In 1984, facing what seemed to him and others like massive federal deficits as far as the eye could see, Walter Mondale declared it a patent necessity that federal taxes be raised. He went on to lose the election in 49 of the 50 states, carrying only Minnesota, his home state.
Later, running for the Senate, he lost in Minnesota, making him the only person in US history to lose statewide elections in all fifty states.
Today he writes in the WaPo that tax increases are again a necessity. And he says that the political risk is for those who don't raise taxes, because Americans want taxes raised.
We figure he's an expert in what works politically, given his record.
Ah, but he says the record favors his view. Really?
Mondale says that the record of American presidents shows that tax increases are necessary to balance the budget. Hmm. We recall that a certain Calvin Coolidge managed both to cut taxes and balance the budget.
Mondale complains that tax revenues are at their lowest percentage of GDP in 40 years. True enough. He says that tax rates are the lowest in decades. We think that's a falsehood, as they aren't as low as they were before Clinton raised them, the Bush cuts notwithstanding.
Still, let's ask about cause an effect. Are tax revenues low as a share of GDP because of low rates or because of low economic activity? The history of tax revenues in the industrial era is a history of rising revenues when the economy is strong and sinking revenues when it's weak. It's also a history of permanent cuts in tax rates stimulating economic activity in ways that raise tax revenues.
Mondale wisely does not say that higher rates on the wealthy will generate the money to bring the federal fisc into balance. He does say that it's necessary for fairness when many people are suffering. Apparently the tax code exists to make everyone miserable.
In the end, we couldn't bring ourselves to finish Mondale's whiny, self-important, factually challenged article. Which is most certainly why Mr. Mondale is the losingest politician in the history of the world.