posted on February 26, 2009 10:42
It’s time to round up the usual suspects. Because Washington is headed into the same old battle over raising taxes. But this time the stakes are bigger, the faces are different and the outcome may be surprising.
Since Ronald Reagan, the Republican formula has been a simple one. As Mary Matalin put it on MSNBC this morning: “We believe you, not government, should keep more of your money.”
President Obama is showing us what he meant by “the audacity of hope.” He has jumped – deliberately and calculatedly – into the Republican briar patch. He has proposed raising taxes on everybody making more than $250,000 to pay for his ambitious plans to fix health care, reform education and reduce the budget.
In the past, Democrats have stepped into this fight gingerly and apologetically. Obama’s approach is bolder and franker. He says, yes, I am raising taxes. But only for the top incomes. I’m cutting taxes for everybody else. And I’m putting the money to good use.
It is a remarkable political gamble.
If Obama pulls it off, he will pull ascend to the level of Reagan and maybe even FDR as a political revolutionary. If he fails, the Democratic Party will soon find itself as dispirited as Republicans today.
Ultimately, the American people will judge Obama by whether the recession lifts. So Obama is making a big bet not just on his program working, but on the resilience of both the American economy and the world economy.
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