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So this is the first of what I expect to be several posts regarding sequestration, the automatic budget cuts that will take effect next Friday unless Congress and the President take action to avert them.  Many say that the budget cuts will hurt the economy, and most agree that some important services will be cut if the sequestration goes through.  Others say that these budget cuts are a necessary to reduce the size of the federal government.  If sequestration goes through, who is to blame?  Or is sequestration a good thing?

Is it ever appropriate to break a pledge?

Grover Norquist is back in the news, as some Republicans have indicated that they are prepared to break their pledge never to raise taxes.  Is it ever appropriate to break a pledge?



The Fiscal Cliff

This is a great explanation of the so-called “fiscal cliff,” courtesy of The Wall Street Journal.  (The film was produced in late October, so you can ignore the talk about what would happen in Romney wins.  He didn’t.)  It really is an explanation of the components of the federal budget, in a good amount of detail.  Don’t worry TOO much about the details – we’ll spend more time on those in March.  But watch the video, and come up with a solution.


Are tax increases inevitable? Are tax decreases possible?

We have spent a lot of time this week discussing the role of government — what services the government provides, and which services it should provide.  But we haven’t yet discussed taxation, which of course  is intertwined with the debate over the role of government, since taxes fund whatever services the government provides.

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, is the leader of the anti-tax increase movement in the US, and in this capacity he has led many members of Congress (as well as Governor Romney and Rep. Ryan)  to sign a pledge not to increase taxes — ever.  He has been criticized by some, even from within his own Republican party, for being unwilling to compromise on the tax issue.  The following profile of Norquist, which was aired on 60 Minutes two weeks ago, provides you with some background on Norquist and his views on taxation.  Then, I’ve added an interview of Norquist by the Wall Street Journal conducted on August 28th.  Are higher taxes inevitable? Are lower taxes possible?