Matt Continetti defends Rovism:

Republicans must be careful as they trim expenses. Otherwise they'll fall into the austerity trap.

In the austerity trap, Republican congressmen get so outraged over earmarks to fund studies of the mating patterns of red-bellied newts, they neglect legislation that would foster long-term growth. Deficit anxiety causes conservative lawmakers to rule out sensible policies like a payroll tax cut. A myopic focus on government spending causes Republican leaders to short-change the defense budget and renege on America's global responsibilities. The entitlement nightmare frightens GOP candidates into framing their economic agenda in strictly negative terms.

Matt Welch cries foul:

What should Republican lawmakers do instead? Roll back "nondefense discretionary spending to pre-TARP levels" (thereby locking in George W. Bush's 60 percent hike). Maybe plug in "a simple formula to contain spending" (so advanced–it's simple!). Add in a vague "tackling the entitlement problem," spiced with a promising if politically inconceivable "tossing Obamacare onto the scrap-heap and replacing it with policies that emphasize portability, choice, and competition," and voila! You can move on to the serious and more detailed business of cutting taxes.

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