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Opening Arguments

The absolute truth

I'm always against absolutism! Sorry, couldn't resist. This is an interesting and persuasive article in defense of Grover Norquist-style antitax absolutism:

When they refuse to raise taxes, Republicans force Democrats to make a deeply unpersuasive argument. Major expansions of the welfare state are indispensable, this argument goes; but the $5.08 trillion of federal, state, and local government outlays in 2010—35 percent of GDP—is already being spent on its very best uses; therefore, our new government endeavors will require corralling more of the 65 GDP percentage points that now roam contentedly beyond the fence.

Critics like David Brooks say that those insisting on balacing the budget only with spending cuts and never with tax increases are "fanatics" with "no sense of moral decency." And Eugene Robinson says bringing the federal debt under control without higher taxes made sense only “in the parallel universe inhabited by GOP ideologues, a place where the laws of arithmetic do not apply.” The tax-and-spend side always tries to put us on the defensive -- "What would you cut, huh, huh, huh?" Never giving an inch of taxes forces them to deal a little more honestly with what the welfare state actually costs. Just how much will you continue to let it grow, huh, huh, huh?