Fiorina and the tax fairy

FIORINA AND THE TAX FAIRY…. I’m beginning to better understand why, after a scandal-plagued tenure, HP fired its beleaguered CEO, Carly Fiorina.

Fiorina, who decided to parlay her professional failures into becoming the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in California, talked to a the CBS affiliate in San Francisco this week about her approach to tax cuts.

“Let me propose something that may seem crazy to you: you don’t need to pay for tax cuts. They pay for themselves, if they are targeted, because they create jobs.”

This is, in most respects, even more ridiculous than Sen. Jon Kyl’s (R-Ariz.) assertion that shouldn’t try to pay for tax cuts. For the Senate Minority Whip, tax cuts are always good, even if they increase the deficit, because they shrink government. For the deeply confused Carly Fiorina, the policy is more fantastical — paying for tax cuts is unnecessary because once taxes are cut, more money simply materializes, magically, in the federal treasury. The deficit simply won’t go up, she argues, no matter how much taxes are cut.

Thirty years ago, this raving stupidity had a name: “voodoo economics.” More recently, it’s come to be known as belief in the “Tax Fairy.”

Regardless of the name, the notion that tax cuts necessarily pay for themselves is one of the more pernicious lies in the far-right arsenal. It’s both gibberish and right-wing propaganda, but it’s nevertheless repeated from time to time.

It shouldn’t be — the concept has been debunked repeatedly by those who care about reality. How wrong is the argument? The Bush/Cheney Office of Management and Budget and the Bush/Cheney Council of Economic Advisers rejected the notion that tax cuts can pay for themselves out of hand. Fiorina, in other words, is promising to be even more fiscally irresponsible than the bunch that added $5 trillion to our national debt in eight years.

Even a fired CEO should be able to understand the reality here. The single biggest cause of the current deficit is Bush’s tax cuts. They didn’t “pay for themselves”; they put us in a devastating hole.

In the same interview, by the way, Carly Fiorina said the Senate “doesn’t have enough people who understand how the economy works.” She didn’t appear to be kidding, but coming from her, it was laughable.