The goals of no-government conservatives are not primarily economic. They will propose more tax cuts in times of surplus and times of deficit. They care little when the nonpartisan experts and economists at the Congressional Budget Office say sequestration will cost up to 1.6 million jobs next year, or that immigration reform will boost our GDP, or that Obamacare will reduce the debt over time. No-government conservatives are not compelled by the evidence that temporary benefits such as food stamps and unemployment insurance put money in the pockets of those most likely to spend it at local businesses that will grow and create jobs as a result. Their only jobs agenda, their only growth agenda, their only deficit agenda is eliminating government, no matter how many people it helps or how big a boost it provides the economy.
Nor are the goals of no-government conservatives primarily political. They have advisers, they can read polls, and most of them probably know that shutting down the government or forcing a default would be, among other catastrophes, highly unpopular. They realize that rampant hostage-taking and filibuster-abuse are the chief contributors to the obstruction and gridlock that Americans of both parties hate.
They just don’t care. Jonathan Chait has written about the recent embrace of “procedural extremism” among many congressional Republicans, who have “evolved from being politically shrewd proponents of radical policy changes to a gang of saboteurs who would rather stop government from functioning at all.”
But for no-government conservatives, this has been their primary policy goal all along.