Economically, the Tea Party argument is feeble. Countries' debts are not like individual households; they can be serviced over generations. In the aftermath of a credit crunch, a country that tries simultaneously to cut public and private debt will suffer prolonged economic stagnation or depression. The cost in lost opportunity, broken lives and bust businesses is too high to slash public debt; indeed, the right action may be to increase it.
Nor is tax in essence different from any other fee: it is the cost of services rendered, and some services such as defence, security, healthcare and investment in innovative technology are best rendered by society as a whole. Hence taxation.
All the US's great advances – in the internet, computers, aerospace, space, the internal combustion engine, drugs, optics – have had the federal government as their sponsor. A well-designed social security system offers people security while not removing their incentive to work; well-judged federal spending on innovation boosts the economy; a banking system needs federal deposit insurance and a central bank as a lender of last resort when banks are distressed.
But in the land inhabited by Michele Bachmann, these propositions are false; they undermine US self-reliance and individualism and obstruct America's road back to greatness. ...editorial, Observer (UK)
"Lexington" at The Economist writes, "At least the Republicans have done something? Gimme a break."!
... The Republican House has come up with ... a non-solution (since the Senate cannot buy it) to a problem entirely of the Republicans' own making. The reason for this crisis is that instead of just raising the debt ceiling in the customary way so that the government can pay the bills Congress has already run up, the Republicans decided to point a pistol at the American economy and threaten to pull the trigger if they did not get the spending cuts they wanted.Sure, America needs to tackle its burgeoning entitlement programmes. But not now, when cutting spending will make an insipid recovery worse, and more especially not like this, hijacking a routine procedure and using it to bring the country to the edge of downgrading or default.