For G.O.P., Deficit Takes a Back Seat to Cutting Taxes

In Economy On

But when Republicans take charge, their fiscal rectitude sometimes starts to waver. The broad Republican support this week for President Trump’s plan to sharply reduce taxes suggests that those who hang on to austere concerns about debt will now be facing former allies who want to chase economic growth.

Some Republicans are rallying around the idea that less taxation is more important than less debt, just as they did during the Republican presidencies of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. That shift is a break with the die-hard hawks of the anti-deficit industrial complex, who have long warned of calamitous consequences to the American economy.

“This is about math, not mystery and magic,” said Mr. Simpson, who was a chairman of President Barack Obama’s bipartisan commission on the federal debt in 2010. “It’s madness to think that you can have a tax cut without some reduction in spending or some increase in revenue.”

. . .

Mr. Peterson created the Peterson Foundation in 2008, with an endowment of $1 billion, to raise public awareness of what he saw as an alarming increase in federal borrowing. The federal debt increased sharply during the early years of the Obama administration, largely because of programs that automatically disburse more money during economic downturns. When unemployment increases, so does federal spending on unemployment benefits.

Michael A. Peterson, the chief executive of the foundation (nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget) and the son of its founder, warned lawmakers against forgetting that the nation is already deeply in debt.

“Reforming taxes in a way that worsens our fiscal condition is counterproductive because adding to our national debt hurts economic growth,” he said in a statement Wednesday. “Tax changes that increase the deficit would harm the economy by raising interest costs, reducing wages and crowding out public and private investments in our future.”

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