Monday, February 25, 2008

How Big Will the Democratic Tax Increase Be?

USA Today does the math, and concludes that Barack and Hillary are promising an awful lot of new spending -- given the level of the federal deficit:

As detailed below, both candidates have major new health care initiatives and other spending proposals; Obama tacks on a major tax cut for working Americans to offset Social Security tax payments...

A rollback of Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans could generate perhaps $75 billion next year. The Iraq war savings are much harder to figure. The war has been costing about $100 billion per year. But a Democratic president, once in office, might decide that national security demands a gradual withdrawal, or a redeployment to Afghanistan. Health care for Iraq war veterans will run into the billions for decades. It's unlikely that winding down the war will produce a large, quick peace dividend capable of supporting a host of new programs...

None of this seems to trouble the candidates. Clinton — who also promises to bring back the fiscal responsibility of her husband's administration, when the budget moved into surplus — and Obama present their ideas with a mix of inspirational rhetoric and populist anger.

As Allah would say, Exit Question: how much longer can the Democrats' complain about the increased deficit under President Bush, while simultaneously promising huge spending increases of their own? And can Democrats win an election in which John McCain points out that simple math dictates their tax increases must be much higher than they are willing to admit?

Update: Ed Morrissey has a post worth reading as well.

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