Monday, May 03, 2010


Steve Chapman's latest article takes Sarah Palins plan to shrink the Government to task.
Palin's idea, a favorite among small-government advocates, is that the best way to shrink Washington is a permanent regimen of low taxes.
Simple. Dishonest but simple.

Why dishonest? Because it avoids the real question, which is what programs are necessary. An honest discussion would determine if programs like School Lunches or the National Endowment for the Arts or Apache Helicoptors for the Military are necessary (I think they are all useful) and then determining how much money we need to acquire to fund said programs. But that would require Congress-critters and others to actually sit down and think about what programs are useful, and explain to their constituents that if they want this or that program, they need to pay for it.

As it turns out, the plan to starve the beast doesn't even work from a conservative point of view. The government continues to spend money, wracking up large deficits. And the voters are actually pretty happy with this turn of events.
Think of it this way. If you want people to consume more of something, you reduce the price. If you want them to consume less, you raise the price. For most of the last 30 years, federal programs have been on sale, and they've found lots of buyers.
It's not actually sustainable, though.

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