Why Do Republicans Think Deficit Spending is Preferable To Increasing Taxes?

How can Bush and Congressional Republicans justify running up huge deficits to pay for the war in Iraq? At least when Democrats want to indulge their core agenda by increasing spending on social programs, they have the guts to raise taxes to pay for it. Whether you are for the war or against it, it is just reckless to commit to spending hundreds of billions of dollars to invade Iraq, but avoid taking the responsibility to pay for it.

If conservatives are in favor of keeping more money in the pockets of the people who earn it, why are they in such a hurry to incur long term debts that will incur massive interest payments, when paying for it now with increased taxes will be cheaper? I learned long ago that the indiscriminate use of credit is a trap that inevitably comes back to haunt you. It is too bad that a president surrounded dozens of economic advisors can’t learn the same lesson without making the rest of us pay for his education.

It flies in the face of the conservative mantra about personal accountability when the President refuses to accept the consequences of his actions by evading the tough decision to raise taxes to pay for the war, thus saddling future generations massive debt. He is acting like a drunken frat boy with his daddy’s credit card, pursuing his political goals without regard to where the money is coming from, or the long-term effect on the economy.

It is arrogant hypocrisy to demand responsibility of others without having the courage to practice it yourself. Bush is a political coward with out the stones to accept that war costs money, and the responsible thing to do is to raise taxes to pay for it. Yes, raising taxes is politically difficult; but mortgaging the economic future of our children for political expediency is immoral, and belies this president’s weak character, and his unwillingness to bear the consequences of his actions.

Apparently it isn’t just Republicans. Former Clinton cabinet member Robert Reich seems to favor as wellthis approach

Wow. Only five minutes until Clinton got dragged in to justify Republican deficits. If the other kids jump off a cliff, does that means you will too? Just another example of how Republicans avoid taking responsibility for their actions ("But Ma, the others kids do it too!).

I don’t know about Republicans, but I myself fear raising taxes much more than deficit spending. At least the latter can be reversed in the future. Once tax rates are raised, it’s extremely difficult to lower them. The gov’t typically spends all it takes in, and then a bit more. The deficit is the price we pay to keep spending from going even higher. I hate to have to be that cynical, but it’s reality.

How do you “reverse” a deficit, without paying the principal, plus a hefty interest payment? And where does that money come from, your pocket or your children’s? That’s not a very responsible legacy to leave them.

Well sure, I agree with you about deficit spending in the sense of increasing government expeditures. But what’s being proposed now isn’t increasing government spending (which is what was done the last time Keynesianism was called into the fray) but cutting taxes. The only way to reverse that in the future is to raise taxes, which no one wants to do. In fact, I’d argue (from no basis but my personal feelings) that it’s easier to cut taxes that had been raised than vice versa.

I suppose the idea is that you pay the debt (note: reversing the deficit - as opposed to the debt - doesn’t require interest payments; it simply means that we stop spending more than we take in) when the economy is doing better, so the money is more readily available. Currently, money borrowed is being borrowed at ridiculously low interest rates, thanks to recent monetary policy, so paying back the debt isn’t all that odious.

To me, the problem arises (as I pointed out in my earlier post) from trying to fix the deficit once taxes have been cut. But a discussion on this would take this thread way off into hijack-land, so that’s the last I’m going to say on this subject.

Funny, that’s how I see Democrats beaving. No opportunity is passed on to say “but Bush/Reagan/Etc. did it first!”
But in this particular case, if you weren’t busy jerking your knee so high that you broke your nose, you might have read the original OP, which stated:

"At least when Democrats want to indulge their core agenda by increasing spending on social programs, they have the guts to raise taxes to pay for it.", whereupon the first replier brought up a statement that no, not all Democrats believe this is true or a good idea, and sometimes agree with the Republican notion of deficit spending.

So it would seem that bayonet1976’s post had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with “Clinton Bashing,” and you’re just looking for an excuse to throw your hands in the air and let loose an exasperated sigh at the stupidity of people who don’t think exactly like you.

Yes deficit spending is perfectly acceptable when the FRB has run out of rope. But it is commonly understood by the economists that such spending should be of a constructive nature, such as infrastructure, corporate incentives, heck, even tax breaks (To a lesser degree). You’d have to scroll quite a ways down the list of choices on defecit spending to find war and dividend tax cuts.

MilTan:

"But what’s being proposed now isn’t increasing government spending "

Are you saying that the 2004 budget is SMALLER than the 2003 budget? If not, I’d say expeditures are increasing. I should have been more careful to say that I don’t like either deficit spending or tax increases. Unfortunately I haven’t seen any evidence that politicians can refrain from both. In that case, I’d prefer deficits.

John: That wasn’t what I meant with that post. Agreed that the actual government budget is going up. But the Keynesianism being invoked isn’t being used as a justification for government spending increases - rather, it is being used to justify tax cuts. So the “proposal” that I mentioned dealt mainly with how Keynesian ideas were to be implemented. Sorry if that was unclear.

I encourage you to read my post again and please explain where I use “Clinton…to justify Republican deficits”. If you note the date of the article Reich is clearly talking about this administration’s deficit spending. I thought I was adding to the discourse by pointing out that deficit spending is an idea embraced by both sides of the political aisle. Your knee jerk response is making me reevaluate the wisdom of participating in this thread, as well as your motives for starting it.

Is your contention that the only reason we’re running deficits is due to the war and dividend tax cuts? Neither of which has taken place yet?

I think it’s ridiculous to posit that if politicians give the people their [mmmmmm]sweet tax break[/mmmmmm] that government spending will magically decrease to match it.

Not saying that you’re saying that, John, but some people think thats the only way to “rein in” spending. Problem is, IF people are only going to vote for people who will give them stuff, they will still vote for people who will give them stuff and lower taxes, too.

Gov’t spending will not magically decrease, but it will increase LESS.

Fear Itself:

I will treat you and your hyperbolic claims and vitriol as they deserve.

Republicans do not believe the things that you say they do with your gratuitous false assertions.

If you are neither mature, not intelligent, nor informed enough to understand what is actually going on than it behooves you to ask your questions in an honest and forthright manner, and not act like a wiseass who thinks he’s making points.

It is a theoretically sound policy to raise taxes in a booming economy, and lower them during a recession regardless of your political affiliation.

I doubt that’s what Nurse Carmen meant. However, dividend tax cuts have been promoted as something that will help the economy by putting more money into the system, a decidedly Keynesian outlook. I don’t know if this was Carmen’s intial point, but it seems to me that if you are going to kowtow to Keynesianism (I appear to be trying to set some sort of record for the number of times I’ve typed “Keynesianism” in the past half hour), dividend tax cuts are generally not the way to do it.

For what it’s worth, I think that the Republicans are justifying this with the concept of less tax rates= more economic activity=
more total taxes.
Besides, the mere fact that an administration is willing to borrow money to finance a war/social program/whatever is beside the point. This country’s administrations have always done it and always will. We’ve managed to pay off those debts and always will. Is it cheaper to raise the money first (via higher tax rates)? Dunno; that’s out of my league.

As has been mentioned before, a very strong reason to run deficits in a situation like this is to reign in government spending. I dare say that if not for the tax cuts, spending would have increased to the point where we were still running deficits. Then, it would be explained as “Well, we’re in a recession, we have no choice.”

Overspending is a bigger problem then deficits. Once a program is in place, it’s next to impossible to kill it, or even lower funding. Typically, when you read about funds for a project being cut, it really means that it’s getting less of a spending increase then it was going to originally. If the Dept. of Education was supposed to get a 12% raise, and instead it only gets 8%, then hey… “Dept. of Education sees massive cuts!” In that sense, budget increases are much more permanent than deficits. The debt can be paid down. The budget is here to stay.

Basically, by lowering taxes, the government has less money to blow. In the long term, this is a good thing. In fact, from a long term standpoint, I would wager that the cost of a war on Iraq would help things out. Costs of a war are one thing you can rely on to disappear in the future. Because the war will divert funds from other projects (and likely less important projects - all the important stuff is going to get its money no matter what), non-war related spending will go down. When the war is over, spending is at a lower point. Assuming Congress doesn’t have a massive spending orgy at that time, overall government expenditures will be lower in the future than they would have been had the war not happened - in the long term, the government will end up spending far less. That’s always a good thing.
Jeff

Toaster- how can you say we’ve managed to pay off these debts and always will? The only way to pay the national debt is to run a surplus- something Republicans have been unable or unwilling to do since Ike. If I’m not mistaken, the only surpluses generated since Eisenhower have been under Democratic presidents.

The Republicans run every single election chanting the mantra of cutting taxes. They control the Congress and the White House (and the Supreme Court)- so why don’t they figure out what the tax rates ought to be, make it so, and move on?