People at the top of the economic ladder will be paying what they owe. No more tax cuts. In a nutshell:
That change in the tax structure alone will provide money required to improve the health care. Competitive bidding will pull down government costs in Medicare Advantage plans. The administration will also go after pharmaceuticals and health care providers, increasing a squeeze on the latter and raising the discount rate on the former by about 7%.
Then there's cap-and-trade.
The budget will show the government beginning by 2012 to collect billions of dollars in revenues from selling permits to businesses that emit the polluting gases, assuming the president’s energy initiative becomes law as soon as this year, officials said.
Because utilities and other businesses would presumably pass on their costs to customers, Mr. Obama will propose to use most of the government’s revenues from the permits to finance an extension of the new “Making Work Pay” tax credit beyond the two years covered in the $787 billion economic recovery plan that was just enacted.
That tax relief, the administration will argue, will offset households’ higher costs for utilities and other products and services from businesses’ passing on their permit expenses.
In other words reparations are in the works, though 2012 seems a little far away. The Republicans are prepared to to put up a fight, joined by at least some blue dog Democrats. John Boehner, in a burst of originality, told the New York Times: "“Cap-and-trade is code for increasing taxes and killing American jobs, and that’s the last thing we need to do during these troubled economic times.” Code. Uh-huh.
Remember who and what we're dealing with. George Packer, in a curious piece about David Brooks as effective critic of Obama, gets this right:
Neither Boehner nor any other Republican I can think of off-hand has absorbed those very potent facts.