WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones) – Sen. Kent Conrad (D., N.D.) a senior Senate Democrat with influence over tax and budget policy , said Wednesday that Congress should not allow taxes on the wealthy to rise until the economy is on a more sound footing.
Conrad told Dow Jones Newswires in an interview outside the Senate chamber that Democrats should cancel plans to let the top individual income tax rates and capital gains rates rise for the wealthy at the end of this year. He said chronic unemployment and turmoil in European debt markets call those plans into question.
“As a general rule, you don’t want to be cutting spending or raising taxes in the midst of a downturn,” Conrad said.
“At the same time, we know that very soon we’ve got to pivot and focus on the deficit,” he said. “But it probably is too soon to cut spending or raise taxes.”
I appreciate Conrad’s tacit admission that tax hikes on the rich, much like tax hikes on any sector of the economy, are bad news. With that, he’s also admitting that growth in government which increases the tax burden upon all sectors of the economy is bad as well.
Welcome to the conservative movement, Senator Conrad.
But here’s the thing: Conrad says “we’ve got to pivot and focus on the deficit.” But that it’s “too soon to cut spending or raise taxes.”
So, uh, how do we “focus on the deficit” then? There are only two ways to alleviate a deficit in any budget, whether it’s the national budget or your household budget. You either increase revenues or you decrease spending. Or some combination of both. There’s no other way.
Conrad seems to be suggesting that nothing at all be done about the deficit. Except talk about it, apparently.
And this genius is the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.