The economist and libertarian William Niskansen died today. I can’t say I was particularly familiar with the man (though I did meet him once or twice) or his work, but I do recall that for the past few years he’s been engaged in a lonely-but-important effort to get his fellow travelers on the right off their obsession with a “starve the beast” approach to governing. His paper “Limiting Government: The Failure of Starve The Beast” (PDF) seems like the kind of thing someone of lesser stature wouldn’t be able to get a right-wing think tank to publish these days.
At any rate, I read some article today about how (surprise!) the super committee isn’t going to agree to anything because (surprise!) the Republicans won’t agree to any tax increases. This is an attitude that inevitably saddles the country with more wasteful spending and bigger deficits than we’d have in a different equilibrium where we had consensus around the idea that public services should be paid for.