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Monday, July 18, 2005

The Good Old Clinton Budget Days

Kevin Hassett of Bloomberg comments that as we argue over the wisdom of tax cuts, spending is continuing at a record pace.  In the process, he comes down with a case of nostalgia:

Bring Back Clinton -- Just His Spending Habits: Kevin Hassett, Bloomberg: Bring back the Clinton administration. Well, maybe not all of it, but at least its spending habits.  … Spending growth under George W. Bush has been almost four times as high as it was during the same period of Bill Clinton's presidency.  No two-term president in post-war U.S. history has ever presided over a spending binge this monumental in his first six years in office. ... If Bush had vowed when he took office to never spend more than Clinton planned to, then the budget office would be projecting a 10-year surplus of about $3.6 trillion, even assuming that all of the Bush tax cuts are made permanent.  Instead, based on Bush's proposed 2006 budget, we are looking at a 10-year deficit of $2.6 trillion. Tax cuts didn't cause the deficit. At best, they approximately paid for themselves. Spending is the true culprit. … From the education bill to the prescription drug benefit to the war on terror, spending has spun out of control.  If we want to put our fiscal house in order, we need to stop arguing over taxes and bring back the Clinton spending.

I disagree with his demonstration that tax cuts paid for themselves and that therefore the deficit is attributable solely to spending, not to tax cuts.  Nothing he says establishes a causal relationship, only an association, but the remarks on spending are notable. As he clearly shows, the "cut taxes and spend party" lives up to its name.

    Posted by on Monday, July 18, 2005 at 02:34 PM in Budget Deficit, Economics, Taxes | Permalink  TrackBack (0)  Comments (6)

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