Kevin D. Williamson fights back against the Church Of Norquist and for a reality-based fiscal conservatism:

I myself do not favor a VAT; I’m a flat-income-tax guy, myself. But, as I always insist, taxes are secondary. Every dollar you spend is a dollar that has to be raised in taxes, eventually. There is no way around that, Sunshine. You can clap as hard as you want, but Tinkerbell still has to fill out a 1040. Can I imagine a universe in which a VAT is preferable to our current system? Yes, I can. But the problem is not the engineering of the revenue code -- it is spendthrift congressmen of both parties.

So, no, I don’t favor a VAT. But I also do not favor letting conservatives’ position be defined by magical thinking -- magical thinking of precisely the sort that already has destroyed the Republican party’s credibility on fiscal restraint and has undermined the conservative movement’s credibility in the process.

The GOP has been listening to the likes of ATR for a generation, buying into the canard that they can do the feel-good stuff (cutting taxes) without worrying too much about the hard part (cutting spending). The results are all around you, and they are dismaying ...

The fact that Mr. Ellis would use the word “apostasy” to describe my thinking and Andrew’s on the issue is telling: We’re supposed to accept his vision on faith, in spite of three decades’ worth of evidence (or more) that cutting taxes while allowing spending to run wild is a recipe for ruination.

Ryan Ellis can stamp his feet all day, but the evidence speaks for itself: Santa Claus is no fiscal conservative, and no model of responsible governance. Taxing and spending are the same issue, and Ellis is on the wrong side of it.

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