Huntsman, Perry, Bachmann: All of them are taking a bold stand in favor of cognitive dissonance. The main reason Washington couldn’t get a “grand bargain” on the budget and debt ceiling was that Republicans balked at increasing taxes on anyone. How did we get from there to the notion that it would be a good idea to raise taxes on the 60-odd million people who didn’t end up owing the IRS any money last year?
Conservatives have an argument: You can’t, and shouldn’t, balance the budget and pay for entitlements by continually raising taxes on the rich. Doing so, they say, is “class warfare.” At the same time, however, they must contend with persistent support for the welfare state. So conservatives are betting that regular Americans are losing track of how much it costs to give them what they want.