David Brooks nails it

The Democrats are on defense because they are unwilling to ask voters to confront the implications of their choices. Democrats seem to believe that most Americans want to preserve the 20th-century welfare state programs. But they are unwilling to ask voters to pay for them, and they are unwilling to describe the tax increases that would be required to cover their exploding future costs.

…Until they find a way to pay for the programs they support, they will not be serious players in this game. They will have no credible plans and will be in an angry but permanent retreat.

Here is the full column (NYT), worth one of your twenty.  As this is the blogosphere, it’s worth noting that many bloggers, including many of the best ones, will come right out and advocate higher taxes on the middle class.  But the Democrats more generally have painted themselves into a corner on this issue.  People will look back and see the non-expiration of the Bush tax cuts as a turning point.


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