Last Wednesday, I flagged this passage from a John Kerry email to supporters:
How long will it be before [Republicans] start telling us that tax cuts for the wealthy can provide just the stimulus we need to get the Gulf Coast economy moving again?
My response: "I'd say a week, maybe less."
That turned out to be generous. On Sunday, tax-cutting apparatchik Grover Norquist became the first conservative that I've seen use Katrina as a justification for more tax cuts:
Grover Norquist, a leading advocate of substantially reducing the federal government, argued that the disaster only underlined the need for more tax cuts to spur the economy. "Step one is you deal with the problem - rebuild New Orleans," he said, "and step two, you enact economic policies so you can afford to rebuild New Orleans."
Norquist is implying that tax cuts generate revenue rather than reducing it -- a discredited bit of supply-side cant that even Bush administration economist Greg Mankiw has disavowed. And on a deeper level, Norquist has publicly declared that he wants to reduce the size of government by half so he can "drown it in a bathtub." As such, he must not believe that tax cuts will throw off additional revenue -- otherwise government would get bigger and bigger as it cuts taxes more and more (Norquist's stated goal). So we can only conclude that Norquist is being disingenuous.
Who will be the first Republican member of Congress to peddle this nonsense?
Update: I just discovered a nasty Max Sawicky post quoting Norquist making a similar point about the estate tax in a Sept. 2 appeal to senators:
The 2003 tax cut lifted economic growth far beyond what most people expected. We know repeal of the Death Tax will also have a similar effect. And higher levels of economic growth is exactly what the residents of the Gulf Region need at this time to start the rebuilding process for their neighborhoods and more importantly for their lives.