What do Claude Allen’s shopping habits and George W. Bush’s tax policies have in common? The principle of something for nothing.

Recently I suggested that Claude Allen had simply been applying basic BushCo doctrine &#8212 lie, cheat, and steal &#8212 to his shopping activity. But Jacob Weisberg has a good argument that Allen was actually applying the Bush version of dynamic scoring, the nonsense formerly known as supply-side economics. The principle is the same: something for nothing.

Too bad you can’t go to jail for applying that principle to billions of dollars rather than thousands of dollars.

Footnote Yes, of course changes in tax rates have impacts on future economic activity and therefore the base on which those rates will be collected, and sensible budget policy would take account of those impacts. But that’s far different from the hallucinogenic version of dynamic scoring behind Bush’s budget numbers, in which tax cuts don’t actually cut revenues at all.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: