Fiscal Restraint Coming?

William Stuntz looks at the numbers, and concludes that the next administration — regardless of which party — will have no choice but to trim government spending.

Unless middle-income Americans are sold on the idea that their taxes should be not just higher but much higher, we are entering the Age of Spending Restraint. Not the Age of the Federal Checkbook, and certainly not the Age of American Socialism. Whatever he says in the midst of his campaign, the next president is more likely to be a twenty-first-century Calvin Coolidge than an up-to-date FDR.

Sorry, but I have trouble accepting that conclusion. Driven by millions of voters who pay little or no taxes now anyway, the more likely scenario is that the government will dream up ever more exotic ways of raising cash (i.e., squeezing the rich), to the point that the foundation of our economic engine will be irrepairably damaged. It will be the beginning of the end of American dominance on the world stage.

UPDATE: My scenario is a sure bet if the Dems control both the executive and legislative branches of government.

If Democrats are willing to seek massive spending increases in the midst of a severe economic crisis where credit is scarce, budget deficits are high and a Republican still occupies the White House, imagine the chill that must be running up and down the respective legs of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid thinking about the prospects of an Obama administration and a filibuster-proof Senate.

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