The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Friday, June 23, 2006

Voodoo Economics, or How do you stop a zombie that never HAD a brain?

The latest editorial in The New Republic points out yet another bit of dishonest trickery from the right-wing's boosters: supply-side economics. In a year when many on the right are suddenly scrambling to reassure people that the problem with the party's elect is that they're not really being conservatives right now, and that's the only reason we haven't achieved a reactionary utopia. Yet.

But supply-side economics has been pushed by the right for two decades now, and led to massive federal debts. Reagan and Bush I at least had the decency to abandon a tax-cut uber alles plan when it became clear the first time that voodoo economics were a bust. Not the Boy King, though. And although the results for the American economy have been the exact opposite of fiscal conservatism, everyone's eager to start singing the White House's praises all over again. And as usual, it's all a big, fat lie.

William Kristol, editorializing in The Weekly Standard, exults the "wildly successful supply-side tax cuts." Wall Street Journal editorial page writer Stephen Moore gloats, "Tax collections for the past 12 months have exploded by 14.4%." It seems we have all died and gone to voodoo economic paradise. (. . .)

In 2004, the Bush administration released a suspiciously high deficit projection for 2004. Every other sentient budget analyst at the time said the number was inflated. (The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, for instance, wrote, "The Administration appears to have noticeably overstated the deficit for the current year, 2004.") Why would it inflate the number? So that when the real figure came in below its phony prediction, it could claim progress. The trick was utterly obvious at the time.

Yet now, the administration and its supporters are celebrating the deficit's fall from a number it never reached and that no honest person thought it would reach. National Review says this is "vindicatory of the central claim of supply-side theory." In fact, it's vindicatory of the theory that no number emanating from the Bush administration should be taken at face value.

Recommended reading. Even if a fourth TNR writer decided to take a gratuitous swipe at progressive blogs today. Give it a rest already, fellas.