Saturday, May 21, 2011


I keep telling you that I'm not going to give up on the Democrats for the simple reason that, no matter how much they moveto the right, the Republicans are heading even further rightward at an even faster pace. From Politico, here's more evidence of that:

In this Republican primary season, no economic or monetary policy is too unorthodox for an electorate hungry for change.

The Republican field is filled with potential candidates who have called for radical overhauls of the tax code, the abolition of the IRS, an end to the Federal Reserve central bank -- and even a return to the gold standard....

Flirtation with deeply unorthodox economic policy ... has increasingly bled into the mainstream. Only former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney represents the old-fashioned pro-business Republicanism of previous decades.

In one particularly striking recent moment, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty railed against "fiat currency" in a recent appearance on Fox -- a signal to a narrow constituency of voters who believe that America's woes began when it abandoned the gold standard in the 1930s. He also has gone on the record supporting a flat tax -- a single-rate income tax that would eliminate the bracket system....

Newt Gingrich has proposed an optional flat tax of 15 percent. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels called for a value-added national sales tax paired with a flat tax. (Jon Huntsman passed a flat tax as governor of Utah, but hasn't articulated a national platform.)...

Creepiest part of that? Pawlenty's "fiat currency" dog whistle to the Paulbots. Hey, George Will and David Brooks: tell me again about how Pawlenty is one of the "serious" candidates who are going to help lead us out of the "silly season."

And Huntsman? Well, considering the fact that he's decided to make his wingnut bones by offering an unqualified endorsement of the Ryan budget and Medicare voucherization, you can bet he'll sign on to something extreme soon.

The Bush administration never tried to eliminate progressive taxation outright. John McCain never proposed doing so. This is way to the right of where the national GOP has been until recently.

Do you think it's impossible for a Republican to beat Obama in 2012? If unemployment is still over 8.5%, gas is still at or around $4 a gallon, or both, I say Obama is very beatable. And we're likely to have an GOP majorities in both houses of Congress. So this stuff really could happen a couple of years from now.

At least a flat tax could. (Anything that transfers wealth from the middle class to the rich is quite possible.) As for the other stuff -- the gold standard, abolition of the Fed -- it's not what the fat cats want, so none of it will be a priority for the next Republican president.

But a push to completely eliminate tax progressivity? That's coming. We've been warned.

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