Saturday, July 10, 2004


Should be more of it: "Meet Tennessee's shadow governor. As a state senator, Marsha Blackburn made it politically impossible to enact a state income tax by sounding the alarm at the state Capitol. Phil Bredesen then had to run against a state income tax for his first term just to get elected. Blackburn was the first to propose how to cut the growth in the state budget. She recommended cutting 5% across the board for each department. When Bredesen got into office, he cut all departments 9% across the board." ar American myth -- repeated with increasing frequency in this election year -- that 'The Rich' (whoever 'they' are) don't pay their fair share of taxes. A corollary to this is the assertion that The Rich received the biggest benefit of the so-called 'Bush' tax cuts, the political catch-phrase for the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 and the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003. Neither position is supported by hard data taken from income tax returns. In fact, in both cases, the opposite is true. In other words: The Rich not only pay a disproportionate share of taxes, this share has been increasing since 1990."

Austria and Iceland are undermining the high tax rates of the EU -- showing by example how beneficial tax cuts are.

Wal-Mart serves humanity: "The New York Times recently ran an interesting article on everyone's favorite global retailing behemoth, Wal-Mart.... two stunning examples of economic illiteracy, one misrepresentation of a very heroic deed, and a lovely comparison of Sam Walton to Chairman Mao."

Free trade under fire: "According to Douglas Irwin, free trade is under fire because some groups believe that they do not participate in the accumulation of wealth that trade brings. Others oppose it because they believe that trade agreements subvert national sovereignty and threaten to harm workers and the environment. Irwin, professor of economics at Dartmouth and long-time advocate of free trade, intends with this book to show the benefits of free trade and evaluate the arguments against it."

Cafe Hayek asks: "Why not return to the open-borders regime that prevailed in the United States from its independence until the end of the 19th century? I here put aside concerns with national security and deal exclusively with an economic objection to increased immigration.... The American economy is today far more able than in the past economically to "absorb immigrants.""

Irving Kristol thinks Reagan was a neocon: "A tax policy that energizes the economy, government regulations that are not too destructive, and moderate restraints on spending would have the effect of shrinking the bloated welfare state relative to the size of the economy. The welfare state itself could not be wished away. By now Reaganomics has become the semiofficial philosophy of the Republican party. As a consequence, this party is now seen as having a plausible and legitimate claim to be the governing party... In sum, Ronald Reagan made the Republican party proactive in economic policy as in foreign policy". I think Kristol fails to distinguish between what Reagan wanted and what he could get through Congress.

A U.S. productivity triumph: "In the first 13 quarters of the Bush Administration, the basic determinant of our standard of living increased by almost as much as during the entire 32 quarters of the Clinton Administration... But it would spoil the narrative of the Bush Administration as bumbling and Hoover-esque to point out that the most fundamental measure of our economic strength is shooting through the roof."


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