indeed, ‘radical centrist’ Matt Miller argues that the floated proposals – as unpopular as they will be – are not nearly enough. A 15-cent-a-gallon hike in the gas tax? He scoffs. And rightly so – it should be more like a 15-cent annual hike, which one could ‘beat’ at first by hypermiling and, eventually, by trading up to a more fuel-efficient car.
But that the process and discussion have finally begun is good news.
I’m taking the rest of the day off.
Quote of the Day
In 1800, 75% of [an American's] working man's expenditures went for food alone. By 1850, that had dropped to 50%. Today it is a little more than 11%.~The Wall Street Journal, September 20, 1996
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