Opinion

Examiner editorial: Liberals' budget would raise taxes to an all-time high

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If you want to know why House Democrats lost 63 seats in the 2010 elections -- the largest political defeat since 1938 -- look no further than the budget put forward this week by the 83-member Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Perhaps unsatisfied with the title they used last year -- "The People's Budget" -- the CPC calls this one the "Budget for All." It raises taxes to levels never seen before -- not even during World War II -- guts defense spending and splurges on a number of liberal priorities.

Reps. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., and Keith Ellison, D-Minn., released the document Tuesday, indicating that they composed it after "listening to the American people and reflecting their values." They should have listened a bit harder. At a time when Americans tell Gallup they think the federal government wastes 51 cents of every dollar it spends, the CPC budget puts that spending on steroids.

Government spending would rise from $3.6 trillion a year now to $5.7 trillion a year in 2022. That is only slightly more than President Obama's budget. But where Obama's budget adds $6.4 trillion to the debt by 2022, the CPC budget adds only $3 trillion. That's because the liberal lawmakers pay for all that new spending with massive tax hikes.

Yes, that is "tax hikes," plural. There are at least 19 separate tax hikes in the "Budget for All," including a $849 billion financial transaction tax and a $897 billion carbon tax. It also creates five new and additional upper-income tax brackets, with a top marginal rate of 49 percent.

Over 10 years, the "Budget for All" removes $4.7 trillion more from the U.S. economy than President Obama's budget, and $6.7 trillion more than the plan drafted by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis. By 2022, the Progressive Caucus would have the federal government confiscate more than 22.5 percent of America's gross domestic product in taxes every year. Not only is this almost 5 points higher than the pos/world/ War II average (18 percent of GDP), it is also higher than the all-time high tax burden of 1944 (20.9 percent).

That's not to say this liberal budget is all tax hikes and spending increases. It does cut defense spending by $2 trillion over the next 10 years -- far beyond the August budget deal's defense cuts. It spends away these savings on a laundry list of left-wing priorities, including a public option for health insurance, amnesty for illegal immigrants and greater government regulation of fast-food marketing.

This January, 69 percent of Americans told Gallup they were unsatisfied with the size and power of the federal government. The "Budget for All" meets these concerns by increasing government control over every American's life through both higher taxes and more spending.

If they are smart, Republicans will seize on the "Budget for All," highlight its contents, and force Democrats in both chambers of Congress either to embrace or reject it.

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