Steve Parkhurst reviews The Pillars of Reaganomics, edited by Brian Domitrovic
From a title that includes the word “pillars,” this book is exactly what you would expect it to be: Foundational documents that outline supply-side economics. What the title doesn’t tell you is that the commentary included in the book spans time from before Reaganomics (in the form of the Kemp-Roth tax bill), to the early days after passage and implementation, to the post-Reagan Presidency era of George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.
The content is most interesting because it is taken from papers prepared by Arthur Laffer or his staff from 1978 to the present. These papers consist of material not commercially available, even online in this day and age. I tried to Google some of the materials, and that proved a fools errand. For many years, other than in the Laffer archives, these papers may only be readily available because of the work of Brian Domitrovic in reproducing them.
The Pillars of Reaganomics includes original content from Arthur Laffer, Bruce Bartlett, Warren T. Brookes, George Gilder and Stuart Sweet. These writers, in the course of their scholarship, all offered great wisdom from others in the history of tax policy.
From Manila, Philippines comes a local story, with a good solution offered by Calixto V. Chikiamco:
Reducing the capital gains tax on the sale of land is an instance where supply side economics will work: halving the tax rate will probably increase the volume of transactions and yield for the government higher total revenue.
Supply-side legends Lewis Lehrman and John Mueller have an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal on page A13.
Ending the greenback’s reserve-currency role will raise savings and make U.S. companies more competitive.
Ralph Benko looks at national politics, and specifically, the threat by the President to use Executive Action. Check out his Forbes.com piece:
Actually we the people are a lot smarter than you might think, Mr. President. If your policies were good, really, we’d be rallying around you — and re-electing, rather than de-electing, your political allies. It isn’t, as you say, that your administration has done a poor sales job. It’s a mixture of your promoting a product that the majority of us do not want, or a poor quality version of a product (like universal health care) that we do.
It is not, Mr. President, a failure of politics. The recent election is a triumph of politics over a failure of policy.
And this bespeaks more than a utilitarian deficiency. It betrays a philosophical, even a spiritual, deficiency. Alinsky:
One hundred and thirty-five years ago Tocqueville gravely warned that unless individual citizens were regularly involved in the action of governing themselves, self-government would pass from the scene. Citizen participation is the animating spirit and force in a society predicated on voluntarism.
There can be no darker or more devastating tragedy than the death of man’s faith in himself and in his power to direct his future.
Ralph Benko weighs in on the election results last week in his Forbes.com post:
Voters have shown, yet again, that we do not like political fanatics. “Fanatic” is defined by my resident dictionary as “a person filled with excessive and single-minded zeal, esp. for an extreme … political cause.” The Republican Party, in the nuanced language of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky), “crushed,” everywhere, its fanatical wing during the past election cycle.
This implies no animus toward the Tea Party, of which I am a self-identified member. But there were factions within the Tea Party, and a few rump hotheads, who are, in fact, fanatics willing to go to such counterproductive extremes as shutting down the government. The fanatics have been marginalized. The GOP then marginalized fanatical Democrats.
Conservative grownups now are in charge of the GOP in both House and Senate. The GOP has yet to crystallize a vision on how to bring about a solid climate of equitable prosperity and job creation (by reining in a rogue Fed, perhaps), civil liberties (such as the free exercise of religion), and the pursuit of happiness (through traditional values). These can be threshed out in the upcoming presidential cycle.
The GOP could, of course, stumble. As of now, though, it looks like the 114th Congress is more likely to do right by, rather than wrong to, America.
Dan Mitchell has a post up today, we’re including the image here, but you should read through his entire post as well:
Also, from NewsBusters comes this well documented post about the supply-side economics bashing Joe Klein:
On the eve of the midterms, Time’s Joe Klein listed “5 Things to Watch for in the Midterm Elections.” But the funniest one was number three. He titled it “Kansas Rejoins The Mainstream.”
Klein gleefully foresaw that in the defeat of Gov. Sam Brownback, “the myth of extreme supply-side economics might finally be put to rest.” But Brownback won, 50 to 46 percent. The grip of voodoo Reaganism continues.
The current issue of Bloomberg Businessweek really is something to see. First, the cover celebrates Keynes. Second, the issue reads like an early obituary for Republicans and supply-side economics as they attempt to drag Arthur Laffer through the mud and lay the supposed (didn’t happen) defeat of Governor Sam Brownback squarely at his feet.
Businessweek was wrong on all counts this week.