Wednesday, May 12

Quotable

NY Times columnist David Leonhardt on Talk of the Nation:
...And the main problem isn't the war in Iraq, as expensive as it's been. It's not the stimulus program, as much money as that has caused. It's this long-term disconnect between the fact that, on the one hand, we like Medicare, we like social security, we like having a strong military, and on the other, we don't like paying the taxes to support all those benefits we want...

And there is a long history of societies, as they get richer, deciding that they want more services provided by the government. They want more health care. They want more education. They want more military. They want more of a safety net. And so it's actually quite natural and quite in keeping with history that as a society becomes richer, the share of its revenue that it devotes to government goes up.

Our problem is that we want to have it both ways. We do want to increase the size of our economy that goes to government. We just don't want to increase the size of our economy that goes to paying for that government. And that can't last. We either have to do things like get rid of Medicare in its current form and get tax - and keep taxes low, or we have to increase taxes. My sense is we have to do both. We have to increase taxes and also find ways to reduce the growth of spending in the future...
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