Ezra Klein is again making an Orwellian argument to mislead readers, this time about taxes and spending. It appears that Klein, other liberals, and even a few misguided Republicans have agreed to use another word for “taxes,” especially those taxes that relate to what has become known as tax expenditures. The new word is “spending,” so for example, under this approach, liberals prefer to say that if we increase taxes (by closing certain loopholes), we really decrease spending. Got it?
Of course, rational people might conclude that an increase in taxes would mean a decrease in the deficit, not spending, but never mind. Liberals really go for the confusion because it allows them to say to Republicans: If you want to reduce spending, you should raise taxes. Yeah, that’s the ticket. Ha-ha, just raise taxes. But consider how it sounds if we turn it around and someone says to liberals: If you want to increase spending, you should lower taxes, including tax rates. Ha-ha again. Obviously, this is all nonsense and unhelpful.
The biggest problem with Klein’s abuse of language is that it presupposes government owns 100% of its citizens income, as if we’re living in some Medieval realm where the king owns all property and people within the realm. When the king owns everything, then changes in taxes would indeed equal a change in spending: with lower taxes, the king spends more of his wealth on us; with higher taxes, he spends less. But last I heard, the government exists for us rather than the other way around (well, so far).