In response to:

“The Unanswered Question”—On Taxes and Spending

Kenneth L. Wrote: Nov 28, 2012 7:50 PM
Chris 102, you seem a little cranky. What's the matter? Medved's column is called the "Unanswered Question," which he says is the lower rate of spending during the Clinton era. The tax rate issue, repeatedly raised by Thomas Sowell and now very nicely explicated by Stephen Moore, seems to be the one impossible to understand, even by conservatives. But I am not talking about that issue when I suggest that there is no way to defend 75% growth in spending when the population grows 25%, am I? I agree with Medved: the point being missed by one and all, especially the media, is that spending was at a much lower rate during the halcyon days of the Clinton economy.

Editor's note: A version of this column appeared originally in THE DAILY BEAST.

In the debate on our fiscal crisis, one crucial question is never answered or even asked: if we’re supposed to go back to Clinton-era tax rates because they were good for America, why don’t we simultaneously return to that era’s spending rates?

In other words, what is government doing so much better today than it was then to justify vastly increased expenditures, totaling more than $1 trillion a year in inflation-adjusted dollars?

The question came up during our Thanksgiving holiday, when I honored my personal tradition—which reliably annoys...