Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Finding something when you are looking for something else.

I was kind of irked by David Brooks' column today, more than a bit righteous about exploding deficits, wasn't that just a mask for his real opinion - he is anti big government even when the budget is balanced. And where was he when the Bushies were piling up the deficits due to the tax cut, the Iraq war, and rampant Congressional spending? Before my blood reached the boiling point it occurred to me to do a bit of fact checking. Perhaps Brooks has been more of a deficit hawk all along and I just wasn't paying attention. So I did a little searching on his columns to see what I could find.

Sure enough, I found this piece from Feb 2008 where he predicts big government spending in the offing (not a hard prediction given the circumstances) and concludes with the thoughts that the Liberals will overreach. His true colors are showing. Then I found a different piece, written smack in the middle of the Bush years, where Brooks establishes his deficit hawk bona fides. One wonders why he didn't write more of that sort of thing before or since, but let's do note for the record that it is there. Then he has this piece written right before the shoe dropped to show he was completely misreading the economic signals, though at the time so were others.

Looking for more ammunition of this sort, I begin to find sites that are unrelated to David Brooks. First, I find this page called Starving The Beast, by a professor from Mount Holyoke. What's funny about it is the argument is essentially the same one made by Matt Santos (played by Jimmy Smits) in the West Wing Season 7 Episode, The Debate, to the effect that the tax cuts precede the spending cuts but the former are popular while the latter are not so the outcome is budget imbalance.

Returning to reality, I find a piece that seems to me a gem, a screen shot of the lead is below. It's from five years ago. Greenspan gets my vote for being a good guy here. He wants to reimpose Congressional rules that were in effect when Clinton was President that any tax cut or spending increase would have to be matched with some other fiscal action to offset it. I wonder why, given all the the discussion of an exploding deficit, that there hasn't been more on the institution of such rules, though seemingly everyone laments earmarks.

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