Economist: There’s A ‘Wide Consensus Among Economists’ That America Needs To Raise Taxes To Reduce Deficit

Betsey Stevenson

There is broad economic consensus among economists that the United States will eventually have to raise taxes to pay down the federal debt, economist Betsey Stevenson said in an interview with ThinkProgress. Raising taxes needed to be a part of the equation — along with spending cuts — to pay down the debt if America is going to “provide the goods and services provided by the government that the American public has said they want,” Stevenson said at the Center for American Progress’ conference on the middle class and the economy Wednesday:

STEVENSON: At the end of the day, we need to find a way once we’re out, once the economy’s recovered, we need to find a way to make sure we’re bringing in the revenues necessary to pay for the things that we want. What we often have in the political discussion is people aren’t going to find a way to bring those two things together. So one side might be emphasizing cutting the programs they don’t particularly like, or cutting taxes, but not in a way that’s going to bring those two things together. And you know, I think there’s wide consensus among economists that there is, that we are going to have to do something that involves raising more revenue, not cutting taxes, but in the long run, raising taxes and cutting spending. We’re going to have to do those two things in order to make sure we have a government that brings in the money necessary to provide the goods and services provided by the government that the American public has said they want.

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The “wide consensus among economists” even includes two advisers to the Republican Party’s presidential candidate who supported raising revenues as part of a deficit reduction deal. But while a balanced approach to deficit and debt reduction may be the prescription offered by economists, it isn’t a view widely shared in the GOP. The party continues to oppose higher taxes on the wealthy and has instead proposed slashing tax rates, and during the party’s presidential primary, every candidate said he or she would veto a debt reduction package that contained $10 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases.

A growing number of Republicans is beginning to recognize that revenues should be a part of the equation, however. Breaking with the pledge they made to anti-tax activist Grover Norquist, Republican lawmakers have begun hinting that they support new ways of finding revenue.