I have no idea what political persuasion the authors of this article in today’s Opinion Journal hold, nor do I care to score partisan points, but they clearly bought the idea that current Republican economics is the only way to look at government budgets. Consider:
Voters will elect governors in 36 states this year. And as they decide who to send to the governor’s mansion, they will also be shaping the economic future of their state. On taxes, the gubernatorial candidates fall into one of two camps. Either they believe that the best way to close a budget gap is to raise taxes. Or, like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush have done from the Oval Office, they believe in raising revenue by growing the state’s economy with tax cuts.
There are a few cursory nods to fiscal restraint later in the article, but overall, it’s a glowing review of supply-side economics as the solution for budget woes. Crazy me, I think it’s clear that we need to look at both sections of a government’s income statement. I also find it
amusing disheartening that so many otherwise smart people can so completely ignore the well-ingrained small-government principle. Spending matters, and I dare say it matters more than taxes for long-term growth. Especially when legislators are ignoring the other side of the balance sheet with the spending they’re adding.
Until legislators refrain from dining at the public trough at every opportunity, government will have an insatiable need for growing tax receipts. Low taxes now, high taxes tomorrow. It’s not complicated, unless you’re blind to reality. Everyone will be an economic libertarian eventually. I just wish it didn’t have to come through bankruptcy.