We've been tracking the increased openness on the center-right to new or increased federal taxes: David Brooks, Glenn Hubbard, Karl Rove, Tyler Cowen, Greg Mankiw. The latest example comes in the new Spring issue of National Affairs, which bills itself as the successor to Irving Kristol's Public Interest. There, Donald Marron, who served on President George W. Bush's Council of Economic Advisers (as did Professor Hubbard and Professor Mankiw), writes: "No one solution — not economic growth, not tax increases, and not spending reductions — can get us to our goal. To put ourselves on a sustainable fiscal trajectory, we will need to use all the measures at our disposal." Or, to be more blunt: "some tax increases will almost certainly be required."
He goes on:
policymakers should keep all of their options open. To put the budget on sound footing, they will need to combine proposals to cut spending, increase revenues, and, where possible, boost growth. And as they begin to discuss policies for achieving each of these goals, it is important that policymakers not constrain themselves unnecessarily by ruling out some of the more politically difficult fixes. If lawmakers choose to increase taxes, they should not imagine they can shield the middle class from the effects of those increases.
More: "policymakers should not always assume that a larger government will necessarily translate into weaker economic performance."
I think the government is quite big enough already and that we're already taxed quite enough, thank you. But regardless of what I think, the fact that three members of the Bush Council of Economic Advisers plus Karl Rove are all signaling openness to federal tax increases is newsworthy, and if Tom Herman and David Cay Johnston hadn't both retired (See "The Tax News Vacuum"), you might have read about it already somewhere other than here. At least Paul Caron, the indefatigable "Tax Prof" blogger, is on the case; he links to an Al Hunt column in Bloomberg reporting on yet another former Bush administration official, Michael Graetz, who served in the George H.W. Bush Treasury department, who wants to add a consumption tax to the income tax.