Walter Mondale: We Must Raise Taxes

It's a politically risky but necessary for the country, says former VP
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 16, 2011 10:53 AM CDT
In this July 19, 1984, file photo, Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro wave to supporters at the Democratic convention.   (AP Photo/File)

(Newser) – Walter Mondale returns to a familiar theme in a Washington Post op-ed: "We will not be able to control our budget deficits without raising taxes," he declares in the first sentence. As Mondale himself acknowedges, he's become the poster boy for why candidates should never bring up the notion of tax increases ever since he uttered these words at the 1984 Democratic convention: "Taxes will go up. ... It must be done. Mr. Reagan will raise taxes, and so will I. He won’t tell you. I just did.” The election didn't turn out so well for him.

But Mondale maintains he "won the debate" anyhow. "Reagan ended up increasing taxes in 1984, 1985, 1986 and 1987 to mend the budget and tax systems." We need similar mending today, and Obama is on the right track with his pledge to end the Bush tax cuts for the rich. Paul Ryan's plan "preaches fiscal probity," but his tax cuts will only make the deficit worse. "We need Republicans and Democrats to return to that tradition of putting country ahead of politics—to agree to tax increases as part of a package that would also cut spending and reform entitlements in ways that control long-term costs and protect those who depend on them. This is what we have done in the past, and it is what we must do to secure America’s future."

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