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Extending the Bush Tax--Well, They Aren't Cuts, They Never Were, They Were Just Shifts of the Tax Burden from Us to Our Descendents

From my perspective, it makes no sense to let taxes go up until we are well into a strong, robust economic expansion--but it also makes no sense at all to permanently extend the Bush tax shifts of the burden from us to our children and grandchildren.

Howard Gleckman appears to agree:

TaxVox: the Tax Policy Center blog: Trillion Dollar Health Reform, $3 Trillion in Tax Cuts: It is interesting, and perhaps worth noting, that while political opposition seems to be hardening against the $1 trillion, ten-year cost of the early versions of health reform, barely a peep of concern has been raised about the $3 trillion price tag for President Obama’s plan to extend most of the Bush-era tax cuts. The message seems pretty clear: The President, congressional Democrats, and nearly all Republicans are fine with busting the budget to cut taxes for nearly everyone, notwithstanding a cumulative deficit over the next decade of $9 trillion. They are, by contrast, unwilling to spend one-third as much to provide medical insurance for those who cannot afford it. I’ve always felt that health reform is as much an ethical choice as an economic one. We appear to be making ours.   

Well let me, for one, say that I am most definitely not fine by extending the Bush-era--well, Howard could start by not calling them "tax cuts" because they are not: they are a tax shift from current taxpayers into the future.

My view is that we should (a) decide how much we want to spend, and then (b) balance the non-Social Security budget. And that is not at all consistent with extending the Bush tax cuts. But is there a chance that any number of Republican-leaning economists will join me? They are very scarce on the ground.

And Obama's senior economic advisors appear to be lobbying the president to choose differently than Gleckman assumes:

Obama officials: Taxes may rise: Geithner and Summers both sidestepped questions on Obama’s intentions about taxes. Geithner said the White House was not ready to rule out a tax hike to reduce the federal deficit; Summers said Obama’s proposed health care overhaul needs funding from somewhere. “There is a lot that can happen over time,” Summers said, adding that the administration believes “it is never a good idea to absolutely rule things out, no matter what.”...

“If we want an economy that’s going to grow in the future, people have to understand we have to bring those deficits down. And it’s going to be difficult, hard for us to do. And the path to that is through health care reform,” Geithner said. “We’re not at the point yet where we’re going to make a judgment about what it’s going to take.”