David Harsanyi rightly points out that one doesn’t pay for tax cuts – one pays for spending. Unless…the dog owns my house. That is, unless you twist everything around in a very Orwellian (Colbertian?) way: do we pay for not cutting spending? If so, then maybe we also pay for cutting taxes. But if so this is a very weird definition of pay, and surely NOT the definition the BO and the left would prefer we adopt (since the government spends more than it can possibly tax (I mean this in an empirically true way, not an a priori true way; and the evidence is that we’re currently running a deficit so whatever the reason, the nation clearly cannot generate receipts to cover spending) and thus the argument that we’re paying by not cutting spending is SO much more compelling than the argument that we’re paying by cutting taxes).

Here’s DH:

“Then there are the twisted semantics of this debate.

Obama says the country can’t afford the “cost” of tax cuts that were instituted about a decade ago. The word “cost” is used by nearly every news organization in this regard. We (as in the non-wealthy) supposedly “pay” for the “cost” of a new tax rate.  Now, unless the president is arguing that the baseline of government spending should encompass owning all your money and anything the IRS doesn’t take “costs” something, then only spending can really “cost” Americans.

Moreover, if the imaginary $80 billion yearly “cost” is so significant, why can’t the president match it with a mere $80 billion in real spending cuts? Who “pays” for the cost of failing to cut spending ? Rather, the president’s proposed budget would add $6.4 trillion in deficits between 2013 and 2022, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.”

Thanks to Don Boudreaux for posting.

-JD Cross