President Harry Truman once famously complained about economists who described certain courses of action and then gave rationale for the opposing course (“on the other hand…”) by exclaiming “Give me a one-handed economist!”
Readers of the Louisville Courier Journal might have a similar wish after reading token conservative columnist Jon David Dyche rip Gov. Steve Beshear.
“As a gubernatorial candidate, Steve Beshear opposed higher taxes, claimed to possess the experience and leadership skill to pass expanded gambling, and promised to conduct a comprehensive efficiency study of state government that would save $150 million to $180 million. As governor, Beshear supports raising cigarette taxes 70 cents per pack, has apparently abandoned efforts to expand gambling and is silent about savings from any efficiency study.”
Then Dyche does a 180 and advocates for the same thing Beshear wants:
“His proposed increase will produce much-needed money for state coffers in the short term while reducing smoking, improving health and thus saving significant sums on state-sponsored medical care in the long term.”
“Slots at tracks would also generate millions for much-needed drug rehabilitation programs, state prisoners in county jails, problem gambling treatment, environmental cleanup and education.”
Dyche makes the same mistake tax-and-spenders always do when coveting a new or expanded revenue source — they spend it all and then wonder where their next fix is going to come from.
The simple fact Dyche overlooks is that Kentucky state revenue is up, it just isn’t up enough to pay for all the excessive spending. The problem, and all the solutions, are to be found on the spending side.