Sebastian Mallaby has a good column this morning about the canard that tax cuts increase revenues. He debunks it using conservative economists. David Broder effectively made the same point by quoting Republican Senator George Voinovich in yesterday’s column. The senator several times refers to our children or grandchildren. That’s an effective image that must be repeated ad nauseum.
While the national debt, of course, was not an issue in David Poisson’s campaign for the House of Delegates last year, he very effectively would often say that his campaign was “about the children.” People responded, if for no other reason than he effectively delivered the message that it wasn’t about what he wanted, but what the children needed. The campaign wasn’t about what was in it for him.
I was surprised in a campaign I was part of a few years back to renovate our old high school, how many of the older folks wanted to make sure the school remained vibrant for the kids, not theirs, now in the neighborhood. (I also think they realized how much good schools impact real estate prices.)
Mallaby’s column has all the facts we need to support a more compelling message that tax cuts will burden the lives of our children and grandchildren. The trick is to translate the arcane concept of national debt into a compelling narrative. It seems to me that using a closer to home story about how personal debt affects an individual is one way. My kids, late stage teenagers and early 20s, can easily understand that message. Many kids who have college loans can understand what debt can mean — and what they can’t do when they have debt. And if we can get the younger generation, especially since they became a little more engaged in national politics in 2004, to appreciate the looming crisis, they will understand the need for a different approach to taxes and spending.
Whether at a national or state level, the story of the burdens we’re fostering on the next generation should be delivered in forums with audiences with a lot of gray hair and a lot of baggy pants and $5 flip-flops.