FEED THE BEAST
President Obama’s spending proposals are “the liberal equivalent of the conservative attempt to ‘starve the beast,’ ” Ross Douthat writes in a blog at theatlantic.com.
“In both the Reagan and Bush eras, Republicans passed tax cuts and ran up large deficits while hoping that by starving the federal government of revenue they would curb its long-run growth. Obama’s spending proposals would effectively reverse that dynamic — they would create new spending commitments and run up large deficits, in the hopes that the dollars poured into health care and education will create a new baseline for government’s obligations, which in turn will create the political space for tax increases on the middle class,” Mr. Douthat said.
“Like the starve-the-beast approach, the Obama strategy puts off the hard part till tomorrow: Give them tax cuts today, conservatives said, and they’ll swallow spending cuts tomorrow; give them universal health care, universal pre-K, subsidies for green industry and all the rest of it today, liberals seem to be thinking, and they’ll be willing to pay for it tomorrow. ...
“But of course none of this will work if the American economy doesn’t escape its current downward spiral. If you’re running enormous deficits and don’t have any economic growth to show for it, it doesn’t matter how popular your social-spending programs are in the short run, as more than a few ex-Latin American leaders will be happy to attest.
“And what does make the Obama strategy misguided is that it looks increasingly like a substitute for a depression-fighting strategy — and what’s worse, a substitute that has the potential to actually make matters worse, when Obama, liberalism, and America all desperately need things to get better.”
Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or email@example.com.