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Deficit Good. Surplus Bad.
May 10, 2003
By Japhy Ryder

Looking for the sinister reason why Bush is so adamant about his tax cut? Sure he wants to pay off his big campaign contributors, and yes, itís always nice for him to help the rich get richer. The supply side theory is tenuous at best and most of those pushing for the tax cut know this. That is simply how they package it, it isnít the real motive.

The real motive is that Republicans like deficits. Sure a surplus means that the economy is going along well, and thatís good, and allows them to cut taxes. But thereís more to being a good Republican than simply cutting taxes. More importantly, thereís cutting spending.

By having a perpetual deficit, they are able to harp on the cut spending mantra all the way along cutting programs that arenít ďnecessaryĒ. Having a deficit ensures that some government spending will need to be cut. Think it is a coincidence that the surplus came about during a Democratic administration?

Bush is pushing so hard for his tax cuts, not because he genuinely believes it is going to help spur the economy. He knows better than that. Supply side theory has been proven to be counter productive. Heís pushing for the tax cuts so that the deficit becomes perpetual and the cutting of government programs becomes perpetual too. Why so much emphasis on cuts years down the road? So that even if somehow a Democrat is able to win back the White House or maybe even Congress, they will be forced into making cuts, rather than increasing spending on certain programs.

Now, of course, these cuts wonít affect Defense. The cuts will be made in entitlements, medical care, arts funding, anything and everything that Republicans donít like. A deficit allows them to bite their lip and ďGolly, I sure wish we didnít have to cut unemployment compensation, but look at the deficit?Ē

The Balanced Budget Amendment during the Clinton years was their way of trying to restrain any spending of the surplus that was coming. Isnít it odd that there is precious little talk from the Congressional Republicans about the BBA these days? It is because running a deficit makes it much easier for them to achieve their funding goals and their moralist hyperbole.

And itís win-win-win for the future of the Republican party. Say the Democrats do regain power in a couple of years. Well, then they are faced with a huge deficit, and have three options: a) raise taxes to bridge the gap; b) cut spending to bridge the gap; or c) increase spending and increase the deficit more. Any of these options benefit the Republicans and they know it. Raising taxes is always unpopular. Cutting spending hurts Democrats with their core voters. Increasing the deficit gives Republicans more of what they want.

Letís hope the Democrats in Congress are able to stand up to this, and help the future of their party.

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