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April 2, 2009
By Peter Roff, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
Former Sen. Russell Long, the Louisiana Democrat who for years headed the powerful Senate Finance Committee, used to say that the strategy for increasing federal revenues was grounded in a time-honored D.C. maxim: "Don't tax you. Don't tax me. Tax that fella' behind the tree."
In essence, what Long was talking about was finding ways to tax "someone else," ideally someone who was not in a position to complain about it much or, even better, exact retribution in the voting booth.
As long as "that fella' behind the tree" had money, it worked as a strategy. Unfortunately for a lot of people, it doesn't work anymore. And it can't, because federal borrowing and spending are, as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product, rising too high.