As 2017, otherwise know as Annis Horribilis, moves rather unsteadily into the history books, we are now fast approaching what I call Political Christmas. Perhaps YOU know it as an election year. During ordinary times, the big rollers in Washington are about as generous as Ebeneezer Scrooge. Why you could have been victimized by a natural disaster, like say a hurricane, and would these guys lift a finger to help you? I should say NOT! If you want to GET federal assistance they say, you'll have to TAKE the money away from somebody else's federal program.
Ah, but as we enter Political Christmas, then our deficit hawks turn into Scrooge, post-ghostly visitations!! Miracle of miracles, these folks become SO generous, tossing money around as if they had a license to print it. Oh yeah, they DO!! Yes, during Political Christmas all fiscal restraint goes out the window and cash flows like so much rain during a hurricane. Not coincidentally, we are fast approaching yet another Political Christmas season. How can you tell? You will start to hear the faint chirping of promised tax cuts in the air!
The interesting thing about this "Yule" generosity is that it's usually accompanied by a goodly portion of self-deception and downright dishonesty. This is also known as trickle-down economics. You know the story. You've heard it all before. Cut taxes. Reduce the federal revenue stream. Create fantastic growth. Voila! More money than you can shake a stick at, if that's your idea of having fun. It's sort of like the economic equivalent of the perpetual motion machine, nice in theory but a bust in the real world.
This isn't to say that the deficit hawks don't have THE answer to any question you might have about the prudence of tax cuts. They call it fiscal restraint. Now fiscal restraint works pretty much along the same lines as Christianity, easy to preach, difficult to live. Think of it this way, fiscal restraint is to the federal deficit as Nancy Reagan's approach was to stopping drug abuse, or the Pope's approach to birth control. Just say NO!!! In theory it works. In practice, not so much.
That's why the latest round of tax cut talks shouldn't disturb your restful sleep one bit. Don't you know? Can't you see? It's as plain as the nose on your face. Controlling federal spending is as easy as taking candy from a baby. Have you ever TRIED taking candy from a baby? They kick and scream and cry and hold their breath until they turn blue. In order to shut them up and keep them from passing out, what do you do? You give them their candy back and maybe an extra piece just to see the little darlings SMILE again! Any wonder why our federal deficit is so big?
I think what we're likely to see during THIS Political Christmas is the miracle of the Transformation. What you very well may see are deficit hawks turning into pigeons; flying over the federal budget, ready, willing and able to take a dump all over it. I suspect deficit hawks will give up any pretense they once had about restraining federal spending. No, now they will embrace the tax cutting fairy tale. You know it well. Every time you cut taxes, you make the economy grow miraculously. If you don't believe it, ask George W. Bush. He gave us not one but TWO gigantic tax cuts. Did they grow the economy? Were we better off when Lonesome George LEFT the White House than when he came IN? You remember the economic boom of 2008, don't you? If the answer to that question happens to be NO, then maybe you ought to reconsider the miracle of the tax cut and trickle-down economics, before it trickles down on YOU......AGAIN!!!!
Filed under: Politics