July 16, 2003


It becomes increasingly clear that the Republican Party has a philosophy that is accepted by its acolytes, unencumbered, as Tom and Ray Magliozzi are fond of saying, by the thought process. This morning, for example, I heard an amazing sound byte on the radio from the House Budget Committee Chairman, Jim Nussle (R, Iowa). In all seriousness, he said, “Taxes that are left in the pockets of people who earned the money in the first place is [sic] not borrowed from the federal government. It’s left in the pockets of the people in the first place. Tax relief cannot cause deficits.” Of course, this is true in the same sense that a wing’s falling off an airplane does not cause the plane to crash, though that event, along with gravity, will usually do the trick. By Mr. Nussle’s logic, we could eliminate taxes completely without causing deficits. It is not, I suppose, his responsibility that the government necessarily spends money, and, lacking revenue, will run what most economists would call a deficit.

Congress (and the President, for that matter) needs to rely less on articles of faith, as does Mr. Nussle, and more on conventional logic.

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