Starve-the-beast

From Academic Kids

Starve-the-beast is a strategy of using budget deficits in order to force the government to reduce its spending; This is most commonly done by cutting taxes as under U.S. President George W. Bush. The word beast in the expression refers to the government and the programs it funds, and implies that these programs are destructive.

A current well-known proponent of starve-the-beast in the U.S. is Grover Norquist.

It appears the earliest reference to "starving the beast" as a doctrine was made during the Reagan administration by White House budget director David Stockman, to describe its fiscal philosophy.

Some empirical evidence shows that the strategy may actually be counterproductive, with higher taxes actually corresponding to lower spending: "Controlling for the unemployment rate, federal spending [from 1981 to 2000] increased by about one-half percent of GDP for each one percentage point decline in the relative level of federal tax revenues." The article (written by William Niskanen and Peter Van Doren of the Cato Institute) shows that "a tax increase may be the most effective policy to reduce the relative level of federal spending," though the authors oppose tax increases for other reasons.[1] (http://volokh.com/archives/archive_2004_05_14.shtml#1085086959) Additionally, some economists and politicians see the budget deficits created by this strategy as harmful to the economy.

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