Krugman on deficits and voters.
You don't have to like Keynesianism, but the crude public choice argument that it's a boon for politicians makes no sense at all.
To bureaucrats who may want to maximize their own budgets, the costs and the benefits of advocating tax increases are both diffuse. For politicians who do the budgeting, running deficits is definitely a political cost. The reason why we run deficits is that (1.) as a policy question it is so overwhelmingly obvious that balancing budgets would be sub-optimal, (2.) the commitment of automatic stabilizers like a progressive tax system and a counter-cyclical safety net. If politicians were unconstrained by the economic reality of (1.) and the policy reality of (2.) - if they were optimizing in an unconstrained rather than a constrained environment - we'd probably have far fewer deficits.
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