Tuesday, June 08, 2004

A lot of people I've met over the years like to talk about how they're "fiscally conservative," even though they don't qualify that phrase with anything. For a bunch of them, I just want to hit them with a baseball bat and ask them "What the fuck does 'fiscally conservative' mean to you? Are you a supply-sider? A fan of Reaganomics?" Here and here are two commentaries on Reaganomics.

Like always, I don't know shit about shit, but I just can't get on board with the notion of supply-side economics. Heavy military spending (much of it just for the sake of spending) and massive tax cuts for the rich. Yeah, sounds super. Back in Reagan's day, heavy military spending sort of made some sense. We were still in the Cold War, and there's no doubt that what Reagan did helped accelerate the end of the Soviet Union. But at some point the Soviet Union was bound to fall anyway; Soviet Communism just couldn't sustain its own business model. Nowadays you have calls for the same kind of spending, especially since we're involved in The War Against Terrorism (TWAT). The problem here, though, is that we can't merely outspend al Qaeda like we did with the Soviets. To paraphrase the Pointy Haired Boss, we need to spend smarter, not harder.

The way that the tax cuts for the rich are sold is obviously a weak screen. There's this other stupid notion that if the rich have more money, they'll put it back into the economy. Bullshit. The rich just want to have more money so that they can horde it. Why the hell else do you have all these corporate crooks cooking books and skirting taxes? It's so that they have more to add to their piles. I mean, they're fucking rich, so they're probably already spending as much money as they want to. It's not like they're going to get a tax cut and say to themselves "You know what? It's time I started giving back to the U.S. economy."

Also, the basic notion that boosting the supply side of the equation will somehow magically cause demand to come along with it strikes me as being, well, "faith-based" economics. Pretty big gamble. Unless of course if you're rich, then it's not a gamble because it's rigged in your favor.

"I don't know where he got his convictions because he wasn't greatly interested in analysis, but they were extremely good."

Um, yeah, that pretty much sums it up for me. No analysis or critical thought, just "convictions." Maybe it's just me and my engineering mentality, but when it comes to something like steering the U.S. economy, I'd like to see at least a little bit of analysis. But then again, they do say that it's better to be lucky than good.

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