The Asymmetry Between Taxes and Spending

by Steven F. Hayward

It is very much worth clicking over to the NoLeftTurns blog this afternoon to see William Voegeli’s typically thorough and thoughtful response to the challenge liberal blogger Joel Mathis (get well soon, Joel, by the way) threw down Bill’s way: ”It’s well-established that in good times and bad, Republicans call for lower taxes. Always. So I guess my question for my conservative friends is this: How low is low enough?”

Bill launches his long answer thusly: ”My answer is that one way to describe the difference between liberals and conservatives is that liberals want government spending to be the independent variable that determines tax levels, and conservatives want government spending to be the dependent variable determined by taxes.” But read the whole thing.

And if you haven’t got Bill’s book, Never Enough: America’s Limitless Welfare State, it’s now out in paperback. It’s simply the best treatment of the subject of the welfare state since Charles Murray’s Losing Ground. Who says? Jonah, in a dust jacket blurb, among others. And also some guy who wrote the foreword.