Some critics of the George W. Bush Jr. tax cut don't understand one simple but important thing about Republican economics. They allege that this $1.2 trillion tax cut, which primarily benefits the very rich, will drive the government back into a deficit within ten years. They think that Bush Jr. and his cronies don't know this.
They know it very well. The cronies know it, absolutely. Bush Jr. himself may only be dimly aware of it, because he really isn't all that bright.
The purpose of the tax cut is to accomplish exactly what the critics say it will: restore the budget to a deficit position. Why? Because the budget deficit was quite simply the best tool the conservatives had for transferring as much wealth from the poor to the rich as possible. Jimmy Carter left the presidency with most social programs intact and a relatively modest $45 billion deficit. President Reagan, unable politically to slash the social programs he wanted to slash, simply ran up the deficit by cutting taxes without cutting spending. He was the most fiscally irresponsible president in the history of the United States and left, as his legacy to the nation, a $450 billion deficit.
Mr. Do-Nothing Senior, George Bush, did nothing. The deficit suited Republicans just fine. Military spending continued at its usual hysterical pace, squandered left, right, and centre on madcap schemes, over-priced hammers, obsolete aircraft, and bizarre futuristic technologies that never worked. But even George Bush Sr. realized that he couldn't let the deficit spiral too far out of control: he raised taxes.
Enter President Clinton. Clinton cut spending and left most existing taxes intact. Within five years, he had eliminated the annual deficit. The economy, spurred by low interest rates (caused by the fact that the government was no longer competing as heartily for loaned money), grew spectacularly.
The Republicans lost the election to Al Gore, but were awarded the Oval Office by the Republican appointees on the Supreme Court. Bush's first significant act is to set the government on the path towards deficits again. His trillion dollar tax cut, combined with the downturn in the economy, (which will lower projected tax revenues) will almost guarantee that the government will once again be in a deficit position within ten years.
And then, once again, the Republicans will raise a hue and cry: we must cut spending!
Is it really all that subtle?