If you watch the “fiscal cliff” debate play out across the mainstream media landscape, you would think that taxing the rich is the solution to all our deficit problems. Though we’re going to rack up somewhere around $10 trillion in new debt over the next ten years, Obama and the media have framed the debate in a way that makes it seem as though a tax increase on the rich, which might bring in $85 billion over the next decade, is some sort of magic bullet.
Obama and the media are also determined to have us believe our unsustainable debt was caused by taxes that are too low, not Obama’s spending of the drunken sailor kind that is both selfish and and dangerously irresponsible.
One of Obama’s favorite talking points is about how things were so much better during the Clinton years because marginal rates on the wealthy were higher then. The media of course loves to parrot this.
Courtesy of columnist George Will, here are some Clinton-era numbers the media’s making sure never become part of this debate:
At the end of the Clinton administration, when the budget was balanced (largely by revenue generated by commercialization of the Internet), annual federal spending was $1.94 trillion and revenue was $2.10 trillion. ‘Adjusting for inflation and population growth since the start of 2001,’ Dorfman writes, ‘today’s equivalents would be $2.77 trillion and $3.00 trillion,’ and a $230 billion surplus.
What is to blame for today’s huge imbalance? The George W. Bush tax cuts? The recession? Obama’s spending? Dorfman answers yes, yes and yes — but that ‘spending is the main culprit’ because: Today federal revenue is $2.67 trillion (slightly less than ‘the Clinton equivalent’) and spending is $3.76 trillion, so we are spending $987 billion more than we would be if we had just increased Bill Clinton’s last budget for inflation and population growth.
Obama and the media have no intention of fighting for deficit reduction through spending cuts. The con is on to bamboozle the public into believing that a Republican cave on tax increases is just the ticket. Once the public is fooled into believing the defict is solved, Democrats can keep right on keeping on.
The more the government spends, the more people become government-dependent and vote Democrat to keep the fix coming.
This story is part of the Big Journalism Live Blog, which you can bookmark here.