Can Democrats finally make the case that taxes are necessary?
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It's become a tired trope of American politics: Voters want a robust scheme of governmental programs, but can't fathom any increase in their tax rates. The latter half of this equation has become the operating dogma of the Republican Party, both in terms of campaigns and policy: With the Ryan budget slashing tax rates while leaving cuts to spending conveniently nebulous, to be determined at some future point. The GOP’s approach has worked depressingly well, partly because Democrats have failed to make a strong case that the popular things government does do have a pricetag. A poll on a potential tax increase in California unfortunately helps reinforce the impression that voters don’t want reality when it comes to taxes and spending. Governor Jerry Brown has proposed raising income tax rates on the Californians earning over $250,000 a year to shore up funding for public schools. The Public Policy Institute of California found 54 percent favoring such a measure, which will be on the ballot this November. But turn that around and suggest a broad based increase to the state's sales tax and a majority are in opposition; 52 percent oppose the second half on the initiative which would increase bump the sales tax up a quarter of one cent for five years.

California is a test case, as Abby Rapoport wrote last month; Brown is part of a select group of Democratic governors, including Maryland’s Martin O’Malley, testing the waters to see if increasing taxes might play as the public has increasingly focused on inequality. If Brown wins the argument in California, and Democrats successfully make the case that Ryan’s budget would take away the goodies people like, conventional wisdom could change. Just maybe.


"I promise you, the president has a big stick. I promise you."

Vice President Joe Biden during a campaign speech on foreign policy in New York this morning




  • GQ gathers journalists' reflections on why they'll miss Newt.
  • Jason Zengerle profiles Eric Fehrnstrom, the “dark knight” behind Romney.
  • HuffPo and Larry Sabato offer early projections for the Electoral College that look pretty good for Obama.
  • Molly Ball jumps into her Delorean to understand the 2012 election.
  • Adam Serwer doesn't think Marco Rubio's Dream Act hurts Obama…
  • …and Boehner says it won't pass the House anyway.
  • Politico is already previewing the Dems' 2016 field.
  • An Iowa Republican wants to ditch the Ames straw poll.
  • Spencer Ackerman offers the ultimate takedown of Beltway culture.

A survey from Pew released Thursday found that a plurality of the country supports legalizing marriage rights for same-sex couples. Those in favor now stand at 47 percent, an 8 percent jump from 2008. On the other side, 43 percent still oppose marriage equality.


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