America

David Stockman Opposes Extending Bush Tax Cuts

David Stockman

David Stockman, President Ronald Reagan's former budget director, won't endear himself to congressional Republicans.  LOUIS LANZANO/AP hide caption

itoggle caption LOUIS LANZANO/AP

David Stockman who served as President Ronald Reagan's budget director, has for years been known as a deficit hawk.

Still, he was a supply sider long before many of the current crop of Republicans who support the foundational idea that tax cuts always boost the economy were in Congress.

So it's worth noting that Stockman had a New York Times opinion piece over the weekend in which he seemed to channel liberal economist Paul Krugman in his criticism of those in the party he once served for pushing to extend the Bush tax cuts despite the impact that would have on deficits.

An excerpt:

IF there were such a thing as Chapter 11 for politicians, the Republican push to extend the unaffordable Bush tax cuts would amount to a bankruptcy filing. The nation’s public debt — if honestly reckoned to include municipal bonds and the $7 trillion of new deficits baked into the cake through 2015 — will soon reach $18 trillion. That’s a Greece-scale 120 percent of gross domestic product, and fairly screams out for austerity and sacrifice. It is therefore unseemly for the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, to insist that the nation’s wealthiest taxpayers be spared even a three-percentage-point rate increase.

More fundamentally, Mr. McConnell’s stand puts the lie to the Republican pretense that its new monetarist and supply-side doctrines are rooted in its traditional financial philosophy. Republicans used to believe that prosperity depended upon the regular balancing of accounts — in government, in international trade, on the ledgers of central banks and in the financial affairs of private households and businesses, too. But the new catechism, as practiced by Republican policymakers for decades now, has amounted to little more than money printing and deficit finance — vulgar Keynesianism robed in the ideological vestments of the prosperous classes.

Stockman joins former Federal Reserve chair Alan Greenspan in opposing extending the Bush tax cuts. There appears to be a real cleft opening up in the party between old deficit hawks and the latest incarnation of supply siders, represented by actor and former senator Fred Thompson.

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