People, I don't believe that we receive the privilege of being Americans from our government. I believe that government officials receive the privilege of their jobs from us Americans. Nor am I a big fan of Tim Geithner and his curious inability to practice what he preaches.
However, Lawrence Lindsey really pulled a fast one on Geithner in the WSJ editorial page today.
Here's Lindsey's version of what Geithner said:
Last week Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said that the "most fortunate Americans" should pay more in taxes for the "privilege of being an American."
Here's what Geithner actually said:
"That’s the kind of balance you need," said Geithner. "Why is that the case? Because if you don't try to generate more revenues through tax reform, if you don't ask, you know, the most fortunate Americans to bear a slightly larger burden of the privilege of being an American, then you have to -- the only way to achieve fiscal sustainability is through unacceptably deep cuts in benefits for middle class seniors, or unacceptably deep cuts in national security."
Umm, that's not all that close.
"Slightly larger burden of the privilege OF being an American" does NOT equate to Lindsay's paraphrase of "should pay more in taxes FOR the privilege of being an American.
I disagree with Geithner. But Lindsey's column is a hatchet job.
I actually like how Tim apparently inadvertently lays out a preferable alternative. Why are "middle class seniors" a protected benefit class? Why is the military a protected benefit class?
If we can attain fiscal sustainability by deep cuts to middle class seniors' benefits and the military, then let's do it!
Here's the video:
This post was updated to correct a spelling error.