Tax receipts are on pace to drop 18 percent this year, the biggest single-year decline since the Great Depression, while the federal deficit balloons to a record $1.8 trillion. Other figures in an Associated Press analysis underscore the recession's impact: Individual income tax receipts are down 22 percent from a year ago. Corporate income taxes are down 57 percent. Social Security tax receipts could drop for only the second time since 1940, and Medicare taxes are on pace to drop for only the third time ever. The last time the government's revenues were this bleak, the year was 1932 in the midst of the Depression.
The same story quotes Eugene Steuerle - a former Treasury Department official in the Reagan administration who is now vice president of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation:
Our tax system is already inadequate to support the promises our government has made ... This just adds to the problem.
While it is true that Federal fiscal policy needs to regain long-term fiscal sanity, which was basically ignored during the Bush43 years, lamenting the fact that tax revenues have declined during the current recession strikes me as Hoover economics. Short-term stimulus with a credible commitment to long-term fiscal sanity seems to be what the current Administration is striving for – and that makes sense to this deficit hawk.