The White House can try and walk back from the comments yesterday by Geithner and Summers, but don’t buy it. Pretty much — like 99.9 percent — of center-left economists think Americans don’t pay enough in taxes to support the modestly-large welfare state/military superpower that they seem to prefer. And by not enough, I mean $500 billion to $1 trillion a year too little.
There is no reason to believe Summers, Orszag, Goolsbee, Bernstein and even Obama don’t also believe that. The only question is what will be the taxing mechanism. All the wonks love a value-added tax. It is efficient and somewhat below the radar. That second thing is important since Team Obama is certainly smart enough not to buy into the theory that Americans are ready to pay vastly higher taxes. There is nothing in recent polls or election results to imply that. Just ask the folks in California ….