Newt Gingrich Leading Insane Conservative Effort to Close Deficit By Reducing Revenues

If this Washington Post article is to be believed, I think some prominent Washington figures may need a course in remedial math:

And Republicans have made it clear that they intend to try to shift the economic debate toward concern about the federal deficit.

They are also preparing to use the ballooning deficit to renew their push for additional tax cuts. Groups including the Club for Growth and GOP leaders such as former House speaker Gingrich say such cuts would do more to improve the economy than the spending plan would.

The reporters on the piece, Michael D. Shear and Paul Kane, might have observed that a deficit is, by definition, a shortfall between revenue and spending. Thus, it’s extremely difficult to envision circumstances under which “additional tax cuts” would prevent the deficit from ballooning. As this handy chart indicates, ballooning deficits are strongly correlated with either fighting World War II or else governance dominated by a desire for “additional tax cuts”:


Unfortunately, Bush-era macroeconomic management has managed to produce much worse outcomes than we saw during the Reagan years so in the extremely short-term it’s not possible to turn this trend around. In the medium-term, however, the administration is proposing to tackle ballooning deficits by making the deficit smaller — higher revenues and lower expenditures. One possible conservative approach to this would be to argue for more aggressive deficit targets, achieved by more stringent spending restraint. Another would be to argue for higher deficits, achieved by more tax cuts. The idea encapsulated in the Post article, that Gingrich and the Club for Growth have a plan for smaller deficits achieved by more tax cuts is ridiculous. Fortunately, neither Gingrich nor the Club have any formal legislative authority and there’s nothing stopping those Republicans who, unlike Gingrich, weren’t hounded out of office a decade ago, from governing with common sense.