The Straw Man Party

Cato's Daniel Mitchell complains that James Surowiecki and others are arguing against a "straw-man" when we debunk claims that cutting taxes under present circumstances will increase revenue, or that raising them will decrease revenue. He does concede though, that "a lot of Republican politicians don’t fully understand the issue, so they overstate the case."

But to restate the point with emphasis, this group of "a lot of Republicans" includes the President of the United States, George W. Bush. It also include Dick Cheney, Vice President of the United States. And it includes John Boehner, minority leader of the United States House of Representatives. It includes Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City who's currently leading national polls for the Republican Party's presidential nomination. It includes United States Senator John McCain, another major presidential candidate. Former Senator Fred Thompson also supports this "straw man" view.

But when a view gets this level of support it doesn't count as arguing against a straw man to argue against it. The saddest thing is that someone like Mitt Romney who, presumably influenced by Greg Mankiw, won't come out and explicitly endorse Lafferism nonetheless refuses to attack his primary opponents for their adherence to it. The view of the less-crazed wings of the GOP is that the crazier ones are so all-powerful that one daren't challenge them.