With unemployment remaining above 9 percent, Congress and the president continue to be locked in a stalemate over increasing the debt ceiling so that our country can pay its bills.
Those on the far right are focused on using this crisis as an opportunity to fundamentally remake the role of government. They propose eviscerating vital programs such as Medicare, unemployment insurance, and environmental protection. Last year, the White House laid the groundwork for this attack by agreeing to an extension of the Bush tax cuts, freezing the pay of government workers, calling for a streamlining of regulation, and supporting many painful cuts. With millions of Americans out of work, we cannot afford to see these essential government functions eliminated, and we don’t have to.
An innovative new source of revenue would reconfigure this debate if it received the attention it merits. As Matt Yglesias noted Tuesday, instead of slashing spending and giving polluters license to destroy the environment and endanger public health, we could solve our budget challenge merely by getting polluters to pay for the costs their pollution imposes on society.
A progressive solu... Read more