Pondering Tax Cuts - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Pondering Tax Cuts

Matt Yglesias asks:

Will the press let conservatives get away with simultaneously claiming that we can’t afford large new temporary deficit spending but can afford large new permanent tax cuts?

The problem is that Yglesias is conflating two different arguments. One argument is that we can’t afford a $825 billion stimulus package when we’re already facing a $1.2 trillion deficit in FY 2009. But anybody who makes that argument is told that we can’t afford not to pass a massive stimulus package because the economic crisis is so severe. So once it’s a foregone conclusion that there will be an $800-billion plus package, it becomes an argument over whether tax cuts or more government spending is the better approach.

Liberals believe that the best way to stimulate the economy is for the federal government to spend taxpayer money on pet projects, while conservatives believe it’s better to allow families and firms to keep more of what they earn and that permanent tax cuts are better because much economic planning is done over the long-term. Furthermore, liberals fail to grasp the moral argument for tax cuts. Liberals see tax cuts as inefficient because people who end up with more money may either save it or spend it on something like new Blu-ray players, which wouldn’t be as effective at boosting the economy as government spending, so they argue. But the the fact remains that it’s the taxpayers’ own money, and they should be able to do whatever the heck they want with it. When I argue in favor of cutting the payroll tax, I’m advocating a policy that would increase the take home pay of virtually every working American, whereas when Yglesias argues for more government spending, he’s rejecting the idea of giving such a break to working families, because he thinks, based on newspaper articles and academic reports he reads, that he knows how to spend their money better than they do. As it turns out, history has proven the central planners wrong time and time again.

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