This afternoon, overtaken with a task that required relatively little actual thought, I turned on Rush Limbaugh. It was instructive.
He played of a clip of some remarks by Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida:
… I want to know which one of these taxes they’re proposing will create jobs. I want to know how many jobs are going to be created by the plane tax. How many jobs are going to be created by the oil company tax I heard so much about. How many jobs are created by going after the millionaires and billionaires the president talks about? I want to know: How many jobs do they create?
The short answer is that taxes don’t create jobs, except maybe for tax accountants. The longer answer is that the primary responsibility of government is to maintain an environment in which jobs are created, chiefly by the private sector. And, as much as we would wish it otherwise, governments don’t–can’t–work for free.
Later, Rush discussed the difference between the ‘deficit’ and the ‘debt.’ His description was accurate: the ‘deficit’ is the amount in a specific timeframe that the government spends that it didn’t receive in taxes, while the ‘debt’ is the accumulated borrowings. He further noted, accurately, that the government, even given the limits of the debt ceiling, is not in danger of defaulting on its debt. Instead, hitting the debt ceiling would force the government to stop deficit spending.
But what he didn’t say was that if the government had to stop deficit spending, it would necessarily have to shut itself down, and would probably have to cut entitlements.
I’m not sure the dittoheads on Social Security would be happy with that.