Republican Party

Higher Taxes, Smaller Government?

To curb spending, Republicans will have to insist on clear, enforceable measures to induce greater discipline, and stick to them.

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It comes as no surprise to hear anti-tax activist Grover Norquist talk about tax cuts, but it does come as a surprise to hear him raise the subject of pink unicorns.

Pink unicorns are purely imaginary—a trait he says they share with the spending curbs that Republicans hope to get from the administration in exchange for a tax increase. Norquist says Democrats only want to enlarge the government and his GOP allies would be naive to make any deals with them.

History, he says, vindicates him. Congressional Democrats, he told National Public Radio, "cheated Reagan, OK, and they said we'll cut $3 of spending for every dollar of tax increase. Spending went up, not down. They did the same thing to Bush a few years later in 1990." Reagan and Bush traded for a pink unicorn and didn't get it.

In this view, the only way to make politicians behave frugally is to reduce taxes and revenues. "If you raise taxes, they just spend it," he said.

That is often true. But it's apparent that if you reduce taxes, the politicians will also spend more. Ronald Reagan won big tax cuts, and federal spending rose by more than 20 percent, adjusted for inflation. George W. Bush did the same, and the budget ballooned. If tax increases aren't a sure thing, neither are tax cuts.

In his review of history, Norquist omits the one time in the past four decades when the budget actually came into balance: the 1990s. Why? Because it badly undermines his case.

Under Bill Clinton, income tax rates rose. In fact, his critics reviled him for enacting "the biggest tax increase in American history." Yet the tax hike did not open the spending floodgates. In inflation-adjusted terms, federal outlays grew very slowly, and as a share of the economy, they shrank dramatically—from 21.4 percent to 18.2 percent, about what they were during the Eisenhower administration.

Why did that happen? Not because Clinton was a tightfisted Scrooge eager to dismantle big government, but because congressional Republicans, led by Newt Gingrich, forced him into an agreement to balance the budget, which required constraints on spending.

Under Clinton, total federal expenditures grew by just 1.5 percent per year, inflation-adjusted—40 percent less than under Reagan and 70 percent less than under George W. Bush. And did George H.W. Bush really get snookered? During his presidency, spending growth was only slightly higher than under Clinton.

Most conservatives are of the "starve the beast" school, which says that if you deprive the government of revenue by cutting taxes, it will be forced to shrink. That would be true if the government couldn't spend money it doesn't have. In fact, it does so year in and year out. There is no point cutting off a wayward teen's allowance if he still has your credit card.

In 2006, a study published by the late economist William Niskanen debunked this theory of spending dynamics. Niskanen, who was Reagan's chief economist and chairman of the libertarian Cato Institute in Washington, looked at the historical data and found that revenue increases actually curtailed spending growth. Revenue reductions, however, caused it to accelerate—the exact opposite of what Norquist claims.

University of Alabama political scientist Michael New later took another look at the evidence and confirmed those findings. "Like Niskanen, I find statistically significant evidence that low levels of federal revenues actually stimulate expenditure growth," he wrote in The Cato Journal in 2009.

It's not hard to see why. Americans are more likely to support a bigger federal budget if they don't have to pay the full cost each year. Tax cuts allow us to get $100 worth of programs and services for only $80. As with any commodity, price discounts increase consumption. Tax increases force us to pay something closer to the real cost of government, which dampens demand for it.

We fought two wars without raising taxes to pay for them. If Americans had known that invading Iraq was going to cost them real money, right away, they would have said: No, thanks.

Tax increases don't produce automatic improvement, particularly with a president who shows minimal interest in budget cutting. If Republicans want to curb spending, they will have to insist on clear, enforceable measures to induce greater discipline, and stick to them. That's not the easiest thing to achieve. But unlike a pink unicorn, it's happened before.

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130 responses to “Higher Taxes, Smaller Government?

  1. Not to mention that there is no correlation between party and spending trends. Republican congress critters talk about spending cuts, but they don’t actually vote for them. The only variable that influences spending patterns is how long a congress member has been in office: the budget hawks don’t actually last all that long while the wastrels get reelected time after time. So everyone wants a lower budget in the abstract, but their votes say that in the concrete that isn’t true. So the next time a Republican candidate talks about cutting government, give him what he deserves: long, loud peals of laughter.

  2. OK, that’s two in a row. Who killed Chapman and replaced him with someone reasonable.?

    Did Nick loan him The Jacket ™? (Or did The Jacket choose a new host, for those of you of that particular faith.)

    Although this one does skirt the line of “if they’re going to spend it anyway, we should be responsible and at least fund as much as we can”.

    1. Although this one does skirt the line of “if they’re going to spend it anyway, we should be responsible and at least fund as much as we can”.

      So, you’re saying that if a mafia-like organization is going to spend money irresponsibly anyway, we should be “responsible” by telling them to steal more money from us to “fund as much of it as we can”?

      What would you think would happen to, say, the spending habits of the local mob if you encouraged them to steal more of your money to finance their current spending on hookers and blow?

      1. No, I’m definitely not saying that!

        And, in answer to your second question, I would think the spending habits would increase! Unfortunately, not to the level of blow that would make them OD and die. Or at least not before I would.

      2. What would you think would happen to, say, the spending habits of the local mob if you encouraged them to steal more of your money to finance their current spending on hookers and blow?

        Um ….. did you read the article? It says that, contrary to what you might think, they would increase spending at a lower rate than if you didn’t give them access to more money.

        While merely slowing the rate of increase in the size of government is not enough, it is better than increasing the rate of growth. And to those of us who think the voters desserve to get every inch of what they voted for thrust upon them – I say bring on the taxes!

        1. Um ….. did you read the article? It says that, contrary to what you might think, they would increase spending at a lower rate than if you didn’t give them access to more money.

          I did read the article. It was shit. You give politicians more money, they tend to go on a spending spree, unless you have a situation like the Clinton years, where you have a chief executive fighting with a Congress run by the other party.

    2. “Chapman” and “someone reasonable” are only properly used as complementary parts of speech in the same sentence if has been set, or if the publication does not profess itself to be ‘libertarian’. The only thing reasonable in this article is the (unintended) observation that ‘elected’ criminals cannot be expected to exhibit logical – or even expected – behavior.

      1. Sorry, it threw out my html reference: should read ” if (“sarc” set in html code on symbols) has been set

        1. Try square brackets for ironic code.

      2. It looks like Chapman’s point needs to made a little more clearly to some of y’all.

        The point is that the typical voter will vote for more government as long as the price charged to him is low — in other words, low taxes artificially depress the cost of government for the average voter and so he votes for the big-spending politicians. So, a natural way to get less government in a democracy is to increase taxes. This seems pretty straightforward and completely obvious once you think about it. And the whole thing is totally logical and expected behavior given the incentives involved. If some of you have an explanation as to why this argument is wrong, I would love to hear it.

        The point is that a real libertarian ought to be for increasing taxes to reflect the price of what the citizens are getting. Of course, a lot of people that claim to be libertarians are really just trying to get lower taxes for themselves and couldn’t care less if the government is a gigantic intrusive thing that takes over our lives.

        1. So we must burn the village in order to save it. Excellent argument!

          1. Wrong, the villiage is already burning, it started burning the instant the government spent the money.

            Funding the government spending is more like installing a fire alarm so the villiagers know just what they are paying vs funding the spending with inflation or Debt which hides the cost from them.

            In otherwords spending won’t go down until the people demand it, and the people won’t demand it unless they can clearly see the full cost and decide that it is too high.

            Keeping taxes low allows the illusion that the spending is not burdensome to continue, raising them ends that.

            1. But maybe they think the cost of debt is 0, because it’ll eventually be walked away from.

        2. low taxes artificially depress the cost of government for the average voter and so he votes for the big-spending politicians

          As far as I know, no one involved in the fiscal cliff negotiations is arguing for a tax hike for everyone. I seriously doubt raising taxes on the “rich” will make “the average voter” reassess the costs of big government.

          1. Bingo. The tax deal now on the table

            (a) Keeps the low(er) Bush-era tax rates for the 98%.

            (b) Keeps the low(er) Obama payroll tax rates.

            (b) Raises taxes for the 2%.

            I don’t see that increasing the cost of government for the average voter.

        3. The point is that a real libertarian ought to be for increasing taxes to reflect the price of what the citizens are getting.

          silly me, I thought being a real libertarian involved asking if the citizens should be “getting” whatever it is the govt is “giving.” Your premise rests on acceptance of whatever govt decides to do.

          There are some of us who question that. I get that taxes fund govt services, but it is hardly unreasonable to question what things qualify as bona fide govt services.

        4. No, fuck you. Cut spending.

        5. “The point is that the typical voter will vote for more government as long as the price charged to him is low — in other words, low taxes artificially depress the cost of government for the average voter and so he votes for the big-spending politicians.”

          Your argument is generally correct, however there is one thing that you have wrong that absolutely must be stressed here.

          Low taxes, high taxes are irrelivant. The cost to the taxpayer is always as high as the level of spending. The difference is that funding government spending through means other than taxation serves to obscure the true cost from the taxpayers.

          It is very easy to look at your paystub and see how much taxes are collected, it is far harder to see the impact of inflation on your savings forget calculate how much of that inflation comes from excessive government spending vs other factors. Even harder to calculate the cost of diverted investment income, the businesses not started and factories not built because capital was invested in government bonds and not the private sector.

        6. The point is that a real libertarian ought to be for increasing taxes to reflect the price of what the citizens are getting. Of course, a lot of people that claim to be libertarians are really just trying to get lower taxes for themselves and couldn’t care less if the government is a gigantic intrusive thing that takes over our lives.

        7. According to the logic deduced from the voters as alluded to in the article, it would appear the best thing would be to stop taxation entirely and fund all of gov’t by borrowing, because the stimulus-response behavior clearly indicates the debt is never going to be paid anyway. If taxes, but not deficits, are a disincentive (to the polity) to spending, that means they intend to never pay the debts — or simply that they expect to die soon enough that it won’t matter to them.

          OTOH, what about the studies that show voters don’t vote in their selfish interests?

          OTOOH, what about the previous sx that showed legislators tend to spend something like 160% of revenues, or some other percentage greater than 100?

          1. Robert, what makes you think that the voters are thinking about the long term at all?

            1. If voters are thinking in the long term, they’re probably approaching it the same way as homeowners (i.e. the same people) did in the run up to the housing crisis. House prices will increase forever so I can just keep leveraging against my house. There will always be enough people to tax to keep the programs I favor. Much like the housing crisis, the sovereign debt crisis will be a quick, painful wake up call.

        8. “… a real libertarian ought to be for increasing taxes …” Wait! What? Steve Chapman, is that you masquerading as “logical_atomist?

  3. My history may be a little fuzzy for the 90s, but didn’t the Republicans control the Senate as well as the House? I would think that gave them a lot more leverage than they have today.

    1. Also Obama has shown that when Congress does something he doesn’t like, or wont do something he wants, he just does it anyway. Non-recess recess appointments, the “dream” act, fighting wars, ect. The Democrats are even talking about Obama unilaterally raising the debt limit without Congress. Why does Chapman think House Republicans can control this loon?

      1. Obama is literally a sociopath, someone lacking a conscience. The House Republicans could control him by using their power of the purse, but that would take cojones on their part.

  4. Ronald Reagan won big tax cuts, and federal spending rose by more than 20 percent, adjusted for inflation.

    But did those tax cuts bring in less revenue? Correlating tax cuts with ultimate tax revenue makes for bad analysis.

    1. IIRC revenue actually increased.

      1. of course, revenue increased. And Congress being Congress, that added revenue was spent on shiny new things.

  5. In fact, it does so year in and year out. There is no point cutting off a wayward teen’s allowance if he still has your credit card.

    Cut up the credit card then. End the Fed.

    1. just refuse to repay the debt to the Fed. It’s not a legal obligation anyway.

  6. What an idiotic article.

    During the 90’s, the Cold War military was cut in half. Yet Clinton and Congress still managed to keep net government spending increasing through the decade. They blew through the “peace dividend” so fast we never realized it existed.

    1. This can’t be emphasized enough. There should have been massive savings with those military reductions; but instead they just spent it all on other stuff.

      There’s no point in trying to explain such a fact to Chapman though. This is a “man” who daydreams about Obama’s hairy ballbag repeatedly slapping him in the chin.

    2. I’m curious to know if the coinciding rise in “smart munitions” made some of those cuts moot.

      1. I am sure that the contractors found ways to sell more expensive stuff to make up for the drop in volume – but no way does it make up the difference. The “smart” stuff was already showing up in the 80’s. During the first Gulf War, we dumped all our dumb bombs on Iraq so we wouldn’t have to pay to dispose of it.

        The Army went from 18 active divisions to 10 – and those remaining 10 were lighter and somewhat hollowed out.

        8 Divisions! That’s over 200,000 soldiers, awesome amounts of equipment, training support, bases, logistics personnel, ammo, etc…

        I know guys who were Lieutenants in Europe in the early 90’s. They were literally laid-off. Handed discharge papers and a ticket home.

        The Navy and Air Force took similar cuts.

      2. No the actuall spending was cut.

        From the effective end of the Vietnam war in 73 through 1988 Defense spending averaged around 6.5% of GDP, then from 89 through it fell rapidly bottoming out at 3.5% of GDP in 1999 and averaging 3.9% through the Clinton years.

        This allowed Clinton to increase government spending on Non Defense items by a full 3% of GDP have have it be obscured by the defense cuts, however since government spending actually did fall by about 2% of GDP during his term he clearly did not increase spending by as much as he could have.

    3. Are people still dumb enough to believe there was a surplus? Jesus.

      Yeah, we came close, but the national debt went up EVERY year of Clinton’s administration. That should demonstrate there was no surplus.

      And we came close because of the dot com bubble anyway. The government didn’t have anything to do with it.

  7. What if I believe in higher taxes for the wealthy, lower taxes for the poor and middle class, and smaller government? Can I still play with the libertarians on the playground?

    1. Wouldn’t a low flat tax without deductions accomplish just that?

      1. Wouldn’t a low flat tax without deductions accomplish just that?

        To some extent, but not enough for my tastes. First and foremost, I would like to see the income rates on wealth are adjusted for inflation, so that taxation rates on income more accurately reflect their 1930s counterparts. (That is, $250,000 under FDR is not $250,000 under Obama, so tax rates should reflect that.)

        1. The rates wouldn’t change – the standard per-person deduction would be indexed.

          Sounds good and will never happen. Nothing makes politicians happier than inflating people into higher tax brackets.

    2. Higher taxes for the wealthy? What about someone with a few million in assets, but no income? What do you tax?

      Or what about someone who has worked their entire life, are nearing retirement, and finally have a high income with which they can sock away something for retirement. Should they be punished with punitive tax rates?

      This is simply the politics of envy. If the rich paid their fair share then they wouldn’t be rich. As long as they are rich, they have not paid their fair share. Raise their taxes! Eat the rich!

      Oh, and FYI dude, the poor don’t pay federal income tax. You can’t lower taxes for people who pay none.

      1. Hey man, if we stopped the Bush tax cuts for the RICH this country would have 26 days of a debt free budget every year! From the Dear Leader’s lips to your ears.

        We should pay the lower income people money for being alive and having the quiet dignity of the working proletariat!

        1. I’ve known people who have argued that in addition to a minimum wage there should be a maximum wage. Basically a 100% tax on income over some emotionally satisfying number like a million dollars or something. The revenue from this would be used to give everyone a minimum standard of living. All emotional feel good and stuff. Incentives? What are incentives? They’ll still work for their hundred million dollar CEO salary and happiliy pay ninety nine million to help the poor!

          Fucking idiots.

          1. I bet when you tried to get them to nail down what that ‘minimum standard of living’ was, they couldn’t do that either.

            And let’s assume, you get everyone on that minimum standard of living (come on, it’s a thought experiment), would people THEN be allowed to make over a million? Or would we still take their ‘overage’ and put it towards much more important things?

            1. “Once the government becomes the supplier of people’s needs, there is no limit to the needs that will be claimed as a basic right.”
              ?Lawrence Auster

              1. and in the past few years, health care has been codified as a basic right, contraception is headed on that path, and we can only gaze in wonder at what might come next.

                1. and in the past few years, health care has been codified as a basic right, contraception is headed on that path, and we can only gaze in wonder at what might come next.

                  Why can’t it at least be something cool, like guns or beer.

                  Shit, ammo is fucking expensive. Don’t I have the RIGHT to go shooting every week?!

                  1. Get a Ruger 22/45 LITE. Looks and feels like a 1911 but shoots .22 long rifle. My last purchase was 5000 rounds for $150.

                    1. 400 rounds once a week and it works out to a three month supply for $50/month.

          2. I think what they’re saying is that the amount of add’l work you get out of someone for $100M vs. $1M is minuscule. And I think they’re right. Once you get up to a certain point, the amount you make is highly variable and practically independent of talent or effort. Otherwise the Yankees would be undefeated.

            1. No. What they’re saying is that they want to just tax the additional $99 million. They want to raise federal revenues. The response would be pretty obvious – businesses would just stop paying people more than $1 million. Why would a business want to send $99 million extra to the IRS when they can just pay the maximum salary?

              Hmm…when I put it that way, a 100% top marginal rate almost seems like a financial break for large businesses. I wonder if the liberals who put forth these arguments would be ok with that conclusion.

        2. They’re neither quiet nor dignified.

          If they would, I wouldn’t mind paying so much.

      2. Or what about someone who has worked their entire life, are nearing retirement, and finally have a high income with which they can sock away something for retirement. Should they be punished with punitive tax rates?

        He worked his way up from a janitor to CEO and now he’s finally making a mere $27 million a year…AND THESE GOSH-DARNED LIBERALS WANT TO TAX HIM TO DEATH.

        Are all lolberts this retarded? What usually happens is that there’s a lot of corporate dicksucking going on and the executives make bank while the workers get the shaft. Let’s say I wanted to raise the highest tax level to around 50% or so on income / capital gains over $20,000,000 while lowering the taxes paid by everyone else. Is the guy who is making $20 million really going to be unable to retire because of that nasty, evil, looting, statist, slaver 50% tax rate? Unlikely.

        This is simply the politics of envy. If the rich paid their fair share then they wouldn’t be rich.

        Nah. I merely recognize that a lot of people aren’t worth what they make, and a lot of people have gotten rich through unethical means. Taxing them to pay down the national debt doesn’t bother me in the slightest.

        the poor don’t pay federal income tax. You can’t lower taxes for people who pay none.

        Because there’s no line between “poor who pay no taxes” and “poor who pay some taxes.” Lolbert logic.

        But don’t worry, the poor under my system wouldn’t get Social Security or Medicare or Medicaid.

        1. You have slayed a mighty man of straw. Bravo.

          *golf clap*

          1. I’d love to hear how much of the national debt would be payed down by this little scheme.

            1. None, even if you assumed no reduction in GDP as a result of this sort of punitive tax it wouldn’t even cover a fraction of the deficit.

              If you taxed 100% of all income over $200,000 a year regardless of source essentially creating a maximum income and made the ridiculous assumption that there would be no reduction in GDP as a result you would just about be able to eliminate the deficit, raising ~$1 Trillion a year in new revenues.

              As a realistic matter attempting to raise revenues on “The Rich” (top 2% of incomes) is not going to get you much more than $150 billion a year before tax avoidance and GDP reductions begin to eliminate any benefit to your tax increases.

              1. A lot of this would be chasing its own tail because of how GDP is measured. Take the Yankees example I raised upthread. Their salaries figure into GDP. If their salaries were cut, they might be doing the same thing, but GDP would be less.

          2. Quoting what someone else says and then refuting his words and argument: STRAWMAN STRAW STRAAAAW.

            1. When I said “wealthy” and “rich” it was under the assumed current context where that word is applied to people making more than two hundred grand, and you’re trotting out eight digit incomes.
              That is a textbook straw man.
              I was referring to the engineer or something who has finally worked up the ranks to a low six figure income after a few decades, not some CEO making millions.
              Your emotional arguments show that you suffer from a severe case of class envy.
              Get back to me when you learn how to think instead of emote.

              1. No, you idiot, what I said was that I support higher taxes on the wealthy. If you’ll read above, I support restructuring the tax brackets.

                1. You also have shown that you do not know the difference between wealth, income, and money.

                  Get back to me when you are economically literate.

                  1. You also have shown that you do not know the difference between wealth, income, and money.

                    Nice counter-argument, bro.

                    1. His point, you fuckstain hillbilly, is that raising income taxes ENTRENCHES the elite, since they already have their money.

                    2. Nice counter-argument, bro.

                      There is no argument to counter. Wealth is not income, income is not wealth, and wealth is not money.

                      Wealth is accumulated income. It is not necessarily money. It could be real estate, stamp collections, stocks… Whatever.

                      Someone can have a high income but no accumulated wealth, and someone can be wealthy with no income.

                      So when you say you want to tax the wealthy, I assume you mean you want to tax people with high incomes. But a high income doesn’t guarantee wealth, and many who are wealthy (retirees for example) have little income.

                      You are arguing from ignorance and emotion.

                      Get back to me when you know what the fuck you’re talking about.

                    3. Autistic pedant spergs again.

                    4. Autistic pedant spergs again.

                      Fallacy fellator gags on an ad-hominem.

                    5. Fallacy fellator gags on an ad-hominem.

                      You went on a mutli-paragraph spergout because I used the term “wealthy” to describe people who make a lot of money. You are autistic–if not literally, then figuratively.

                    6. Yep. Rick Santorum doesn’t know what an ad-hominem is.

                    7. Yep. Rick Santorum doesn’t know what an ad-hominem is.

                      Looks like there are a lot of things he doesn’t know, and it looks like he likes it that way.

                      Makes him feel clever when he refuses to learn anything or admit he’s wrong.

                    8. You are willfully ignorant to the point of stupidity.

                2. “I support restructuring the tax brackets.”

                  If you restructure the tax brackets you’ll get that much less revenue. Raising top marginal rates is already insignificant to deficit reduction.

                  1. Raising top marginal rates is already insignificant to deficit reduction.

                    Only ’cause we spend so much.

                    1. Great. So when the spending actually gets cut, I’ll listen to your class war bullshit. Until then, fuck class based tax hikes that only advance the mindset that created all the spending in the first place.

                    2. So when the spending actually gets cut, I’ll listen to your class war bullshit.

                      Unlikely.

                    3. Well, he certainly shouldn’t listen to it, because it doesn’t gain any conditional validity, but he might be charitable.

          3. You have slayed a mighty man of straw.

            You have slain a mighty man of straw OR you slew a mighty man of straw, you philistine.

            1. I may be a hillbilly from West Virginia with an 8th grade education, but I know how to spell slain!

        2. I merely recognize that a lot of people aren’t worth what they make, and a lot of people have gotten rich through unethical means.

          Jooooos!

        3. Is the guy who is making $20 million really going to be unable to retire because of that nasty, evil, looting, statist, slaver 50% tax rate? Unlikely.

          No, but your average worker might be unable to retire when you have to raise his taxes to make up for the lost revenues from all the investment you chased overseas.

        4. ” I merely recognize that a lot of people aren’t worth what they make, and a lot of people have gotten rich through unethical means.”

          Joooooos!!!!

        5. “I merely recognize that a lot of people aren’t worth what they make, and a lot of people have gotten rich through unethical means.”

          INOW….Jew Bankerzzz!!

        6. “Let’s say I wanted to raise the highest tax level to around 50% or so on income / capital gains over $20,000,000 while lowering the taxes paid by everyone else.”

          Then you’d increase the deficit since 50% capital gains tax would lower revenues, you idiot. See Clinton, Bill.

          1. Then you’d increase the deficit since 50% capital gains tax would lower revenues, you idiot. See Clinton, Bill.

            You seem frustrated.

            1. Yes, your idiocy is very frustrating.

        7. I merely recognize that a lot of people aren’t worth what they make

          As determined by who? You? We have markets for that sort of thing. And they tend to do a lot better job than some miserably envious little fuckstick armchair dictator behind a computer screen.

    3. What if I believe in higher taxes for the wealthy, lower taxes for the poor and middle class, and smaller government? Can I still play with the libertarians on the playground?

      No, taxation is a form of coercion. You’d probably try to steal our new toys.

      1. Taxation is also unavoidable because there will always be a group of men with the monopoly on organized violence who will use it as a license to steal.

    4. What if I believe in higher taxes for the wealthy, lower taxes for the poor and middle class, and smaller government? Can I still play with the libertarians on the playground?

      It seems to me that equality before the law is an important libertarian political belief.

      1. It seems to me that equality before the law is an important libertarian political belief.

        I’m not a libertarian, though.

        1. Then why are you asking to be in our playground?

          Back to your earlier point, who decides what is too much income? Who decides what is too little income? You ask the man on the street and he makes to little to be taxed but that guy over there, makes too much and needs to be taxes; no matter what their incomes.

          It is a vindictive policy that turns people against each other.

          1. “It is a vindictive policy that turns people against each other.”

            That’s his bread and butter.

          2. Then why are you asking to be in our playground?

            “Our” playground? That sounds a little collectivist, comrade. Don’t you mean “the privately-owned and operated sections of a playground”?

            It is a vindictive policy that turns people against each other.

            Vindictive? No, I do not desire to punish the wealthy. My goals are simple: reduce the national debt, fund infrastructure projects, and reduce the tax burden on those who aren’t part of the elite.

            1. “My goals are simple: reduce the national debt, fund infrastructure projects, and reduce the tax burden on those who aren’t part of the elite.”

              Don’t forget killing some muslim sharia law sandniggers and kicking them damned wetbacks out of Amurika!

              1. Don’t forget killing some muslim sharia law sandniggers

                I advocate a peaceful foreign policy.

                kicking them damned wetbacks out of Amurika!

                Only the illegal ones.

            2. “My goals are simple: reduce the national debt, fund infrastructure projects, and reduce the tax burden on those who aren’t part of the elite.”

              GIMMIE FREE SHIT (roadz edition)!

            3. “‘Our’ playground? That sounds a little collectivist, comrade.”

              Your words dude. You still haven’t explained how taxing high incomes is going to in any way reduce the national debt. The only thing it will accomplish is wealth destruction. All you’ve given us so far is “look at those rich people. It’s not fair.” What’s not fair is certain people having their earnings confiscated at your whim or the whims of the majority. It’s pretty damn narcissitic to believe that others exist for your use.

              1. The only thing it will accomplish is wealth destruction.

                Which is the point, because the wealthy are eeeeeeeevil and exploit the worker. Marx may have been just as big an idiot, but at least he was straightforward and articulate about it.

        2. Plus equality under the law gets in the way of kicking those damned wetbacks out of this country and keeping them from stealing jerbz! from white rednecks who dropped out of high school.

        3. “I’m not a libertarian, though.”

          No, you’re a class warrior who think white rednecks who dropped out of high school shouldn’t have to pay any taxes.

          1. I don’t know what being white has to do with it.

            1. Rick, is Mary in there? I want to talk to Mary.

  8. Hey, Chapman, careful there, bud. Don’t you know being counter-intuivy is the leading cause of brain cancer amongst America’s opinion columnist? Especially when you have a huge presumption built in to your argument. Did those Clinton rates generate more revenue than the Bush and Reagan rates? Why, no they didn’t. Revenue almost doubled under Reagan, and W has the unbeaten record of bringing in 2.6 trillion in ’07. If your goal is to pay down this debt, you certainly wouldn’t want to raise the rates cause guess what brother, I and millions of Americans are not yours nor the Free Shit Fairy’s cash cow. I can guarandamntee you if rates are raised I and other tax abused Americans will be contributing less next year than in the previous eight given the extra effort necessary to keep individual rates low there is no reason to just skim on the raised rates.

    So, stop with this unserious counter intuivty jive. That’s just a victory for molecular level brain cell damage that you just handed Cancer.

    1. “guess what brother, I and millions of Americans are not yours nor the Free Shit Fairy’s cash cow.”

      ^This (times 1000)

  9. under Clinton, the higher income rates were balanced by a reduction in cap gains tax rates. AND, there was a GOP majority dedicated to cutting spending. The current situation offers neither a president offering lower capital gains taxes nor a GOP serious about spending reductions.

    1. This GOP majority dedicated to cutting spending only said it was dedicated. They engaged in some theatrics, but they never cut spending at all, they just slowed the rate of growth down a little bit. But the GOP has no interest in actually cutting spending, just in pretending they do.

      1. Yes, they set up an awesome combination of cuts to defense spending and domestic discrectionary spending and now they bitch and moan and don’t want to go through with it.

  10. I wonder if there isn’t an opposite effort to “starve the beast”* that leads congressmen to spend as much as possible to force higher taxes. I find that at least as plausible as voters having such fine grained control of legislation that they are able to demand broad tax cuts, then widespread spending.

    More likely, the voting population is not of one mind and it is impossible to get a coherent message from it.

    * – no, not “gorge the beast”, whose aim is to hasten a believed inevitable collapse

  11. “Tax increases force us to pay something closer to the real cost of government, which dampens demand for it.”

    That would likely be true in the case of the Clinton tax increases, but those were tax increases across the board. If we’re only talking about tax increases for the top income bracket though, I don’t see that having a dampening effect on the demand for federal goodies.

    1. let ALL the Bush-era rates expire. Folks need to see in their paychecks some reflection of the cost of the govt they claim to want. Unless and until the masses feel some pain, nothing will be done on spending.

      1. We are not the government, and the government’s priorities and habits are not necessarily reflected in us.

  12. To be fair to Chapman, the Niskanen study is rather convincing.

    But Niskanen advocated for a balanced budget amendment.

    1. He wants to starve teh childrunz? But why?

  13. So supporting higher taxes on economic producers will inevitably make the more than 50% of the country who bear none of the cost of government spending (at all), want to cut government? When the top 10% of income earners are taxed more heavily, their votes magically count more than the rest of the of the mob, or does the mob magically feel the cost burden of government when a maligned group of producers are made to shoulder the federal budget? Which is it, Chapman?

    1. Of course their votes count more. Citizens United, dude.

      1. Ugh. Sarc tags don’t work.

  14. “Like Niskanen, I find statistically significant evidence that low levels of federal revenues actually stimulate expenditure growth,” he wrote in The Cato Journal in 2009.

    Is this a strained use of “Granger causality”? Because otherwise there is a conspicuous lack of coherent mechanism set out that would allow us to start hypothesizing about some causal chain. There is some vague and obviously asymmetrical, It’s not hard to see why. Americans are more likely to support a bigger federal budget if they don’t have to pay the full cost each year. That would of course be true whether or not there are low levels of federal revenues, more or less of a deficit. It does not explain anything at all. More probably there are structural factors underneath and jointly determining both expenditure growth cycles and revenue patterns.

  15. At this point, I’ll take taxes today anytime of any day over racking up more debt. And I’ll take spending cuts anytime of any day over more taxes.

    If politicians are truly unwilling to enact spending cuts to avoid debt (and let’s be realistic, guys – they won’t), I’d rather pay now instead of paying more later where interest is added and currency is devalued and watch voters suddenly become much more in favor of cutting spending.

    1. Taxes versus debt is kind of a false choice. Either way, government is absorbing the same amount of wealth out of the economy. Taxes only make people more aware of the drain.

      Only reducing spending will reduce the wealth drain.

      1. Yep. And raising taxes enables more spending.

        1. So does raising the debt limit and printing more cash. Same wealth-soaking result.

          1. But raising taxes won’t lower debt spending. If they can run a $1T deficit at $3T revenues, they’ll run a $1T deficit at $4T revenues as well.

            1. Either way, the absolute size of the government crushes the economy.

            2. The hope is that maybe, just maybe a crushing tax burden would wake voters the fact up and make them realize that their free shit ain’t free.

    2. Unfortunately, Prop, the deal you are being offered is more taxes, more spending, and more debt.

      Its that “balanced” approach the Prez keeps talking about, see?

  16. This article is simply idiotic! It’s a perfect example of The dangers of a non critical thinking, pragmatic approach Over one founded on solid Principles. In fact it’s Another example of the Malthusian fallacy.

    One might posit, to borrow the previous hypothetical, that only when neighborhood businesses in fact PAY the increase in Mafia protection money, do they see heightened concern for crime and prostitution in their neighborhoods and thus more police and citizen action to stop it, precisely because the Mafia increases its investment in crime from the additional revenue, thus the way to effectively battle crime, drugs and hookers is to pay more to the Mafia! But, like Malthus, this thinking is correct only for that exact moment, only for those STATIC values and heavy dependencies. Once anything changes, once any actor in the system steps outside of Chapman’s construed reality, the effect changes and the value of the Malthusian argument crumbles!

    The fact is that an uneducated public with voting power is no justification for more government power, more power of violence and coercion. As Paine said goverent is an evil, and no favorable short-term effect justifies more evil, or more Mafia! The author would find his time better spent actually trying to show the libtards the sociopathy of their diseased views rather than playing with a valueless Malthusian argument.

    Principle must always be the foundation of action!

  17. Is it possible this relationship is due to Lord Keynes? When revenues are down, it could be a result of recession, making the Feds think they should spend more $$. When the economy is humming along, they still increase spending , but not by as much.

  18. We fought two wars without raising taxes to pay for them. If Americans had known that invading Iraq was going to cost them real money, right away, they http://www.sparklebaileybowuggsclearance.com/ would have said: No, thanks.

  19. Once anything changes, once any actor in the system steps outside of Chapman’s construed reality, the effect changes and the value of the http://www.cheapbeatsbydreonau.com/ Malthusian argument crumbles!

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