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When spending cuts aren’t real and tax hikes don’t reduce the deficit

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 7:21 pm - December 17, 2011.
Filed under: Big Government Follies,Economy,Media Bias

On Thursday, Glenn Reynolds linked a post from Daniel Mitchell which, like most posts from that libertarian scholar, merit your attention.  Mitchell corrected a New York Times reporter eager to peddle the notion of horrible, no good, very bad Republicans unwilling to raise taxes, reminding her that the “only budget agreement that actually produced a balanced budget was the 1997 deal, and that deal contained tax cuts rather than tax increases!

Guess she just didn’t learn the lesson the Gipper did in 1982 when you negotiate to raise one dollar of taxes for every three dollars of cuts, you get the higher tax rates, but you don’t get the lower spending.  He also reminds us of the “dishonest Washington definition” of “spending cut” as something which “occurs any time politicians increase spending by less than previously planned.”

Something to bear in mind for those gnashing their teeth at Republican attempts to reduce federal spending.  It might help if Congress did away with the “baseline budgeting” that began with the Congressional Budget Act of 1974.

Having exposed the flaw in the reporter’s wistful musings about the days when both parties considered tax hikes (as a means to balance the budget, Mitchell then asks those who think “the 1993 tax hike was successful” to “read this post and you’ll see that the Clinton White House admitted it was a failure in early 1995.”



  1. From Mitchell’s post:

    The Historical Tables on OMB’s website reveal that good budget numbers [in the late 90s, and unexpected] were the result of genuine fiscal restraint. Total government spending increased by an average of just 2.9 percent over a four-year period in the mid-1990s. This is the reason why projections of $200 billion-plus deficits [in 1995] turned into the reality of big budget surpluses.

    Exactly. History shows that problem deficits are never solved through tax increases; they are solved through spending discipline.

    If we would but return to a FY2006 spending baseline, Obama’s deficits would be cut roughly in half. Can anyone (except a leftist of course) argue with a straight face that in 2006, the U.S. government wasn’t already huge? Wasn’t already doing too much? Even now, the government collects over $2 trillion in revenue per year. Bureaucrats in every other country would kill for that kind of revenue. Why isn’t it enough for us?

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 17, 2011 @ 9:41 pm - December 17, 2011

  2. “Why isn’t it enough for us?”

    Because the left exists on other people’s money?

    Comment by Richard Bell — December 17, 2011 @ 10:34 pm - December 17, 2011

  3. I’m on board with the sentiment but it really irks me when anyone repeats the myth that the budget was “balanced” or that there was a surplus during the Clinton administration. While spending may have been reduced, the budget was by no means balanced. I expect as much from ill informed lefties. It bugs me even more coming from someone on my own side.

    Comment by Ed — December 17, 2011 @ 11:44 pm - December 17, 2011

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