Not Insane (New Yorker Commentary)
In his New Yorker commentary for the March 23, 2009 edition (but available in advance online) Hendrick Hertzberg notes the number of conservative commentators who are suggesting what might seem like a liberal idea -- a payroll tax "holiday" to give working people more money. Hertzberg lays out the argument for making this idea not temporary but permanent by substituting taxes on things we don't want-- "things like pollution, carbon emissions, oil imports, inefficient use of energy and natural resources, and excessive consumption." At the end of his article he notes, "Impossible? A politically heterogeneous little group . . . Get America Working! has been quietly pushing this combination for twenty years. In one form or another, without much fanfare, it has earned the backing of such diverse characters as Al Gore and T. Boone Pickens, the liberal economist James Galbraith and the conservative economist Irwin Stelzer, Republican heavies like C. Boyden Gray and Democratic heavies like Robert Reich. It’s ambitious, it jumbles ideological and partisan preconceptions, and it represents the kind of change that great crises open political space for."