Bernie Sanders: I want to raise your taxes

As presidential campaign slogans go, the one coming from Bernie Sanders is certainly outside the box. After the outrage over Nancy Pelosi’s comments about “crumbs” and accusations from various Democrats about how The Rich were about to inherit the Earth, most of the debate over last year’s tax cuts seemed to have died down. People were bringing home more money, with many getting pay raises and bonuses on top of that. Consumer confidence continues to rise. So this is pretty much a done deal, right?

Not at all. Senator Sanders (I-Vermont) was back this week, beating the drum and reminding people that the tax cuts need to be repealed. And if he does wind up making another run for the White House one might assume he means that he’s just the guy to jack your taxes back up. (Washington Examiner)

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., called Monday for the Republican tax law to be repealed after the Congressional Budget Office projected that the deficit will hit $1 trillion in 2020.

The CBO projected that the budget deficit will rise to $804 billion for 2018 before hitting the $1 trillion mark in 2020 — two years earlier than anticipated. The national debt is also expected to hit $33 trillion in ten years after it hit the $21 trillion mark last month. Democrats are laying blame at the acceleration of the deficit and debt with the tax law that was passed in December.

“Over and over again, President Trump and his administration falsely claimed that their $1.5 trillion tax cut bill would pay for itself,” Sanders said in a statement. “Today’s Congressional Budget Office report puts that myth to rest.”

This was always going to be the tough part for Democrats. While changes to the tax code are being debated, both sides can make their case and the public doesn’t pay all that much attention. But once the tax rate goes down and the voters get used to having a bit more money in their pocket, who want’s to be the guy (or gal) who hangs the bell on the cat? Somebody has to step up and say, Yes. I want you to vote for me because I promise to raise your taxes and have the government keep more of your money. Good luck selling that one.

Here’s the crazy part. Sanders is actually correct, at least partially. I’ve written about that here before. The implementation of the tax cuts was alarming for any fiscal conservative who was being honest about it. Tax cuts are great as a matter of political faith. Less money in the government’s coffers means you have a smaller, leaner government that does less and a more robust free market in the private sector. But if you pass tax cuts like this and fail to cut spending commensurately (or, in this case, actually increase spending drastically) then you’ve got the formula for a disaster.

That’s what happened in Kansas with Sam Brownback’s tax cuts. He trimmed state government revenue to the bone but wasn’t able to get the spending under control. Because of that, support for his plan collapsed and some of the cuts had to be repealed. We’re setting ourselves up for the same thing on a national level right now. If a candidate wants to come along and offer a fix for this problem, they should be saying, “Vote for me. I’ll cut Washington’s spending.”

Unfortunately for Bernie Sanders, the politician who winds up being the one to bring that message to the public doesn’t tend to be viewed very favorably. “Vote for Bernie. He’ll raise your taxes” fits nicely on a bumper sticker. Sadly, it will also probably result in eggs being thrown at your car.