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Social spending vs. corporate tax cuts

By Ezra Klein,

Think Progress has been doing important yeoman’s work tallying up the states where Medicaid and other social services are being slashed at the same time that corporate taxes are being cut. In Pennsylvania, for instance, “Gov. Tom Corbett (R) presented a budget last week that would cut taxes for corporations, while freezing teacher salaries, cutting dental care for Medicaid recipients, and eliminating more than half of the state’s universities.”

The trade-off between the benefits of social spending and the drawbacks of taxes is, of course, among the longest-running debates in American politics. But that’s not actually the debate being had in most of these states: Rather, the cuts to social programs are being justified as a necessary response to budget deficits. And the tax cuts? Well, it’s increasingly Republican orthodoxy that “we have a spending problem, not a taxing problem.” Unfortunately for them, their budgets don’t agree, and since these states are constitutionally required to balance their budgets, what’s actually happening is that the cuts to social services are, in part, going to pay for these regressive cuts.

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