Tax Cuts and Deficits

The Wall Street Journal had a piece earlier in the week that focused on Republicans’ dismay over President-Elect Donald Trump’s tax cut plans, his infrastructure spending plans, and the deficits that would seem to result from the two.


Once again, the pundit takes tax cuts (and individual spending items) in isolation. Of course, he knows better: broad spending cuts must accompany tax cuts—and isolated spending items—even dynamically, in order to achieve budget surpluses and so reductions in our debt.

The last two times Republicans reclaimed the White House from Democrats—in 1981 and 2001—they also successfully pushed for large tax cuts. Deficits nonetheless rose during their administrations.

This happened because both times Republicans accepted Democrat promises to support spending cuts “later,” and both times Democrats welched on their promises. Since Democrats cannot be trusted, the Republicans this time around will have to cut taxes and spending while arranging spending increases on particular items without Democrat “help.”  And they have the numbers to do that, including without Democrat involvement at all, since all those worthies are interested in is their knee-jerk obstruction of all things not Democrat.

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