Howard Dean: Middle Class Tax Increases Needed to Save Social Programs

In a recent interview with pollster Scott Rasmussen, former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said federal social programs will be cut without tax increases on the middle class.

Rasmussen, citing a survey by his polling firm, proposed to Dean that there is public support for a tax increase on upper-income earners but that most voters also say the federal government has a spending problem, not a revenue problem.

“This is the fundamental problem in American politics and it’s the fundamental problem with Democracy, in general” Dean said. “Somebody has to tell the middle class that either your taxes are going to go up or your programs are going to get cut or else we’re going to go into financial oblivion, and nobody really wants to tell them that.”

Dean continued, “The President doesn’t want to tell them that. Republicans don’t want to tell them that. And I realize it’s bad politics to say that. But to continue as we’re doing– I think the fiscal cliff was a disaster for Democrats.”

Dean’s remarks come on the heels of Senate Democrats planning to propose a deal next week that aims to avoid automatic federal spending cuts that go into effect Mar. 1. The deal is composed of half spending cuts, mostly from defense and farm subsidies, and half tax increases.