This should go without saying

By Megan McArdle

But indeed, it hasn't, since I've already said it, and no one has noticed. I am not fighting for the Bush tax cuts; I'm fighting the notion that people who are in favor of tax cuts are all a bunch of liars or loonie tunes. Politicians in favor of tax cuts are all liars, as are all the politicians against tax cuts; in politics, lying is, sadly, the stable equilibrium. But most politicians are not loons; and most of their economics advisors are sober and intelligent fellows.

Apart from the capital gains tax cuts, of which I am in favor and stand foursquare in favor of continuing, I don't particularly care about the tax cuts one way or another. Economically, I don't think they made much difference either way; socially, I think the contribution to increasing either income or consumption inequality will end up being trivial (since the rich will eventually pay whatever tax increases are necessary to pay off the relevant bonds); personally, I'd like to pay lower taxes; ideologically, I think the government spends to much money on things it shouldn't; but morally, I think that once we've voted for spending, we've already got the tax, and having created the tax, we ought to do the manly thing and pay it ourselves.

Overall, I'm mildly in favor of ratcheting back the Bush tax cuts, starting with the income breaks for the wealthiest brackets, until we hit budget balance. But on my list of policy priorities it's somewhere around "What shall we do about France?"

I expect that we will get a Democratic president in 2008, and (s)he will raise taxes, which will be fine, except (s)he will also play with the capital gains tax, which won't be fine, and will furthermore spend the money on programs I dislike, which won't be fine at all, instead of reducing our national debt or further closing the budget deficit or doing something about our future entitlement problems. And unless that president takes on something like a gas tax, or serious tax simplification, or (on the negative side) promises a zillion stupid tax credits, I will have about the same level of interest in their tax policy as I do in George Bush's, which is not overmuch. It's spending I care about.

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http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2007/09/this-should-go-without-saying/1876/