The real budget solution, says EJ Dionne, is to let all the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of 2012. He pays generous tribute to Jonathan Chait of The New Republic, who was first to suggest this clever plan to save the economy. As Dionne says,
Nothing is more annoying to a columnist than another columnist who gets to an idea you had planned to write about before you do. And with that, I salute The New Republic’s Jonathan Chait for his excellent column in the current issue of the magazine…
[T]he Clinton tax rates should provide the baseline for all discussions of the debt and the deficit. And even though Jonathan got to this issue before I did, that won’t stop me from coming back to it, because this is where the deficit debate needs to start. The real test of a deficit hawk’s credentials should be: Are you willing to let the Bush tax cuts expire or not?
Can he really think that Chait is the first to come up with this? For a start, it‘s the letter of current policy. Here’s a new idea: call me crazy, but let’s do what we’re already doing. Unfair, you might say: up to now, nobody has actually advocated leaving current law in place. Not so. The idea of reversing all the Bush tax cuts after a temporary extension has been in the air for ages.