Because the ones that keep yelling “we’re the sane ones!” keep saying things like “oh the auto bailout was such a good idea!” Megan McArdle then completely demolishes whatever argument he may have had and this is his response:
McArdle says I’m wrong about the auto bailout. I think the context of a spiraling depression scenario justified it – and am relieved that the results seem far better than I’d expected.
That’s it? No discussion of the numbers she brought up? No analysis of the opportunity cost of that bailout money? No curiosity about how, with the expected revenue numbers, that GM is going to get back into the black, and whether or not it will just persist eternally on tax-payer life support? Not even a blip (shockingly, from someone normally so concerned about the rule of law) about how “financial bailout money” got used as a handout to a powerfully connected car company? Nothing?
If this is the level of economic discourse from the “sane” conservatives, then what’s the point in having this irrelevant category of conservative at all? Just vote Democrat and be done with it. I’m delighted to see people like Mr. Sullivan slag the stupid “insane” conservatives who don’t like immigrants, gays, or minorities, and I will continue to applaud him for doing so — but if there’s no value in the “sane” conservative economic policy, why even bother with the term?
Update 1: The absolutely balls to the wall hilariousness is that the post directly after his claim that the massive spending of the auto bailout worked is a link to Bruce Bartlett saying we need a VAT now.
Personally, I think it’s stupid to put up with a decade of unnecessary pain and suffering before we finally bite the bullet and do what has to be done to stabilize our nation’s public finances. But I don’t see any other path that will get us there.
Why is there no other alternative to a VAT? Because we spent so much! Why did we spend so much? Because people like Bartlett and Sullivan supported that spending! This like a confronting a burglar in your kitchen and he tells you: “See, I told you needed an alarm system!”
I also like this line from Bartlett’s piece:
The right-wing, tea party fantasy that we can solve our fiscal problems only by cutting spending has to be proven by experience to be a failure before rational people can finally put real solutions like a VAT on the table[.]
Yes, you crazy right-wingers, thinking that you can reduce your debt by spending less. What insanity! The thing is, it’s not like spending has remained constant. It has risen dramatically. So Bartlett’s case that an equilibrium of lower spending can’t exist is belied by the fact that it did exist before spending increases took place. Here’s your new slogan, Mr. Bartlett: “Bruce Bartlett not only doesn’t have a 9/10 mentality, he doesn’t even believe that 2001 could have existed!”
This is the argument that I keep making to local (including mine) and state governments who are saying that spending cuts are untenable — if going to a lower level of spending is disastrous, then how were you operating back in 2000 or 2005, before spending increases that took place at all levels of government over the past decade?
To repeat, what is the point of a “conservative” economic policy that is “tax and spend more”? We already have a party for that. Well, to be fair, we have two.