starve-the-beast n., adj.
starving the beast n., pp.
Like supply-siders, starve-the-beasters favor tax cuts mainly for people with high incomes. That is partly because, like supply-siders, they emphasize the incentive effects of cutting the top marginal rate; they just don't believe that those incentive effects are big enough that tax cuts pay for themselves. But they have another reason for cutting taxes mainly on the rich, which has become known as the "lucky ducky" argument.
Here's how the argument runs: to starve the beast, you must not only deny funds to the government; you must make voters hate the government. There's a danger that working-class families might see government as their friend: because their incomes are low, they don't pay much in taxes, while they benefit from public spending. So in starving the beast, you must take care not to cut taxes on these "lucky duckies." (Yes, that's what The Wall Street Journal called them in a famous editorial.) In fact, if possible, you must raise taxes on working-class Americans in order, as The Journal said, to get their "blood boiling with tax rage."
Paul Krugman, "The Tax-Cut Con," The New York Times, September 14, 2003
That means if we want smaller, less-intrusive government, we have to "starve the beast." Cutting their allowance is the only way to put politicians on a spending leash. And that means tax cuts, tax cuts and more tax cuts. The recent Bush/Republican rebate was just a small down-payment. Time to break out the meat cleaver.
Chuck Muth, "Commentary: More tax cuts please," United Press International, August 17, 2001
But the deficit "starved" few programs to death, even in cases such as the Small Business Administration and the Economic Development Administration where many liberals questioned the programs' worth. And the deficit has sharply added to one spending category: Interest on the national debt has risen to about $140 billion in the current fiscal year from $69 billion in fiscal 1981.
"We didn't starve the beast," laments a White House official. "It's still eating quite well by feeding off future generations."
Paul Blustein, "Reagan's Record," The Wall Street Journal, October 21, 1985
Bill Gates tax
shift and shaft