"You Can't Cut Your Way to Prosperity."

I'm really impressed with this new line from the President. It's so perfect. It's obviously wrong, in fact the very opposite of true, but it sounds so good. It's a masterpiece of the genre.

If you have income of X and expenses of X+Y, cutting is an excellent way to prosperity. It may be the only road to prosperity. This is so obvious that I feel a little odd even saying it: the line from the White House is so obviously out of order with reality that it makes you feel as if you must be missing something to challenge it.

Nor is it clear whose prosperity is meant in any case. The line is being deployed in service of proposed additional tax hikes, which means that we can't be talking about the prosperity of individual families. We must be talking about some sort of collective prosperity. But the government has never had, and will never have, enough to ensure that everyone is prosperous. This was the entire lesson of the Cold War. Only a robust market can ensure widespread prosperity, and while the market needs some regulations to function smoothly, a heavy tax burden is harmful to it.

Of course, not everything coming out of Washington is so carefully scripted as this masterpiece from the White House. Sometimes plain honest sentiments do make their way into the discourse.


E Hines said...

...so carefully scripted....

Frankly, I think that's part of the Republicans' failure. They're incapable/too lazy/don't understand the issues/etc so that they cannot make a coherent argument of what they're about.

Or they're as thin-skinned as they claim Progressives are and can only respond in this way, rather than with coherent argument on the issues at hand.

Witness, also, their response to Obama's taunts--before the tax "deal" was in front of the Senate--that he'd broken them on their no tax hike pledge. They feigned outrage and then meekly voted up his tax hikes.

We're in for a long interregnum of one-party rule from which our country may never recover.

Eric Hines

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Well, we abandoned the Republicans because they weren't conservative enough for us, so now they're deflated and we're saying it's their fault. Not enough married white guys voted. They stayed home. That the GOP would dare try and appeal to moderates just insulted us too much.

Conservatives love to lose elections and blame everyone else. I have concluded that we don't really want power, we want to complain from the sidelines and posture how much better we are.

Tom said...

AVI, that theory certainly seems to explain a lot of the evidence.

As for 'you can't cut your way to prosperity,' I think 'war on women' worked out so well for them they thought they'd try another absurdity.

Dad29 said...

Records fall.

Jimmuh Carter used to be the Worst President Evah.

And Bill Clinton used to be the Best Liar Evah.

Both eclipsed by one man, in only a few years.

Sic transit....

Texan99 said...

"The market needs some regulations to function smoothly" -- that's almost as bad. The regulations have a purpose, but it's not to keep the market functioning "smoothly" -- a silky metaphor that covers a multitude of policy sins.

But of course in every other way I couldn't agree with you more. The only sense in which it's not lunacy to say we can't cut our way to prosperity is the same one in which it's true that we can't tax our way to prosperity: the path to prosperity does not lie through shrinking the private sphere. That means we can't suck more money out of the private sphere and dump it into the public one. Still, if the private sphere is excessively dependent on unrepayable debt, it has to shrink back to what the actual resources and production can cover, eventually, before it can enjoy real growth and prosperity again.

Grim said...

Tex, re: "smoothly," I was thinking of the point Mr. Romney made during the recent debates. Asked about regulation, he pointed out that a businessman needed government regulation to some degree: he needed rules he could rely upon.

That's part of the problem of uncertainty that is bedeviling the recovery: we're changing the rules too fast, and too often, and in ways that aren't predictable. That impairs the smooth operation of the market.