The Case That McCain's Too Conservative - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
The Case That McCain’s Too Conservative

Matthew Yglesias, meanwhile, argues that McCain eschews straight talk when it isn’t what the base wants to hear. Asked whether tax cuts pay for themselves or add to the deficit, McCain reaffirmed his support both for keeping the Bush tax cuts and cutting spending. Or as Yglesias puts it, “So instead he gets in with some Reagan mumbo-jumbo: ‘Ronald Reagan knew we had to cut spending at the same time.’ If by ‘knew we had to cut spending’ you mean ‘increased defense spending enormously and caused a huge deficit at which point he turned around and raised taxes’ then this turns out as accurate.”

Reagan’s record on spending and the deficit isn’t as good as his record on taxes, but the facts don’t exactly meet this description. First, Reagan did make an effort to restrain domestic spending. Second, while Reagan raised some taxes he was still a net tax cutter. Third, marginal tax rates continued to fall — the top rate from 70 percent to 28 percent — while the deficit’s percentage of GDP was cut in half between 1983 and 1989.

By neither pretending that tax cuts always pay for themselves or that they can never be part of a responsible fiscal policy, McCain’s answer does indeed turn out as accurate.

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