Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Deficits Shmeficits

Hit & Run has an insightful post up by Julian Sanchez about why the need to contain the ballooning deficit wasn't mentioned during the Democratic convention: because the Democrats have no intention of doing anything about it.

Slate's Dan Gross wonders why fiscal policy was MIA at the DNC. This seems like an easy enough one, actually. Dems aren't really particularly interested in selling themselves as deficit hawks: They're not about to make a big deal of Bush's runaway spending because, while they might spend the money differently, rolling back government outlays isn't exactly high on their priority list. And calling for across-the-board tax hikes is political seppuku. That leaves the more palatable proposal of hiking taxes on the wealhy, which you did see discussed at the convention—but if that's the sole solution to ballooning deficits you're willing to contemplate (publicly), you may as well focus on that by way of a populist "fairness" argument rather than draw attention to the broader problem, some of whose causes you'd prefer not to address.
I've never entertained any illusions about Democratic sincerity with regards to criticisms of Bush's fical recklessness, so this insight isn't really disturbing to me. My hope has always been simply that partisan antagonism working in hand with political deadlock would serve to contain both parties' urges to spend like mad, and perhaps even goad the GOP back towards showing some ideological consistency on the issue of smaller government. If it takes a Kerry victory to rid the Republican Party of the "National Greatness" (i.e, Big Government) conservatives, so be it.