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“tax-and-spend liberal”

I keep seeing this phrase thrown around, often to describe Obama or Democrats in general. It deserves some analysis.

First, drop the word “liberal” off the end. It doesn’t add meaning and is simply attached to the end to inflame conservatives.

So we have “tax-and-spend”. I guess this refers to the stereotype that Democrats raise taxes and spend the new income on government programs, often to help the low or middle classes.

The implication is that Republicans, “conservatives”, decrease taxes and cut government spending.

Except in practice, today, they don’t. They get halfway through — they cut taxes (albeit only for the rich) — and they forget about the whole “cut government spending” thing. Any minor “pork-barrel” cuts they brag about to appease their base are completely dwarfed by increasing military spending and fighting extremely expensive wars.

The only real difference in the oversimplified idea of “tax-and-spend” versus the Republican version in practice (“just spend a lot, who cares?”) is that the “liberals” tend to have a way to pay for their expenditures so we don’t have to keep borrowing from politically inconvenient countries (China), threatening essential programs that have taken decades to build (Social Security), and forcing a tremendous burden on future generations.