Simplify it for us, Ezra!

Mickey Kaus Columnist
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Mama, don’t take my takeaway away: When I look at Ezra Klein’s multicolored budget charts, what strikes me is that 1) the growth in non-defense spending has been a big contributor to the deficit–10% of the problem. This growth is “mostly the result of annual discretionary appropriations” that were increased faster than expected, according to the Pew organization that put the charts together; and 2) this non-defense growth plus Obama’s stimulus (6% of the problem) is actually bigger cause of the deficit than the Bush tax cuts (13% of the problem). … “There are two major takeaways from this report,” declares Klein. For some reason, these are not among them!  They would seem to contradict the liberal CW, promoted by Klein, that says Bush’s cuts are the culprit and non-defense discretionary spending has already been cut to the bone. Obviously, both tax cuts and spending, including Obama’s stimulus spending and non-defense spending, are culprits.**


**That’s not to say we need to cut spending and raise taxes simultaneously if we want to solve the problem. Because cutting spending is even harder than raising taxes, it might make sense to try to slim down the government for a while before feeding it new revenues.  …

Mickey Kaus