Bizarre Alternate Reality

Kevin Drum is claiming that the government has already done much fine work on deficit reduction, reducing spending by $1.8 trillion and increasing taxes by $600 billion.

This is fantasy, pure and simple, and perhaps why the term "reality-based community" has fallen out of favor among Progressives.   There has been and will likely be no reduction in spending -- these "spending cuts" are merely reductions in spending growth rates from the Administration's initial wet dream spending proposals. I am sure the tax increases are probably real, but Obama and the Congress were already proposing to spend most of those in new stimulus and other boondoggles right in the end of year tax legislation.

The tax numbers are characteristic of the stupid budget games played by both parties.   For example, the recent tax law represents a tax increase over law in place on 12/31/2012, but represents a massive tax cut vs. law set to be in place on 1/1/2013.  This gives the administration cover to call it both!  When it wants to portray itself as a deficit hawk, as in this case, it was a tax increase.  When it wants to portray itself as being populist, it was a tax cut.

Charts like this are absolutely worthless.  We will likely get deficit reduction over the next few years, but it will be entirely due to rising tax revenues from an improving economy.

And here we are back to my constant theme -- if you want to posit a trend, then show the trend.


  1. tjic:

    I continue to be slightly surprised that the Republicans, who at least do fund-raising based on the idea that they like smaller budgets, never propose "let's go back to the taxing and spending levels of DEMOCRAT president X". In this case X would be Clinton. It seems like it would be decent PR.

    ...but then again, what do I know about the incentives?

  2. David:

    I would be thrilled if we could go back to the levels found in, say, 1999. Heck, we could party!

  3. jimbeaux:

    I've never understood the point Democrats try to make regarding tax increases. If they believe that taxes should be raised, is there anything preventing them from paying extra taxes? Republicans don't have the same option - believing in lower tax rates doesn't give them the right to pay less taxes. But why can't these wealthy and middle class Democrats, who want to take more of my paycheck from me and my family, go ahead and send in an extra 10% or so? Frankly, my family's financial pain is bad enough - I don't like this "Share the pain" idea that seems so popular.

  4. SamWah:

    I said a few posts up from here that I did not find KD arguments believable. This is an example.