Conservatism and Deficit Spending

It seems to me that many conservatives lack the part of their brain responsible for irony. Perhaps without it, hypocrisy is inevitable. I ran across a rich example of this over at EspressoPundit (this is just a little dated – I don’t get over there too often):

Congratulations to David Schweikert for telling it like it is

Maricopa County Treasurer David Schweikert says unequivocally, "If the election passes, homeowners will pay more property taxes."

"It’s just that simple," he said. "I think it’s unfair for people who are making economic decisions not to tell the story in a truthful manner. The discussion needs to be about spending."

I guess that answers John Dougherty’s question.

Do you believe bond proponents’ pitch trumpeted by Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon that the bonds can be sold "with no new taxes"?

Or do you think it’s impossible to go that deeply into debt without someone, somewhere, getting stuck with the bill — which almost always means higher taxes?

These bond issues will probably pass…maybe overwhelmingly; the Champagne will flow, ASU will build a campus downtown…but the tactics of the supporters will not be forgotten.

Doesn’t this seem to have application on a somewhat larger scale to you? Say perhaps all those Treasury Bonds that the GOP is printing so furiously to create an expected 400 billion dollar deficit in 2006 and whopping 8.3 trillion dollar – and growing – public debt? Don’t you think it’s impossible to go that deeply into debt without someone, somewhere, getting stuck with the bill — which almost always means higher taxes?

It seems conservatives always want to have it both ways. When
Democratic leaders go into debt – in Maricopa’s case to finance real
capital improvements that will foster economic growth in the
jurisdiction, and voters are given a chance to approve or reject the
spending – it is bad and will inevitably raise taxes. When a GOP
controlled governments go into debt – in federal government’s case to
finance a reckless war and rampant corruption while failing to invest
in future wealth creation, and voters are given no say because of
anti-democratic parliamentary procedures adopted in Congress – it is
fine because either the economy will expand to pay down the debt even
while lowering taxes (for the wealthy) or deficits don’t matter.

Why can’t conservatives just come out and tell the truth? They are
against public spending that redounds to the general welfare, and for
spending that futher enriches existing concentrations of wealth.
Deficits are actually completely irrelevant to modern conservatism.

Conservatives see the relationship between government spending and the
public welfare much like that between a tick and a dog. Liberals see
that relationship like that between a farmer and his land.

Liberals know that deficits can be positive when you are investing for
future growth. Thus, our view of deficts is flexible and rational,
being based on a sound economic principle. Conservatives have to remove
their irony centers when talking about deficits because they haven’t
any rational underlying principle to tell them whether a particular
deficit is good or not. The way they actually decide whether a deficit
is good or bad is simply whether they percieve themselves to be the
dog, or the tick.


0 responses to “Conservatism and Deficit Spending

  1. Exactly! You expressed that much more eloquently than I ever could. Deficit spending is perfectly reasonable when we are investing in the growth of our community, hence my support for the administrations of FDR, JFK and (partially) LBJ. They understood that by investing so much in America’s future we would be paid back 10 fold. Conservatives can’t seem to grasp that for some reason.