Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Having a Laffer

I guess it was inevitable, but the new Republican-dominated Congress and the Republican-fearing President have decided to deal with the failures of fiscal stimulus by extending the Bush tax cuts. My usual sources of analysis on these things - Krugman, DeLong, The Baseline Scenario - are tearing their hair out over this.

In short, the Republicans talk tough on the deficit and criticize TARP and the stimulus, and then as soon as they can pass a $800 billion tax cut, mostly for the very rich who got most of the benefit of the TARP anyway. They'll either save this money or, worse, use it for leveraged bets in the still-unreformed financial markets. God help us.

Anyway, at least any pretence that American conservatives are really bothered about the deficit as such, rather than using it as an excuse to push their nihilist agenda, has now been dropped so we know where we stand. There is genuine class war going on here - is there no limit to the American voter's willingness to redistribute to the rich?