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No Defense for Obamanomics

Posted By J.D. Foster, Ph.D. On March 9, 2009 @ 12:46 pm In Ongoing Priorities | Comments Disabled

Laura Tyson’s “In Defense of Obamanomics” in the Wall Street Journal [1] Monday well portrayed the view of history and government from the classical American socialist perspective – more government is inherently better (except when it involves national defense), higher taxes are inherently better, especially when falling on the most productive, and citizens really can’t get along adequately without giving up more freedoms to the nanny state.

Nowhere is this perplexingly twisted view of reality made more clear than in her statement that “the strong expansion of the 1990s proves that the tax rates on income, capital gains, and dividends in the Obama budget will support {italics added} rapid economic growth and substantial income gains at the top.” Conservatives have often been accused (sometimes fairly) of arguing that tax cuts pay for themselves. Ms. Tyson is now arguing a converse point: Less after-tax income at the top means more after-tax income at the top. Alice, you’ve escaped from Wonderland.

In fact, as I pointed out in detail in a paper last year, the Clinton tax hikes (which Obama would reinstate and build on) reduced the economy to anemia through the first Clinton term [2]. The “strong expansion” didn’t occur until congressional Republicans forced the President to restrain spending and cut taxes.

Some of Ms. Tyson’s assertions are simply a matter of opinion on which even unreasonable people may disagree. For example, she calls “fair and reasonable” the now largely dead proposal to cap the deduction for charitable contributions. I would label this unfair and absurd, and since the proposal was almost DOA, it appears the country may agree with me more than with Ms. Tyson.

Other assertions would fail the laugh test even if published in the Gray Lady including her statement that the Obama budget will not “explode the size of government as some critics warn”. Let’s see: massive increases in education spending; even more massive increases in health care spending as the President marches audaciously down the road toward nationalized health care; and a complex and wildly expensive new system of government levers called “cap and trade” to manipulate the economy according to new government dictates.

Ms. Tyson lauds the president’s leadership skills. I hope she is right, because he is going to need all those skills in digging out of the hole he created with his first budget.


Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org

URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2009/03/09/no-defense-for-obamanomics/

URLs in this post:

[1] Wall Street Journal: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123655553728965955.html

[2] reduced the economy to anemia through the first Clinton term: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Economy/wm1826.cfm

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