I'm at Reason magazine's headquarters, watching the debate. Sudden switch to the economy, not surprisingly. My first thought is that I don't understand why the moderator is letting McCain and Obama talk about their budget proposal as if there is a snowball's chance in hell that they will be enacting any of these plans. They won't. The current crisis has blown any chance of big spending plans or tax cuts. Even without the bailout package, America's tax revenues are going to look pretty anemic next year. As goes Wall Street, so go income taxes.
I say that not in the "what is good for GM is good for America sense"; it's just an empirical observation. The Clinton surpluses were entirely capital-gains based. Bush's happy surprises were buoyed by stock options and executive bonus packages, almost all of which is in stock. So if the stock market is down next year, hello massive deficit.
If we add another $250 billion for bank bailouts, we're talking about cutting spending and raising taxes, not merely standing pat. And right now, that seems like the most likely future to me.
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