It isnt really surprising that if you take the marginal tax rate on labor from 29 percent to 38 percent, raise the tax burden dramatically for the middle and working classes, permanently slash physician reimbursements for Medicare and curb domestic discretionary spending growth as successfully as the Clinton-Gingrich deadlock did in the 1990s, you can dig your way out of the fiscal hole. But the whole reason our fiscal picture seems so grim is that its hard to imagine lawmakers being willing to let those kind of changes take effect, or to imagine that voters would put up with them.
I agree with some of that Mr. Douthat is saying, but I don’t think that tax increases and spending cuts won’t happen because of voter revolt. I don’t see any reason why voters would be against raising other people’s taxes or repealing other people subsidies. If anything, it will be easier to sell to voters than it will be to force these past the special interests groups that will object to any tax increase or any spending cut.