Obama’s former chief economist Larry Summers thinks that one way to break America’s fall off the over-reported fiscal cliff is to raise taxes to the level they were under Clinton’s administration. Echoing Paul Krugman’s 90% tax rate nostalgia and pointing out that it was conservative icon Ronald Reagan who cut taxes to 50%, he said, “It’s hard to believe that raising the top tax rate to 39.6 percent — where it was under President Clinton — will do grievous damage to the economy.” Of course, Reagan also cut the top tax rate to 28% in his second term, but that’s beside the point.
Raising already existing taxes is only one way to cushion our fall. Summers, a professor at Obama’s alma mater, is certain that soon we’ll have taxes on carbon, energy and junk food. In fact, he was surprised that Americans didn’t yet have a tax on carbon and energy, considering that carbon and energy usage is directly related to the solar cycles that affect global temperatures. Or so liberals think. Taxing such usage will surely convince the sun to alter its behavior so that the average global temperature will go down a couple degrees and stop all the hurricanes from ruining everybody’s lives. And if taxing doesn’t work, just tax more.
As for the junk food tax, Summers cited evidence that tobacco taxes directly correlated to decreases in tobacco-related deaths. He said that 700,000 fewer deaths per year were reported as a result of tobacco tax increases. Based on those data, he extrapolated that the same would happen if we taxed certain junk foods. Since diabetes and obesity are linked to eating sugary and/or fatty snacks, he reasoned, maybe a tax on those items would discourage people from buying them, thereby decreasing the number of people affected by nutrition deficiency diseases.
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