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January 12, 2008

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But the truth about the Reagan years is that Federal spending continued to grow over his terms while the deficit grew astronomically.

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Saying you favor tax cuts allows you to posture that you're in favor of a more efficient (or a smaller) Federal government.

Under Reagan we got a less effective Federal government as cuts in funding weakened key agencies. But he didn't resolve the underfunded entitlement programs.

More recently, claiming that tax cuts increase revenue ("pay for themselves") disguises the fact that Republicans don't have the will or a politically acceptable plan to reduce entitlement spending. So it acts as its own justification. This seems to be where John McCain has landed, after being more pro balanced budget previously.

As the Brooks article (and this debate question) shows, the position of Republicans will need to change as the fallacies behind simplistic applications of supply side economics are coming under increasing fire.

Republicans have never delivered on significantly reducing the Federal Government (just it’s impact). Now the public sees that the Republicans have often been worse than the Democrats in terms of fiscal responsibility. There is a real credibility issue.

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