Good column by Paul Krugman this morning. It's about the blatant hypocrisy and dishonesty in Republicans' talk about deficit worries. Somebody worried about the deficit wouldn't be prepared to pile it higher with tax cuts for the wealthy (with an assist from the billionaires' pal, Sen. Blanche Lincoln). We've been down that road of voodoo economics before.
Ronald Reagan said that his tax cuts would reduce deficits, then presided over a near-tripling of federal debt. When Bill Clinton raised taxes on top incomes, conservatives predicted economic disaster; what actually followed was an economic boom and a remarkable swing from budget deficit to surplus. Then the Bush tax cuts came along, helping turn that surplus into a persistent deficit, even before the crash.
But we’re talking about voodoo economics here, so perhaps it’s not surprising that belief in the magical powers of tax cuts is a zombie doctrine: no matter how many times you kill it with facts, it just keeps coming back. And despite repeated failure in practice, it is, more than ever, the official view of the G.O.P.
Why should this scare you? On paper, solving America’s long-run fiscal problems is eminently doable: stronger cost control for Medicare plus a moderate rise in taxes would get us most of the way there. And the perception that the deficit is manageable has helped keep U.S. borrowing costs low.
But if politicians who insist that the way to reduce deficits is to cut taxes, not raise them, start winning elections again, how much faith can anyone have that we’ll do what needs to be done?