Bruce Bartlett, who sounded the alarm about George W. Bush’s big spending, doesn’t think very much of the anti-tax tea parties. But as he surely knows — because, if memory serves, he devoted an entire chapter of Impostor to this subject — much of the data he presents showing a relatively low tax burden reflect conditions that are about to change. The Bush tax cuts will expire in 2011. Even if President Obama does nothing, demographics and auto-pilot government growth are going to increase taxes, spending, and government borrowing.
It would have been nice if conservatives had more vocally opposed fiscal nonsense when Bush was president. It would be even nicer if more got the memo that electing somebody with an “R” next to his name or bankrupting the country more slowly isn’t the answer to everything. It would have been nicest of all if the Republicans had actually done something to control federal spending when the baby boomers were in their peak earning years rather than now when they are about to retire.
But there is going to be dramatic upward pressure on taxes in this country in the coming years. It is imperative that we have people pushing in the opposite direction. If the tea partygoers are going to supply that pressure, whatever inconsistencies one can find in the more partisan Republicans among them, I’m happy to have them.