Wednesday, May 07, 2003

But on the other hand. . .

One thing has been nagging me this week. Are tax cuts without corresponding cuts in government spending just another form of Keynesism? This from none other than Henry Hazlet:

John Maynard Keynes was, basically, an inflationist. This has not been clearly recognized because he never spelled out, step by step, the consequences of his proposed remedy for unemployment and depression. That remedy was deficit spending by the government. He recognized that increased government spending paid for by equally increased taxation would not "add purchasing power." The increased taxation would offset any "stimulus" that the increased government spending would provide. What counted, he confessed, was the government deficit. But he failed to take his readers beyond this step. How would that deficit be financed? Either the money would have to be borrowed, or new (paper) money or credit would have to be created. But if the money were borrowed, then the previous spending stimulus would be reversed by a deflation when the borrowing was repaid. The only thing to prevent this reversal would be to allow the new spending to remain outstanding. In other words, the Keynesian solution to every slowdown in business or rise in unemployment was still another dose of inflation.
There is no such thing in my mind as a bad tax cut--any attempt to return money to those who produce it is something I support automatically. But if the goal of the Bush tax cuts is to spark the economy, doesn't the president need to be just as aggressive in cutting government spending, or ultimately, the tax cuts are for nought?

What do you think? I'd like to know.

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