George Will is going to get into big-time trouble with Megan McArdle:

ECONOMICS is a science of single instances, hence it is hardly a science. So how much the president’s most recent tax cuts will stimulate the economy is conjectural, a conjecture being a guess by a Ph.D.


From that lead, though, he essentially buys the Democrat argument–that tax cuts “cost” the government money and that the ones just passed are indeed much larger than the $350 billion over ten years being claimed–and says it’s a good thing.

. . . as a stimulus to the president’s political stock and conservatives’ aspirations, the latest tax cuts, signed Wednesday, will be doubly successful. They will make it more difficult for a Democrat to win the presidency. And should one win, the cuts will make it more difficult to use the presidency for Democratic purposes.

* * *
The sunset provisions serve the transparent fiction that the new cuts will deprive the government of no more than $350 billion over 10 years, the number that several deficit-phobic Republican senators insisted on. But given the success of Republican rhetoric – a success deriving from the public’s common sense – in arguing that allowing a tax cut to lapse is equivalent to increasing taxes, the sun will set on few, if any, of these cuts.

So the 10-year cost to the government may exceed even the president’s original goal of $726 billion, which he supposedly “compromised” in half. Democrats, noting that Bush has achieved all this with almost no help from congressional Democrats and with little enthusiasm from the public, are probably muttering to themselves, as they have been muttering since election night 2000: It is a good thing George W. Bush is dumb as a stump or we’d really be in trouble.


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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. MommaBear says:

    It’s our own money, and we want as much of it for ourselves as those greedy politicians will let us keep!

  2. Jane Galt says:

    I beg your pardon, but if I ever claim that macroeconomics, especially tax policy, is a science, please shoot me.

  3. James Joyner says:

    Heh. Okay;)

    I thought that’s what this was all about. . .