“What if Bush tax cuts lapse?” a headline in the Washington Post asks.

If you were expecting a story on personal hardship of taxpayers and a stagnant economy, it’s because you don’t know the Washington Post.

“Fearing a soaring deficit, many analysts favor letting Bush tax cuts expire,” says the subhead. The piece suggests that letting the cuts expire will put us “in striking distance” of paying off the national debt.

But this just isn’t true-tax revenue comes from people making money. The more money people make, the larger the U.S. tax revenue. In a thriving economy, the government gets lots of tax revenue, while in a sluggish economy tax receipts are smaller. But the big problem is not one of tax revenue but of out-of-control government spending.

Allen Sinai, chief global economist and president of Decision Economics Inc., has an excellent piece in today’s Wall Street Journal on this less (taxation) is more (revenue) theme. Sinai deals only with the capital gains tax, but he makes important points. He notes:

Capital gains taxation is one area in which lawmakers can help jump-start the economy. Capital gains tax rates for taxpayers in the top four income brackets are set to move higher in a few months. My new study, “Capital Gains Taxes and the Economy,” published this week by the American Council for Capital Formation, shows that the net effect of lower capital gains taxation is a significant plus for U.S. macroeconomic performance.

And Alan Reynolds of the Cato Institute demolishes the claim that letting the tax go up on the top 2 percent would bring in $34 billion in tax revenue:

The arithmetic is even more absurd than it appears, because the alleged $34 billion of extra revenue is a “static” estimate: It’s based on the assumption that higher tax rates do no damage at all to the affected taxpayers, and therefore no damage to consumer spending, business investment, employment, stock prices, housing prices, new-car sales, etc.

In an economy producing a GDP of $15 trillion a year, even the slightest ill effect from Obama’s punitive tax hikes would quickly turn that hypothetical $34 billion revenue gain into a big revenue loss. …