Everyone knows that Republicans and Tea Partiers have no political will to raise taxes, and now it seems that Obama is willing to box himself into the same sort of expectations. It’s not just that he caved in to the demands of the rabid right to extend the Bush Tax Cuts to the richest in our nation, his speech likened raising taxes on the middle class to shooting hostages. Apparently keeping taxes at the level where the Republicans like them is now a matter of life or death.
Such an environment will make it very interesting to watch politicians pretend to grapple with the budget deficit. If tax hikes are off the table, then what’s left? Well, I would encourage you to take a look at a nifty calculator/puzzle courtesy the New York Times. Try your hand at balancing the budget for yourself. See how far you can get without raising taxes. According to this puzzle, it is possible to do it without raising taxes, but I invite you to see for yourself what sort of cuts would be required.