The final paragraph of a "political memo" column in today's New York Times is this:
Peter R. Orszag, who was Mr. Obama's first budget director, said, "By making the middle-class tax cuts permanent, we've unfortunately locked into a revenue base that is inadequate."
The Times doesn't say it, but Mr. Orszag's current job is vice chairman of corporate and investment banking and chairman of the financial strategy and solutions group at Citigroup. As a Citibank customer, I find it infuriating that a bank official considers it "unfortunate" that taxes aren't increasing even more than they already did, and I disagree with his analysis that the "revenue base is inadequate."
As Michael Barone puts it in his latest column, "Republicans argue that revenues are approaching the norm of 19 percent of gross domestic product and that spending needs to come down more from its historic high of 25 percent of GDP." Another way of looking at it is that, as I wrote the other day, "the problem isn't on the revenue side. It is on the spending side; the federal government spent $3.6 trillion in 2011, about $1.8 trillion more than the roughly $1.8 trillion it spent in 2000. In other words, federal spending doubled in about a decade. Tax revenue grew more than 10%, but that wasn't enough to keep pace with the spending."
The headline on the Times "political memo" is "Obama Seeks to Bridge Partisan Divide in Search of a Budget Deal," but it could have been headlined "Official of Highly Regulated Bank Alienates Customers, Ingratiates Self With Obama Administration By Backing Call for Even Higher Taxes."