This article looks at the current Republican obsession with reducing taxes. I can certainly understand how widening the tax base would make sense, as would reforming the tax system to reduce deductions; but the rush to first of all move in and reduce taxes in a way that the rich simply don't need at this point in time makes me think the party is simply stuck in a stupid ideological mode. As it says:
In most countries, to be “fiscally conservative” means to worry a great deal about the budget deficit and debt levels—and to push these issues to the top of the policy agenda. In many eurozone countries today, “fiscal conservatives” are a powerful group, insisting on the need to boost government revenue while bringing spending under control. In Great Britain, too, leading Conservatives have recently proved willing to raise taxes and attempted to limit future spending.
The United States is very different in this respect. Leading politicians who choose to call themselves “fiscal conservatives”— such as Paul Ryan, now the Republican Party’s presumptive vice-presidential —care more about cutting taxes, regardless of the effect on the federal deficit and total outstanding debt. Why do U.S. fiscal conservatives care so little about government debt, relative to their counterparts in other countries?The article goes on to talk about the history of the idea, and ends on this note:
Ryan and other Republicans undoubtedly want to cut the size of the federal government, and they have articulated plans to do this over several decades. But, in the near term, what they promise is primarily tax cuts: Their entire practical program is frontloaded in that direction. The calculation is that this will prove politically popular (probably true) while making it easier to implement spending cuts down the road (less obvious). The vulnerability caused by higher public debt over the next few decades is simply ignored.
For example, Ryan supported George W. Bush’s spending spree. He also supports maintaining defense spending at or near its current level—resisting the cuts that were put in place under the Budget Control Act of 2011.
The assumption here—unstated and highly questionable—is that the U.S. will be able to sell an unlimited amount of government debt at low interest rates for the foreseeable future. There is no other country in the world where fiscal conservatives would want to be associated with such a high-stakes gamble.