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What Happened To American Exceptionalism?

David Brooks says the deficit should be reduced mainly through spending cuts:

The international evidence shows that if you want to balance the budget, something like 66 percent to 80 percent of your effort should go into cutting spending and something like a third to a fifth should consist of tax increases. If you rely on tax increases too much, you end up messing up the incentives for people who save and invest.

International evidence, huh? That's usually the liberals' tool. The problem with using this comparison to apply lessons to the United States is that we already have low levels of government spending compared with most countries:

Moreover, a disproportionately high share of American spending goes to defense. So, first of all, tax hikes hurt less in the U.S. than in most other because countries because tax rates start from a lower level. (And taxes in the United States are less redistributive than in most Western countries.) Second, social spending is very low in the U.S., since overall spending tends toward the low end and defense spending consumes an unusually high proportion.  So the United States has less room to cut social spending than most advanced countries do.