Two veterans of the Obama White House acknowledged that tax increases won’t resolve the nation’s fiscal crisis, but explained that the hikes provide political cover enabling Democrats to vote for entitlement reform.
David Axelrod, Obama’s top campaign strategist in 2008 and 2012, acknowledged that tax increases can’t stabilize the entitlement programs.
“No one is saying that,” Axelrod argued during a Friday appearance on Morning Joe. “What we’re saying is that if you’re going to ask Democrats to vote for entitlement reform, then that you have to at the same time have revenue increases on the other side of the equation in order to move forward.”
Former White House domestic policy advisor Melody Barnes concurred. “You’ve got to link arms and jump ship together,” she said.
In other words, Democrats know that entitlement spending needs to be cut, but they also know that the reforms might anger their political base. So, they’re unwilling to cut spending unless Republicans agree to tax increases which have the political significance of angering the conservative base.