The one positive thing that I can say about Jon Kyl’s and Mitch McConnell’s collective unabashed erroneousness is that maybe the crap they catch for saying this will chase some of these ideas out of the Right’s pooled consciousness. They are both wrong about literally all of what they said — tax cuts should be offset by spending cuts because they don’t pay for themselves. As Bruce Bartlett noted, the only way these theories are defensible is if these cats are badly explaining their subscribing to “Starve the Beast” theory, which is not exactly substantiated by the historical record. Tax cuts have basically never been accompanied by spending cuts, which means the important baby kissers in Washington have no problem digging deeper and deeper into the mineshaft that is our public debt to finance their spending sprees.
So: can conservatives stop proffering this stuff? Please? These ideas undermine the conservative position for basically everything because they undermine the idea that conservatives know what they’re talking about / care about our budget deficit. The size of government is important, but so are balance sheets. We may face a fiscal crisis before the decade is out, and if debt becomes as big of a public concern as many think it will be, and the public doesn’t trust conservatives to at least try — or even know how — to reduce the deficit, then the GOP is not going to win any elections. That means the deficit will be dealt with the way the Left wants to deal with it. And that, ladies and gentlemen, means higher taxes. To resume: if you like low taxes, then don’t endorse these ideas.
To conclude, I offer these words from Reihan Salam: “If the public is convinced that we can afford high levels of spending by cutting taxes and contributing to the vibrancy of the economy, the case for restraining the growth of public spending collapses.”