Have you heard of this phrase “Starve the beast”? What is the first thing that comes into your mind when you think about this particular phrase? How is this relevant to the current political and economic situation of the United States? In this article, we are going to discuss everything about the “starve the beast” phrase. This article is created to provide useful information to better understand the meaning of the phrase as well as the proper applications in the field of economics.
To begin with the discussion, let us try to know first the definition of this particular phrase. By definition, the term “Starve the beast” refers to a type of political strategy where American conservatives create or increase the budget deficit by means of cutting taxes. If a deficit is created or added to an existing deficit, politician will be forced to lessen the size of the government to keep the spending in check.
There are two ways for the beast to be starved and they are:
- By pushing through the popular tax cuts (which proves to be easy, according to some political and economic experts).
- Pushing through other spending cuts in order to control the deficit should it begin to swell out (which is actually a harder thing to do compared to the one mentioned above).
The term “Beast” represents the American government and the number of programs being funded by it. These programs refer to the social programs, in particular such as the Medicare and Social Security. It does not include the funding being spent on prisons, the military, and other related bodies.
In relation to the topic, there is an alternate idea called “feed the beast” which pertains to the act of increasing the taxes for the purpose of balancing the budget and make the American government spend on the inflow of revenues. In other words, it is the exact opposite to the phrase being stated above.
There is actually a lot of speculation as to where the term originated. One of which would have to be the idea that this phrase first appeared in an issue of the Washington Post over a hundred years ago when Charles Edward Barnes included this phrase on one of his article back in 1907. It may appear to be the exact phrase written on that article, but it was used literal way. In reference to Barnes article, an Indian captured a tiger and needed to be placed in a cage in order to be sold. The tiger had no intentions of entering into the cage and remained into the pit, so the Indian thought of starving the animal and place meat inside the cage to lure it inside. Thus, giving meaning to the term “starve the beast”
The other origin of the term came from a political field when the phrase was used by an unnamed staff of then President Ronald Reagan during their presidential campaign in 1980. Upon taking office in 1981, President Reagan became a strong advocate on cutting off government spending through tax cuts. This action gave a new meaning to “starve the beast” and it became known a popular term referring to a political-fiscal strategy.
It’s no secret that the United States is currently facing tough times in terms of the Economic climate. According to most economic experts and market analyst, starving the beast might not be applicable at least for the moment because the government has to deal with other issues that need immediate attention. These issues are needed to be addressed so that the government will be able to function accordingly and eventually alter the effects of depression. On the other hand, there are other experts who would agree to the fact that starving the beast can be applicable to the current setting provided that it should be carefully handled by the facilitators of this strategy. Everyone should focus on the common good and that is to bring the economy back into its former glory so that everybody can benefit from it.
All in all, the term “Starve the beast” refers to the political-fiscal strategy of increasing the deficit by cutting off taxes. It is an idea brought about by some conservative individuals to limit government expenditures. Hopefully, you have gained more knowledge on this article about what does “Starve the beast” mean.