‘Cut the Spending, Cut the Taxes’
A revealing moment from Robert Draper’s entertaining writeup of the GOP gubernatorial primary in Texas comes when Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas) makes an offhand attack on TARP.
“What would have been your remedy, then?” I asked.
He shrugged. “What was our remedy then is still the remedy,” he said. “Cut the spending, cut the taxes.”
Perry didn’t make clear how a little ad hoc belt-tightening on the part of Congress would have allayed a collapse of the financial markets. He seemed, instead, skeptical that such a collapse had been imminent. At his San Antonio event, I watched him mockingly recall “the cries that ‘the sky is falling, the sky is falling — you have to do something, and if you don’t do something, the markets are going to crash and the economic world as we know it is going to vaporize into thin air.’ ” Most economists might take issue with the governor’s sentiment.
Perry’s alternative history of TARP is, no surprise, a huge winner among Republicans. This week’s Washington Post poll found a whopping 86 percent of Republicans opposed to bailouts, retrospectively and today. But back in 2008, “cutting taxes and spending” was seen as a deeply unserious response to the crisis.