Utne Blogs > Politics

Once Upon a Time . . .

by Will Wlizlo

Tags: tax cuts, fiscal conservatism, Reaganomics, David Stockman, politics, Mother Jones, Will Wlizlo,


In these dark times, a whole cavalry of fiscally conservative knights quest to slay the civil-liberty-scorching, deficit-belching dragon of Big Government and save our miserly populace from economic terror. But these gallant soldiers are all armed alike: with threats of tax cuts and illusions of grandeur. Quixotically, the fiscal conservatives will face the dragon and, like those before them, perish. Enraged, the dragon will mete out vengeance on the hapless, defenseless commoners. Or at least that’s how the tax-cut fairytale goes, argues former Reagan budget director David Stockman.

Although not a Democrat, Stockman’s views on budget-balancing and deficit reduction—as profiled by Mother Jones—are entirely out sync with the Republican Party’s. And what’s more, Stockman sees the cut-and-spend strategies of contemporary conservatives as grossly adulterated Reaganomics. Mother Jones’ David Corn summarizes Stockman’s account of authentic Reagan-era tax policy:

Corn clarifies that Reagan did jointly cut taxes and spending, but the culture of tax reduction grew much faster than the culture of expenditure slimming. Reagan would go on to pass a number of tax hikes to jump-start the economy. The result, argues Corn, was ideologically consequential:

Any respectable, armchair dragon-slayer should offer solutions of their own. Stockman’s suggestion to regain fiscal sanity? “First, cut military spending by $100 to $150 billion a year [. . .] His second point is classic deficit-hawkery: Apply a means test to Medicare and Social Security. His third: ‘Massively raise taxes.’”

Source: Mother Jones 

Image by alexpolotsky, licensed under Creative Commons.