Michael Kinsley writes like a typical rationalist: his focus is typically on others’ contradictions, not on the truth–and even when he has something positive to say he has to do it dialectically. Nevertheless, he has a point here:

Republicans do give reasons for wanting to make big projected deficits even bigger. They say that tax cuts spur the economy and eventually will generate revenue to wipe out the deficits. They say that big deficits will force the government to cut spending. These arguments are contradictory and bogus. If the deficit will eliminate itself, it will not create pressure to cut spending. If tax cuts always spur so much growth that they pay for themselves, can we cut taxes to zero and still break even on revenue? If the trick stops working at some point higher than zero, how can we assume it will work for us? And if the purpose of tax cuts is to force spending cuts, why doesn’t the governing party at least propose enough spending cuts to cover the cost? “I’m eating all this pie so I’ll get fat and be forced to diet.” Do you buy that one? [Michael Kinsley, Slate.com, 5/1/03]

Or another way to put it: The typical supply-side Republicans think that cutting taxes will allow them to avoid the moral battle over cutting spending–because they are fundamentally unwilling to challenge the altruistic premise behind the welfare state. But it’s nothing but self-delusion.–Paul Blair

[“I’m eating all this pie so I’ll get fat and be forced to diet” is a poor analogy–a much better one is “I will be expropriating less pie, so I will be forced to diet.” The only problem is that reduced taxation combined with no spending cuts will force the government into either increasing the deficit or inflation to pay for its prodigality.–Mark Da Cunha]

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