Though the Boomers have been a bit haughty, they're not the worst out there by any means. In the history of the US, the Trancendental and Gilded generations of the antebellum South were literal slavers. We're no where near US Civil War II.
If you look at ancient Roman history, the romans of the Marian Reform era really botched the republic. When they came into their adulthoods, all hell broke loose with Sulla and the like and their kid's generation (that of Cesar) gave up the ghost and turned to Empire. There has been a LOT said about the lumbering fall of the Roman Republic, and any form of generationalism is likely not applicable to the patricians of that age or culture. But, as THoR states, that era of 'the storm before the storm' is dripping with relations to our current era.
You can’t raise an additional $2 trillion a year with a 70% tax rate on millionaires or eliminating the inheritance tax or treating capital gains like income or cutting the military budget. None of that even gets you close. $2 trillion is the entire income of the top 1%, or all the profits earned by US corporations. (Because of dividends and whatnot, a lot of corporate profits are income to the top 1% so there is a huge overlap between those. And you’re already taxing those two groups almost $800 billion a year. You’d have to raise it to $2.8 trillion a year.) The total income of people making above $1 million (much less the $10 million mark AOC has cited) is $700 billion.
You couldn't even raise that money with an "all of the above" approach. Say you doubled the income tax on the top 1% (+500 billion), eliminated the preferential tax treatment for capital gains (+$130 billion), doubled corporate taxes (+$200 billion), and slashed the defense budget to the NATO target of 2% of GDP (+200 billion). You're still only at $1 trillion (barely enough to close the deficit). You've also pushed the U.S. income and corporate tax burden far above the level in our competitor countries like the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, and Spain: https://data.oecd.org/tax/tax-on-personal-income.htm#indicat... https://data.oecd.org/tax/tax-on-corporate-profits.htm#indic....
There are a few ways to get $2 trillion. You could raise income taxes from 10% of GDP, about the OECD average, to 20% of GDP. That would blow past Sweden levels of income taxes (13% of GDP) into Denmark territory. Like Denmark, you’d have to make the income tax extremely broad based. The top tax rate of 56% (combined municipal, national, and labor contribution) kicks in at under $80,000. The tax rate below that is essentially flat, at 40%, with some deductions. (Fun fact: Denmark’s corporate tax rate is just 25%, lower than the US average after accounting for state corporate taxes.)
Or, you could create a 20% VAT to get our consumption taxes up from 4.3% to the OECD average of about 10%: https://data.oecd.org/tax/tax-on-goods-and-services.htm#indi.... And you could increase FICA taxes to 25% or so (from 15%) to get our 6.3% social insurance tax rate up to the OECD average of 9%. That, plus a millionaire's tax, if you're so inclined, will get you to $2 trillion.
All of these would impose a large tax increase in the middle class. That’s politically untenable even for Democrats. That’s why you see things like the Sanders health plan, that has like a half-page bullet point list of possible revenue sources (none of which comes close to raising 10% of GDP in tax revenue). There is only a single way to increase U.S. taxes to European levels without rendering ourselves economically noncompetitive by taxing high earners and corporations more than Europe. And that is massive tax increases on the middle class. Democrats are willfully blind to that reality.
Contra: Before the dot com crash and 9/11 some non-lunatics were worrying that Treasuries would go away and there'd be no safe place to store money because all the debt looked like it was going to be paid off before too long.
But even looking at mortal humans: in 2008 many of them have realized that no, it's not possible to keep borrowing indefinitely. Some day the creditors may ask for their money back.
Some people suggest we'll just print the money we need. The problem is that now I can take this money and buy half of your country before you realize what's going on.
The majority of voters don't care: they want low taxes and high spending on their pork project and they don't really care about the consequences.
Most news media has perpetuated this. Instead of reporting facts they talking heads yell at each other for hours.
Which is no different than talking heads yelling at the audience through a display and speaker, it's only through mental gymnastics that a degree of separation is established.
And of course this is not a hypothetical at all. Bush and Obama followed this pattern perfectly. Bush’s average deficit was $443 billion. Obama’s was $816 billion. But Bush inherited a surplus, and left office with a deficit of $1.4 trillion. Obama inherited that and left office with a deficit of $665 billion. Am I really supposed to conclude that Bush was better at controlling spending?
There was a sharp rise in income around 1994, and at the same time spending flattened (due to lower unemployment/lower safety net costs). The two met in 97, then fell off sharply in 2000.
This exactly mirrors the "Dot-com bubble" period start, middle, and end:
So neither Bill Clinton or the Republicans can really claim credit. This just happened to be a strong period of economic activity that happened to also drive down costs.