Read Bruce Bartlett. I mean, right now.
There are a lot of good things to say about this op-ed, but the one that makes feel best is the fact that Bartlett – unlike so many other commentators – seems to understand that raising taxes is not incompatible with “fiscal responsibility” and in fact, when you’re spending a ton of money, raising taxes is one of the most responsible things you can do. Indeed, I would even go as far as to say that conservatives shouldn’t blanch so much at the prospect of raising taxes. One of the (many) good points that Bartlett makes is that raising taxes makes the cost of government services explicit to the public.
Ideally, a major expansion in government services would be financed with increased taxes. If the public is okay with that, then it stays, but by virtue of paying higher taxes, the public also has the information to decide whether or not they are okay with that, and can vote accordingly. Forcing voters to confront the full cost of government services might make them less receptive to them, which is a pretty conservative outcome, if you ask me.