Trump Will Not Really Cut Taxes, Revisited

By Steve Saville

When I posted the “Trump will not really cut taxes” article in February there was a realistic chance that some form of tax-slashing proposal would be implemented before year-end. That’s no longer the case, but as far as the US economy’s health is concerned it makes less difference than most people think. What really matters is the total amount of government spending; not how the spending is financed.

To understand what I mean, it helps to think of the government as a giant parasite that feeds on the economy. The parasite uses part of what it eats to foster its own growth, while the remainder passes through and is excreted back into the economy. The parasite’s food is a mixture of taxation and borrowing, and provided that it is growing or maintaining its current size then a reduction in one food source MUST be offset by an equivalent increase in the other food source. For example, if the parasite doesn’t shrink then a reduction in taxation must be made up by an increase in borrowing.

The above is an over-simplification because the method by which the parasite gets its sustenance will have some influence on the economic outcome, but it hopefully explains why the Trump tax cuts are not a ‘make or break’ issue as far as the US economy’s health is concerned. The crux of the matter is that as long as the amount of government spending doesn’t shrink, less wealth being sucked out by direct taxation will result in more wealth being sucked out by another method.

That’s why the only genuine tax cut is the one that’s funded by reduced government spending.

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