Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 7, 2003
By: Kevin Drum

DEFICIT THINKING....Nothing in particular has prompted this, but is there any chance that conservatives can knock off the crap about how the only way to get rid of the deficit is to "grow our way out of it, just like Reagan did"?

I'm getting really sick of hearing this nonsense. We didn't grow our way out of Reagan's tax cut, we taxed our way out of it. Shortly after slashing rates on high incomes Reagan raised taxes a bunch on the middle class, Bush Sr. followed with a tax increase of his own, and Clinton raised taxes yet again. That, combined with a strong economy and some spending restraint, got rid of the deficit. Let's quit pretending otherwise.

Whether this particular piece of sophistry is a lie or a mistake depends on whether the speaker is too ignorant to know better or not, but either way I suppose it's better than this remarkable opinion from the Weekly Standard's David Gelernter:

Worrying about the long-term consequences of [the deficit] is like worrying about the long-term consequences of spitting into the Atlantic. Yes, there are consequences, but ultimately they depend on all sorts of things that have yet to happen, and we are in no position to calculate them. I am not opposed to long-term economic planning; it's just that history makes clear that there is no such thing.

The frightening thing is that I suspect Gelernter speaks for a lot of Republicans these days. Long term planning? Bah. It's for wimps. Let's just stick our heads in the sand and get reelected instead.

Kevin Drum 10:55 AM Permalink | Trackbacks

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