Thanks for sharing the conversation. I like the fact that it's grounded in the real world.
I agree with an earlier response: Obviously there's more to life than taxes. That's a pretty narrow criteria on which to judge. I don't mean to criticize your dad, but I think it's both reductionistic and irresponsible. Not only does it ignore other important issues--life and liberty, for example--but it ignores the national debt, which isn't just going to be a problem for some abstract "future generation." It's linked to devaluation of the dollar. If we do have a sovereign debt crisis, it could bring the whole house of cards down for the present generations.
For what it's worth, here's a bit from a book manuscript I'm finishing up that may be relevant. It deals with the Reagan administration and its betrayal of its conservative promise:
Governor Reagan spent the 1970s criticizing the fiscal irresponsibility of big government. In the 1980s, President Reagan never submitted a balanced budget to Congress and racked up record deficits. The phrase record deficits does not do justice to the history. Under Reagan, the national debt tripled in size. Far more deficit spending occurred under Reagan than under all of his predecessors combined. As a percentage of GDP, the national debt of the Reagan years exceeded that of the New Deal and the Great Society. He continued and greatly accelerated the spendthrift trend of Nixon-Ford-Carter. Although taxes were openly raised under Reagan, the “no tax” dogma that became popular among Republicans in the 1990s—without accompanying cuts in spending (including military appropriations and foreign aid)—ensured that the budget problem got even worse under subsequent presidents. “No new taxes” replaced “Pay as you go” as a foundational conservative principle. In practice, “No new taxes” has meant “Higher national debt.” It has allowed big government pseudo-conservatives to break the bank in spending without incurring the short-term wrath of those who resent higher taxes. It is fiscally irresponsible and morally dubious but it has been good politics for most Republicans. Only a minority within the party—libertarians and deficit hawks—have seemed genuinely concerned.
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