A Top Republican's Ingenious Plan to Shrink Government

Good stuff from Sarabeth Guthberg at 1115.org (via Steve Benen) taking apart Senator Kyl (R-AZ) for his most recent bit of idiocy about taxes. The second ranking Republican in the Senate told the world that he believes there is no reason to offset the cost of tax cuts. His comments drew a lot of attention, and so he tried to explain himself. Sarabeth goes to town on his clarification.

"First of all, o confused eminent personage of the Republican persuasion, the question wasn’t how to offset increased spending, the question was how to offset reduced tax collections.

Secondly, increased spending gets offset by reduced savings? If the government spends more and saves less, that’s a deficit-neutral plan? This entirely backward “reasoning” explains a hell of a bloody lot, doesn’t it, about why the deficit and the national debt got to where it is?

Thirdly, even if the master plan is to shrink government — in fact, especially if the master plan is to shrink government — the budget effect of a tax cut has to be offset. Kyl doesn’t even seem to realize that the deficit-shrinking tool kit includes spending cuts. Or that, if you want to shrink the government, it’s not enough to cut taxes, you have to bloody well cut spending too. Then, and only then, does the government shrink. And — this will probably come as a very rude shock to the guy, so as an act of Christian charity, we should make sure that Jon Kyl is sitting down when this is broken to him — the spending cut offsets the tax cut, to make it deficit-neutral."

Well said.

Of course, this is nothing new for Kyl who routinely sponsors horrible estate tax legislation and just a few months back tried hanging the unemployed out to dry to get his way. But the problem goes deeper than Kyl. Ezra Klein gets sad by paying attention to Mitch McConnel (R-KY) and finding that the problem is endemic to Republican leadership in the Senate.

For the record, that's the two highest ranking Senate Republicans (and in McConnel's words, "the view of virtually every Republican") denying the existence of facts about taxes.

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