The New York Times has provided a great service to those of us of a libertarian or constitutionalist conservative persuasion. I seriously doubt they did this on purpose, which makes it all the more enjoyable.
They have added an interactive feature to their online site, “Budget Puzzle: You Fix the Budget.” This consists of 40 ways to close the budget gap by cutting spending or raising taxes. You choose the ones you like, then see if you have succeeded in closing the budget gap.
Of course, the choices they give are those suggested by one or another Establishment authority. You must choose “within the box” of reasonable parameters. For just one irritating example, you can cut spending by choosing to reduce the number of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan to (a) 60,000 or (b) 30,000 by 2015, but there is no (c) allowing you to cut troops to zero, either now or by 2015. We must be “reasonable,” folks. And obviously you are expected to choose some spending cuts and some tax increases. That’s the Establishment mantra.
NEVERTHELESS–and here’s where the fun begins–the Times’s game actually puts the lie to the notion that we have to be “responsible” by raising taxes! Obviously the guys who created this game were staring so intently at their own Establishment navels that they didn’t think of trying out the “irresponsible” route.
First, as inadequate as the allowed spending cuts were, I chose what was available to me–100% spending cuts, 0% tax hikes. And I was able to close the budget gap by 2030 without a single tax increase!
Next, I chose every tax increase offered to me, with no spending cuts. I mean, this was every wet dream a Big Government liberal could dream up–a veritable flood of new taxes! Of course this would decimate the American economy, but we don’t have to speculate about that. The bottom line is that choosing EVERY tax hike available wasn’t enough to close the budget gap by 2030!
So, the next time someone tells you we have to cut spending AND raise taxes, you can confidently reply: No, the budget gap reflects a spending problem, not a revenue problem, and we can close the budget gap with reasonable spending cuts alone.
And when they ask for your source for this n0nsense, you can close the deal by citing none other than The New York Times, the Establishment’s “newspaper of record.”
Now, let’s not hear any more nasty words about “The Gray Lady.” At least for a day.
2:59 am on November 15, 2010 Email David Franke