Thursday, April 12, 2012

"Starve The Beast": Cut Revenue To Control Spending and Deficits? Nope!

One of the biggest issues in today's political discourse in the USA is whether or not to raise taxes. Sure, it may seem that if you cut taxes, that's a good thing. The problem is, the method behind the tax cuts is to starve the "beast", the Federal Government's Social Programs and not Defense, law enforcement and other services perceived as necessary.
    Here's the rub: it doesn't work. Instead of reducing government spending, that spending gets put on the government's credit card (deficit spending). Even worse, the actual practice of cutting taxes does the opposite: lower taxes appear to actually increase spending: Wikipedia -- Starve the Beast: Analysis
    Further, it seems that things have gotten so bad, cuts in Defense are now perceived as necessary and are on the table.
    To add insult to injury, most Republicans in Congress have signed a pledge NEVER to increase taxes, no matter what the reason. The idea is to cause a catastrophic failure of the the government's fiscal and monetary system, forcing reforms. Hey, wait a minute: didn't we just go through that because of irresponsible practices by the banking and securities systems? How would irresponsible deficit spending be any better (or different)?
    What this seems to boil down to is that Starve the Beast was a "really cool" idea that doesn't stand up to reality. Hoping that tax cuts would "fix" the problem of too much spending has actually led to way too much spending. That's because the folks who want to cut taxes are actually voting to increase spending themselves, to save their political aspriations (didja catch the sneaky italics there?). "Don't cut my spending! It's necessary (for my political future)!"
    Make no mistake: I am not a Liberal. I'm a reformed Republican who is now an Independent. I am disillusioned by Republican tactics and beliefs that seem to defy the evidence that they do not work in reality. You cannot teach folks to drive responsibly by running them into a ditch yourself. You also cannot cut spending by specious tax cuts that end up ruining our country's credit rating, then vote for more spending yourself.