Harold Ford Jr.'s Fuzzy Math

The man pondering a New York Senate bid snaps his fingers, hopes tax cuts, deficit reduction, and jobs will appear

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The last time Harold Ford Jr. teamed up with the New York Times he was berated for sounding like a yuppie and an opportunist. This time around it's his notions about taxation and deficits that are getting him into trouble. In his Monday column "Democrats, Get Down to Business," he advises cutting taxes, creating jobs and reducing the federal deficit--a proposition that has some scratching their heads.

The first barb comes from Atrios who zeroes in on a potential contradiction: "Harold Ford thinks we should cut taxes and cut the deficit and that the federal government should shrink in size and create jobs. And that's how stupid you have to be to write an op-ed for our elite papers."

Meanwhile, Mark Thoma at Economist's View gets in the weeds:

To the extent that there would be any job creation effects from these tax cut policies, and some types of tax cuts could help a bit, they are likely to be more than offset by the deficit reduction and his other policy recommendations that work in the opposite direction. Does he really think voters will reward Democrats for making unemployment worse through deficit reduction? With friends like these, who needs Republicans?

Joining the choir, Matt Yglesias at Think Progress wonders if Ford's column "is some kind of dada performance art or part of a real senate campaign":

The problem, of course, is that the deficit is outlays minus revenue. To make the deficit smaller, you can't also make revenues smaller. The math isn't difficult.
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