EconLog | Arnold Kling | Deficit Reduction and Tax PolicyBazinga!
Thoma now characterizes [reducing tax rates while broadening the tax base and thus increasing revenue] as ideologically charged. I would have thought that tax reform in order to reduce the deficit is about as centrist an economic policy as one could propose.
But the center is not what it used to be.
Edited (13 Nov '10): Free Exchange counters Kevin Drum making the same criticism as Thoma:
I understand what he's saying, but I don't think this holds water. The issue is that not all tax increases, and not all spending cuts, have the same effects. Cutting spending on an inefficient programme will have a more salutary impact on the long-run deficit than cutting spending on an efficient programme. And raising an inefficient tax rate will be worse for growth, and therefore for revenue and the deficit, than the decision to raise an efficient tax rate. And this implies that one good way to approach the deficit in a fashion that's relatively agnostic about the role of government is to reform the tax system to make it more efficient. [...]
But the principle that tax reform is a healthy part of deficit reduction is a sound one. And not really an ideological one. On the contrary, a government with a more efficient tax system will find it easier to support a more progressive social safety net. Improvements in the tax code are low-hanging fruit, and it's good that reforms have been placed on the table.