Pants on fire.
How else to respond to outright falsehoods in the lead op-ed in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal?
Written by Arthur Laffer, famous for the Laffer curve, and Stephen Moore, from the Journal’s editorial board, the article was an effort to justify the crazed economics of the right — the voodoo economics that says lowering taxes raises more revenue, and that less government spending generates an increase in overall demand.
Theirs is a world of “Alice in Wonderland” logic. And only numbers that are fabricated by a through-the-looking-glass world will support it.
Their article claims that “the most amazing feature of the nearby chart, which is rarely ever noted, is that when spending declined sharply, the economy boomed under President Clinton.” They continue, “Maybe Keynes was wrong.”
Indeed, the chart they show has a nice declining line during the period of the Clinton years. But here is their little problem: The chart is not about spending. It is about spending as a percentage of GDP.
Spending did not decline during the Clinton years — go to the Congressional Budget Office numbers, the bible for this type of data. Spending went from 1.4 trillion in 1993 to 1.8 trillion 2000. An increase of 27 percent, and it increased every year. Not the decline they fabricated.
Government revenue also went up — from 1.15 trillion in 1993 to 2.02 trillion in 2000 — an increase of 75.4 percent. Why? Clinton raised taxes.
So spending went up, taxes went up and the economy grew, sending government spending as a percentage of GDP down — which is what the chart actually shows.
More spending helped. Raising taxes helped. The economy flourished.
This is totally opposite from their false claims.
The larger point is this: These guys will distort whenever they want or need to to try to make their arguments. But history fails them. Economics fails them. The only answer for them is to deceive.
It’s time to call them out.
That’s “My View.”