There are two things Democrats in Washington need to sort out. They should have sort them out 20 years ago, but the waters seem to get muddier as time goes on. These are the two things that would have made the debt ceiling negotiations smoother because the Republicans would have known who they were talking too. Say what you will about the Republicans at least you know exactly where they stand. Here are the things they need to figure out.
1. Social security, student aid, environmental protection, cops, firefighters, teachers, parks, etc. All the things government provides are vital or they are not. If we need meat inspections, it doesn’t matter what the bank account looks like, we still need them, so just say we need this so we have to raise taxes to pay for this absolutely vital service. If you do not think these services are vital enough to raise taxes on people making a billion dollars a year or postponing our invasion of Lichtenstein you are not a Democrat.
2. Tax Cuts work or they don’t. This used to be a pretty clear one. In the 1980’s Democrats opposed tax cuts, but then the DLC showed up. The Ivy League educated staffers in the clinton years (see tim geithner) wanted to cut taxes, but they did not really trust non ivy leaguerers to make decisions. So they came up with tax credits, a tax cut if you do limousine liberal approved activities. Investigation after investigation has shown that millions of people take tax credits they aren’t qualified for. So the net effect is that of a tax cut for liars. The other point is that $100 million in tax cuts or tax credits should in macroeconomic term have the same net effect. So if tax cuts don’t work then tax credits don’t work. The same arguement goes for defending middle class tax cuts, but attacking tax cuts for the wealthy. In theory middle class people will spend the money they get from tax cuts while the wealthy will hoard their tax cuts, but the reality is that middle class tax cuts are paid for by cutting services to the middle class costing them more then their tax cut. The net effect of this is not stimulative. Either you understand that tax cuts don’t work at all or you are not a Democrat.
The Democrats in Washington need to figure out how they feel about these issues so the Republicans know who they are negotiating with, and so the voters know who they are voting for.