05 November 2010

Paying for things

Cafe Hayek | Don Boudreaux | Joe’s Income Doesn’t Belong to Sam

Here’s a letter to the New York Times:
Gail Collins criticizes the Bush tax cuts because “there was no money to pay for them” (“The Day After the Day After,” Nov. 4).

Ms. Collins’s perspective is distorted.

Taxes are payments people are obliged to make in return for services provided by government. Because it’s misleading, at best, to talk of ‘paying for’ reduced payments, it’s misleading to talk of ‘paying for’ tax cuts. So, in fact, what “there was no money to pay for” was not the tax cuts but, rather, the goods and services that government continues to supply despite having insufficient tax revenues to pay for them.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Hear, hear.

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