Nordic countries

Today is tax day. I was all set to write something about the importance of taxes and why, in the long run, most Americans need to pay more of them. Then I remembered I'd written that before—on last year's tax day. So here's what I wrote then. It seems no less relevant today. The only difference is that House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan has modified his Medicare proposal. But his overall scheme for the budget hasn't changed much.  Happy Tax Day. And I mean that sincerely. I don’t like parting with my money any more than you do. But I like what my tax dollars buy. Public schools.

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Raise My Taxes

Happy Tax Day. And I mean that sincerely. I don’t like parting with my money any more than you do. But I like what my tax dollars buy. Public schools. Safe food and consumer products. National security. The post office. Guaranteed income and health insurance for my aging parents, plus (soon) a guarantee of health insurance for my immediate family. I benefit directly from all of these programs. And I benefit indirectly from the stability they provide. Capitalism and democracy could not survive without a vibrant, activist government.

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Ezra Klein has been doing some great blogging from the Aspen Ideas Festival, which is indeed full of ideas--some good, some not so good. Into the latter category I would put some remarks by former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, as relayed by Ezra today: Coming to the issue of taxes, this gets to the more fundamental issue of the effects of taxation and spending cuts. There are several studies out there evaluating past efforts at fiscal restraint that show the heavy weight of successful contraction has been on the spending side.

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