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A Debate Dividing Republicans: Two Conservatives on One Big Spending Problem

Debate: Is the Republican Party’s Refusal to Raise Taxes Fiscally Irresponsible?


Oren Cass

Executive Director of American Compass



David McIntosh

President of the Club for Growth



Nayeema Raza

Journalist at New York Magazine and Vox



This week:

  • New episode: a debate on tax cuts and the Republican Party
  • A closer look at how Americans are feeling about what they owe Uncle Sam
  • From the World Economic Forum: Debate has never been so important
  • In the news: Mark Zuckerberg and social media CEOs on Capitol Hill
  • Your Sunday reading list



As Benjamin Franklin said, “Nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

Now fast forward to today. Whoever wins the 2024 election is going to have to make one very big decision about taxes — a four trillion-dollar decision. That’s the size of a set of existing tax cuts that are due to expire next year. If it’s the Democrats, we get one set of answers, and they’ll be predictable.

For at least a generation, the GOP has embraced a straightforward-sounding formula: lower tax rates (forcing less government spending) are best for the U.S. economy. But lately, some Republicans have looked at the stunningly large U.S. debt — 32.1 trillion dollars — and are making the argument that it’s only going to get worse if we keep cutting taxes. One party, two opposing sets of tax logic.

One side argues tax cuts may be fiscally irresponsible in the current environment. The other side insists tax cuts help revenue growth and encourage a stronger economic outlook for all.

Both Oren Cass and David McIntosh are two influential conservative thinkers who have competing views about tax policy.

Listen to this debate now as a podcast and on YouTube. As always, let us know what you think.


Can Extending Tax Cuts Ease the Burden on American Pockets?



Is the Republican Party’s Refusal to Raise Taxes Fiscally Irresponsible?


YES: Oren Cass

“Since the early 1990s, Republicans have tried this: we are just going to deprive the government of revenue, and the spending will come down. It has failed miserably. It simply does not work… In the wake of tax cuts, spending has gone up faster. This is particularly a problem for Republicans, who simply cannot make a claim to having any sense of fiscal responsibility on the spending side, even if they controlled the entire government and could do whatever they want. There’s no evidence Republicans would actually bring spending down as much as they would need to sustain the level of taxes they keep insisting [on].”


NO: David McIntosh

“Raising taxes would hurt the economy, hurt the American people, and send us in the wrong direction. To say we’ve got a big spending problem and therefore we should raise taxes seems to me the exact wrong direction because it deflects from needing to gather the political force to actually get Washington to reduce spending. The answer isn’t to say, okay, let’s raise everybody’s taxes. What we’ve seen in the past is lower taxes actually increase the economy and that lets the government collect more revenue.”



In Our Polarized World, Debate Has Never Been So Important


For the World Economic Forum’s 2024 Annual Meeting, Open to Debate CEO Clea Conner addressed the role debate should play to foster global solidarity and “rebuild trust” – the theme of Davos this year. “Here’s where debate plays the most critical role: in a well-structured debate, facts are scrutinized, sources are questioned, and arguments are dissected. This process is fundamental to rebuilding trust and searching for a collective truth driven by critical thinking. True debate, the kind that exposes audiences to a spectrum of viewpoints, is essential in dismantling echo chambers and fostering a more inclusive and comprehensive public discourse.” Read more.


Are the Kids Alright?


Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, along with leaders of TikTok, Snap, Discord, and X, were the focus of a Senate hearing this week titled “Big Tech and the Online Child Sexual Exploitation Crisis”. During the hearing, Zuckerberg notably apologized to parents whose kids and their mental health were harmed by social media and TikTok CEO Shou Chew was questioned over whether it was tied to the Chinese government.

The questions asked at this necessary hearing were at the heart of our debate questions: Is Social Media Bad for Kids’ Mental Health? and Should the U.S. Ban TikTok? Listen to the debates now.





Guest view: Three headwinds for US commercial real estate in 2024

Dambisa Moyo | January 26, 2024


Watch Dambisa’s debate on America’s economic outlook



How to fight a class war

Michael Lind | January 27, 2024

The New Statesman

Watch Michael’s debate on whether you should live in a red state for a better future



These Gyms Survived the Pandemic. They’re Still Sweating.

Spencer Jakab | January 26, 2024

The Wall Street Journal

Watch Spencer’s debate on whether small investors can beat the street



Sex For Seniors Is A Good Thing – Why Isn’t There More Of It?

Teresa Ghilarducci | January 26, 2024


Watch Teresa’s debate on whether the government should raise the retirement age

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