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Starve the Beast Mark II: Deficits, Debt, and Spendthrift Grasshoppers, by Garett Jones

Milton Friedman's theory of Starve the Beast said that there was a "politically acceptable deficit," so a one-time ex nihilo cut in taxes would have to cause a spending cut to keep the deficit stable.  My commenters have revised (or maybe just clarified) this theory, drawing partly on academic work.  The revised version of Starve the Beast (STB) says that ex nihilo tax cuts cause spending cuts not because of deficits, but because of the large debt that the deficits eventually build up: STB kicks in someday.  That's an improvement in the Starve The Beast story.  


Still, I offer three critiques of STB: 

1.  As this author notes, if a history of deficits increase tolerance for deficits then the politically acceptable deficit expands, and the door opens for extra spending.  Starve the Beast ironically grows the appetite and so makes future spending easier.  We should worry about electing tax-cutting Grasshoppers for that reason.  


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