“Taxes Have Consequences: An Economic History of the United States,” reviewed recently in The Washington Times, purports to show that tax cuts for the rich benefit all Americans (“Book Review: ‘Taxes Have Consequences: An Economic History of the United States,’” Web, Nov. 24). The fly in the authors’ ointment is the stark fact that tax cuts not accompanied by reductions in government spending result in ever-increasing government deficits.

The unwillingness or inability of Congress to cut spending has, through the years, resulted in a dangerous increase in the national debt. Take a look at the statistics: Per capita government spending in 1965 (in 2019 dollars) was $3,782, but by 2022 it had increased to $19,515. The federal debt equaled 40% of GDP in 1965, but by 2022 it had increased to 130% of GDP. These statistics completely suck the air out of the authors’ inflated claims.

In Philadelphia, the Founding Fathers debated making federal borrowing unconstitutional. They decided against the idea on the grounds that borrowing would be needed in times of war. At all other times, federal spending should be paid for with taxes. It’s unfortunate that the Republican Party has become wedded to the false notion that there really is such a thing as a free lunch.

Bethesda, Maryland

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