Nov 12, 2010

What Do You Care About More? Your Tax Deduction, or Your Country’s Future?

Cross posted at Rise of the Center

David Brooks, fairly moderate conservative columnist at the New York Times, puts the issue of our nation’s debt situation into crystal clear context in the following clip:

It will take a revived patriotism to get people to look beyond their short-term financial interest to see the long-term national threat. Do you really love your tax deduction more than America’s future greatness?

This is really what it comes down to, and applies to every segment of the population. The President’s Fiscal Commission’s recommendations requires sacrifice from all but the lower income brackets… and that is how it should be. We all enabled the selfish over spending and under taxing that led to the mess we are in right now, and we all should bear some of the weight of beginning to fix it.

This is not something that either side of the political spectrum has been honest enough to say for a generation or so. Both parties have only tried to one up themselves in selling out our future prosperity, the GOP mainly through cutting taxes without cutting enough spending and the democrats mostly through spending far more than they are willing to raise taxes to pay for. Like I’ve said elsewhere though, those of us who do see this are just as much to blame as we have enabled them to do this by supporting their parties, not abandoning them and organizing an effective opposition or forming factions inside the parties that force the issue.

What we need is to take on the spirit that John F. Kennedy asked us to take on…

Like the civil rights movement, this movement will ask Americans to live up to their best selves. But it will do other things besides.

It will have to restore the social norms that prevailed through much of American history: when narcissism and hyperpartisanship was mitigated by loyalties larger than tribe and self; when competition between the parties was limited and constructive, not total and fratricidal.

This movement will have to build institutions to support the leaders who make the hard bargains. As in the civil rights era, politicians won’t make big changes unless they are impelled and protected by a social upsurge.

Both parties have made themselves abundently clear, over the last generation, that they are more than willing to sell our financial security down the river to win another election by making promises they can’t pay for and rewarding their political allies with mountain ranges of borrowed money. If this issue is to be resolved, it is up to us.

We need to be the movement that values common sense, long term stability over selfish, short term gain.

Read the rest of Brooks’ column at the New York Times >>

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your title sums up the real question facing Americans right now! Good choice of words. I think everyone will have to understand that politicians are responsible for our current economic mess & maybe they should be the ones to get their taxes raised.