Returning the federal budget to sustainability over the next decade will require a combination of cuts in discretionary spending programs, reforms in entitlement programs and increases in tax revenues. Many elected officials and interest group leaders believe that solidifying the nation’s finances can be accomplished with changes in only one or two of these areas. Democrats want to cut military spending and raise taxes on the wealthy, while Republicans want to cut domestic programs and reduce Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits.
With the limited exception of those of us lucky enough to live in Vermont, this is a lousy time to be a liberal. And it’s not going to get any better.
After years of battling Republican Gov. Jim Douglas, Democrats and Progressives in the Legislature have the luxury of working with new Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin. While Shumlin has put the kibosh on increasing taxes for the super-rich — he knows that would be political poison in his first term — he has otherwise set a remarkably progressive tone.