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Debate on Deficit Shows Just How Far to the Right America has Gone

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James Kwak laments the ever rightwards shifting debate on economics in America:

The fact that Simpson-Bowles—which uses its mandate of deficit reduction to call for . . . lower tax rates?—has become widely perceived as a centrist starting-point for discussion is clear evidence of how far to the right the inside-the-Beltway discourse has shifted, both over time and relative to the preferences of the population as a whole.

What’s more, the “consensus” of the self-styled “centrists” is what now makes the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 seem positively reasonable. With Simpson-Bowles and Domenici-Rivlin both calling for tax rates below those established in 2001, George W. Bush now looks like a moderate; even many Democrats now endorse the Bush tax cuts for families making up to $250,000 per year, which is still a lot of money (for most people, at least).

Kwak blames the Democrats in part for failing to articulate an argument or plan on "how to deal with our long-term debt problem in a way that preserves government services and social insurance programs and protects the poor and the middle class". This couldn't be more true - the Left has been appalling when it comes to presenting their economic agenda and everyone has suffered as a result. The fact that the stimulus is basically working should be enough for the Left to come out swinging, but what you get is apologetic whimpering whenever a Republican starts to lecture them on economics. It's pretty lame, and the Democrats need to really take control of this issue particularly in an election year when the economy is still in the doldrums.

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