The ultraconservative founder of Club for Growth, Grover Norquist, formulated the Republican strategy that has become the GOP's "starve the beast" idiomatic economic policy.
Mechanics are simple: Cut taxes and thus cut the lifeblood of government so Congress and the president will quickly be forced to cut spending.
Like most theories that are too good to be true and aren't, Norquist's con is now demonstrably an utter failure.
This week, President Bush announced he'll leave the next president a $482 billion deficit--a more than $600 billion turnaround from the large surplus President Bill Clinton bequeathed George W. Bush.
Bush, thus, is the 21st century incarnation of President Lyndon Johnson, whose "guns and butter" spending on the Vietnam War and social programs at home wracked the nation's economy.
Bush not only has continued to finance a poorly executed war for five years, but continued huge tax cuts for the wealthy, ladling out billions for economic stimulus programs, and bailing out major financial institutions whose reckless lending gimmicks Bush regulators slept through.
Meanwhile, true needs of Americans have been deliberately ignored. More than $1 trillion in needed repairs of roads and highways, dams, schools, railroads, water systems, waste disposal--the national infrastructure that keeps a nation efficient--have been allowed to become decrepit.
Ending the war and its $10 billion or more monthly costs, plus instituting sensible taxing policies, would be bracing steps toward prudent spending.
The upcoming presidential election won't happen a minute too soon.