The GOP leadership is absolutely correct in their obstinacy. While ultimately some short-run tax increases may be necessary to pay-off the monumental heap of debt this country has imprudently managed to accumulate, the Democrats seemingly do not understand the need to spend less than the federal government takes in. Until the Democrats show an understanding of what taxes are for - namely to pay for the essential services required by this country - no tax increases should be considered.
Mona Charen highlights the backwards thinking of the left in an editorial at NRO.
It is becoming a verbal tic — the tendency on the part of the president to tell wealthy Americans (“people like me,” he’s always careful to add) that they have made more than enough money and will have to cough up more of it for the government. Speaking for himself on July 11, the president offered that he had “hundreds of thousands of dollars that I don’t need.”
The president is of course welcome to donate as much of his extra money as he likes to the federal treasury. He knows Timothy Geithner personally and can probably get a guarantee that his check will be cashed without delay. And since the president is so ready to impute unpleasant motives (like greed) to those who oppose tax increases, perhaps we should impute some sort of moral failing to him for not having thus far contributed his spare change to the government.The government should never be in a position to determine who has "enough" and thus claim a moral right to take "excess" from an individual. The government's place is to provide a set of essential services - military, police force, infrastructure, and arguably some minimal safety net (to minimize social disruption). The need for taxes should be based not on some arbitrary definition of "enough" but on the predetermined needs of the state to properly function.
The Democrats' reliance on the notions that the government can take because people have to much and that the government should provide because people want, shows a flagrant disregard for the purpose of government and taxes. Tax reform may be necessary (loopholes should be closed), but it cannot succeed (and shouldn't be part of a "grand bargain") until this country's approach to spending and taxes is reevaluated.